Fighting Our Exercise Demons
Since: Thursday, 20 Jun 2013
I've been thinking about this post for a while. It's a pretty important one so I want to make sure I say it right. I want to make sure you understand what I'm saying. Unfortunately I know only some of you will get this because you do need to be at a certain place in the process to grasp this concept. To those of you who are not quite ready to understand...hopefully this will plant a seed for you and later you can come back and read this again. But to those of you out there who are ready for this, here it goes.
Eating right, living a healthy life, exercising daily, all of these things are not about will power or self-control. Let me say it again: these things do not require will power or self-control.
Did I just blow your mind?
Let me explain.
We always look at people who are thin or who eat healthy and exercise and think, "Wow, now there is someone with a lot of will power." If you see someone turn down cake at a birthday party you probably think, "Look at that self control, I wish I had that much self control." We think that to be healthy we have to be constantly "battling" with ourselves. In fact, I think that is a word many of you use to refer to your relationship with eating and exercise-"it's a battle." Well it's time to lay down your weapons. It doesn't have to be a battle.
Don't get me wrong, it CAN be a battle and when you are trying to do it all with will power and self-control it will be. But the sooner you realize that's not what it's about, the more likely you will be to have a lifetime of success.
So if it's not about will power or self-control what is it about? The answer is simple. It's about wanting something else more.
That's it? you're thinking. Don't toss the answer aside too quickly. Think about it.
If someone hands you a plate of brownies and you smell them and think, "Oh man, I want to eat this whole plate of brownies sooooo bad." And in your mind eating those brownies is what you want most but you're going to white knuckle it, try to exercise some "self-control" and say no. What just happened to you inside? Most likely you feel jerked around. You feel cheated. You feel like you don't get to have what you want and it's not fair. You can only last so long before you break when that is how you are living. It's a rough way to live.
If, however, you have a goal...even better, a specific goal...when you are faced with choices your experience will be completely different.
Let's say someone brings you that same plate of brownies and while they may smell good, if you want something more than satisfying your immediate appetite you will actually be more satisfied in the end. If you can think past the moment to your higher goals then you will remember that it's actually not brownies you want...it's something else-something more. And you can choose accordingly. So then what just happened inside you? You feel calm. You feel in control. You feel like you got to choose exactly what you wanted, because you did. It was a choice. It always is.
Does this mean you won't ever feel tempted? Of course not. Temptations will most certainly arise, but when you know what you want, what you really want, you are armed with the right frame of mind to ward them off.
Do you see what it's about? Living a healthy life is a state of mind. It's about how you face the choices, how you view the choices. Because how you feel when you choose makes all the difference in the world.
It's not about self-control; it's about knowing what you really want.
So what do you really want?
Running is a very mental game. You start running and right away we often want to stop. Here are a couple tricks to make sure you don't fall victim to the jerky voice in the back of your head telling you to stop.
1. Decide before you start how far you are going.
2. When you feel like you want to stop, increase your speed. This can actually give you an energy boost and cause you to catch your second wind.
3. Set time goals to keep you motivated. Running the same distance and the same speed every time you run gets very monotonous. Change it up to keep it interesting. It's a lot more fun.
Just because you have never been a "runner" does not mean you can't be or aren't one. We can all be runners.
I have always considered myself a "swimmer". When I won a small 5k a few months back I was talking to a few of the other women who ran with us. They were congratulating me and telling me I was a great runner. I told them I'm not really a runner. They were marathoners and ultra-marathoners and when I told them I wasn't a runner they told me it was time to rethink what I was saying.
So I thought about it. What makes someone a runner? Well, I suppose it's if they run. You don't have to be winning races to be a runner. Once I realized that, I was a little less intimidated to commit to running and be in running races.
All the ways you have defined yourself in the past are out the window. You can be whatever you want and if being a runner is one of those things then take it!
With the weekend comes all sorts of challenges: eating out, late nights, junk food a-go-go, lack of schedule, etc. Often we feel like we are on a break from everything—including exercise and eating right.
“I’ll get back on track starting Monday,” we think.
Do not make this mistake and undo all the work you have done throughout the week. You’ve worked hard and you want to keep your progress moving forward.
That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a meal out, but remember what you have learned and apply that knowledge. Now when you eat out (or any time you eat), you will only eat until you are no longer hungry and pack the rest away for later, when you are actually hungry again. You will enjoy the rest of your night out a lot more too!
Saturday’s are one of the best days for training because most people can put in a little more time. But you have to plan your workout time in advance or else it might not happen. We will use Saturday’s for long bike rides and runs.
Starting NEXT Saturday we will meet for our first RaceDay Ride. (anyone that is close by and can--bring a friend if you want)
So if you don’t have a bike, find one. And quit scouring your brain right now for excuses of why you can’t go. You will have a lot of fun so show up!
You don’t want to miss out.
Here is a link to a great article by Michelle Burton, a writer for Associated Content.
And here are a few of my favorite quotes from the article:
“Americans spend an estimated $40 billion dollars a year on diets, fitness equipment and heath club memberships, yet the number of overweight Americans continues to rise.”
“Studies indicate that 99% of diets fail in the long run.”
“These diets fail mainly because they only offer a short-term solution to a problem that has existed for decades for many Americans--over indulgence.”
Sara Bolduc says, "a diet is bad if it eliminates major food groups," and she goes on to say that, "a diet is a gimmick if there’s a “time limit” and a diet is a “fad diet” if it goes against the food pyramid."
“Remember, most people who lose weight too quickly gain it back, and then some.”
Making the changes isn’t as hard as you think. It just requires that you pay attention to your body.
It’s actually much easier than some of the things they ask you to do in these crazy diets and you get to eat REAL food, all the time.
Now hold your right hand to the square and repeat after me:
I will NEVER diet again. I will listen to my body, only eat when I am hungry, and stop when I no longer feel hungry. I will incorporate more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and other healthy food choices into my lifestyle...but enjoy some of that "other stuff" too. However, I don't need to over indulge because I can eat whatever foods I want in reasonable amounts. I just don't need a TON of it.
No food tastes as good as thin feels.
Okay, I will now step down from my box.
Have I mentioned before that consistency is key? Consistent exercise. Consistent healthy eating patterns. Consistent nutritious lifestyle choices.
A lot of times we think we are being consistent but if we look back with an honest evaluation maybe we exercised only two or three days in a week...maybe even four days a week for a month or two. And then we throw our hands up and say we have tried everything with no results. (even I am guilty of having done that).
How many of us can really say that exercise is truly a consistent part of our daily lives? A five-six days a week kind of consistency? A consistency that you don't question if you're going to exercise today or not? (except Sunday of course).
To help promote consistency and give you something to shoot for, I am starting a "Consistency is Key" program. If you exercise six days a week for 30 consecutive days (preferably one of the RaceDay workouts, but 30+ minutes of designated exercise time will suffice) and comment so we know what you did, I will send you a RaceDay Training "Consistency is Key" t-shirt.
30 mins or more of daily exercise
And you're in the consistency club.
Are you in? or are you already trying to figure out why you won't be able to do it?
It's your choice.
Sometimes when you are training it feels like you have taken a giant leap backwards. You can't run as fast, you can't lift as much weight, you are out of breath, something just doesn't feel right.
That is the worst!
But guess what, it happens to the best of us. Even elite athletes and Olympians have to deal with workouts like that. And I bet they hate it too.
However, it is important to know that it happens to all of us. Since exercise and weight loss are such mental games when "backward step workouts" happen it can really mess with your mind. You think, "How is this possible? Maybe what I'm doing isn't working." and then if our mind really wants to sabotage us we think "I might as well not even be doing this!"
It's simply not true. You aren't getting slower or weaker. You're getting stronger, faster and healthier. Backward step workouts are simply part of the process.
What's the best way to fight it? ......
Get up and train again tomorrow.
I'm sure many of you have heard about Lactic Threshold or your Threshold Max or various other terms. It's a tricky concept to try to understand, but it will really help you if you do.
I'm including a link to a site that explains it better than most I've read. I think it's important to understand exactly what it is because just knowing what is going on with your body helps you in the training process.
This article also talks about testing for your LT, which would be great, but you don't need to worry about it unless you are getting really serious about racing. As it stands, just having the information will be helpful to you as you train and exercise.
Click HERE to read about Lactic Threshold. It's all good, but if you don't have enough time to read it all, just read through the "Where's My Threshold?" section.
Okay everybody....it's the week of Christmas. Push through it. Remember what you want and why you want it. There is definitely a balance to be found in enjoying the holiday season but it doesn't mean throwing caution to the wind and letting all your bad habits creep back in for the sake of "enjoyment".
You will feel better if you continue to exercise throughout this week and eat well. Enjoy a treat here or there, but continue to pay attention to your body when you do. When next week hits, and the week after that, you will have a major jump start on all those people who are just beginning their New Years resolutions.
Make a new set of goals right now. Start your New Years resolutions early!
Part of making "real change" is doing things differently than you have done them before. Live out the changes you are making.
As you're faced with tempting foods, desire to overeat, and lack of desire to exercise ask yourself this question: "Am I willing to face the consequence of this next week."
Because next week will be here before you know it.... :)
Those of you that did the No Sugar Baby Challenge, and did it completely, congrats!!! It wasn't easy.
What I hope you used this time for is as an evaluation period. To truly be able to evaluate something objectively you need to remove yourself from it, or remove it from you, as the case may be. To be able to evaluate just how much sugar is readily available and offered to you and your family on a daily basis you have to be in a state of mind where you are aware of it and are turning it away. Turning it away makes you acutely more aware--am I right? :)
I hope you have or will ask yourself questions like: How much sugar do I feel is okay in my life and the life of my kids? Why do I feel like I need sweets/treats? When do I feel like having sweets adds to my life and when does it take away? Etc.
There are definitely times and places where sweets and treats are okay and can enrich your life or your experience, but if food is the main source of enrichment in your life then something is off. You need to attack the underlying problem. It's not that you're addicted to sweets, it's something else you are trying to substitute sweets for. I know they taste good and you think that's why you're going back for more, but it's not. There is something else going on and if you'll stop for 2 seconds to try to evaluate why you're doing that and what you're feeling just below the surface, you may find some answers. And when you find the answer you can solve it with what it needs to be solved--and it's not donuts. :)
Another thing to note in this crazy society of ours is that you are almost looked down on or ridiculed if you do turn down sweets. "Oh, are you on a diet?" "Look at you, why aren't you eating?!" And on and on. People try to make you feel bad if you aren't shoving your face full of the junk they are. Just because sweets are there DOES NOT mean you have to eat them. It should be a choice, an active choice, every time. Not an obligation. Not a reflex. Not a reaction. A choice--yes or no. And then feel confident with your choice and nobody will question you, including yourself.
Having been removed from sweets for 30 days write down different thoughts and feelings you had. Set terms and guidelines for how you want to handle sweets and sugar in your life. Do you feel like making cookies once a week is something that will add to your life or with all the other sugar around is that too much? Do you just want to have sweets at celebrations or only at certain celebrations? Once you set some guidelines for yourself you won't have to re-decide every time you go somewhere.
Decide how to take care of your body and good health will follow.
The 90-Day Challenge is now available for you to view. We will start it on Monday. (You can start it at any time, but I would like as many people as possible to start at the same time).
Your homework this weekend: Find at least one other person to do the 90-Day Challenge with you. :)