Looking back, I certainly learned a bunch about what works and what doesn’t with regard to my getting fit.
In no particular order…
Works: Outrageous distance-based goal with deadline (Lazy Man’s Triathlon, first 5K race, first 5K continuous run, marathon, open water swim, triathlon… what else to come?)
Doesn’t work: Exercising for X minutes Y days a week. Yawn. Zzzzzzzzzz…….. Good for about 3 days.
Works: Focusing on adding healthy stuff (fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, water, etc.)
Doesn’t work: Focusing on eliminating “bad” stuff (hello, deprivation and resentment and future binge).
Works: Exercise. I’ve noticed the tag cloud shows the exercise and weight loss tags growing larger proportionally. I just naturally eat healthier and less when I exercise doing something I enjoy.
Doesn’t work: Diet without exercise. I obsess. I fail.
Works: Non-scale victories. (Resting heart rate down to the 50s from the 70s, swimming a mile at a time, etc.)
Doesn’t work: The number on the scale as a sole measure of success (and worth).
Works: No excuses. Momentum.
Doesn’t work: Excuses. Inertia.
Works: Finding non-food ways to relief stress and nurture myself.
Doesn’t work: Controlling my moods, etc., with food. Acting like I am too tough to need nurturing.
Works: Simple automated visual diary to track food and exercise. Visual representation of goals. (And plan B of jotting notes in planner when I can’t do visual version.)
Doesn’t work: Complicated or inconvenient tracking systems, lack of awareness, not seeing where I am or where I want to go.
Works: Simple intuitive eating. Moderation. Periodic indulgence. Overall whole/”real” food approach.
Doesn’t work: Rigid rules. Extremes. Good food. Bad food. All carbs. No carbs.
Works: Being flexible. Having a plan B. And a plan C. (See no excuses.) Keeping on keepin’ on. Simplicity.
Doesn’t work: Being perfect. And failing. And making resolutions. And starting “fresh” on a magic date or day of week. Over and over.
Works: Humor. Perspective. Will [whatever is stressing me out] really matter in 5 years?
Doesn’t work: Being too serious. Obsessing.
Works: Sleep. I think. I don’t get enough of it. This is still a theory, but my doctor told me again at my annual physical that it was more important than exercise. Must sleep.
Doesn’t work: Too much caffeine. Too much stress. Too little rest.
Works: A bit of structure to start the weekend. A few doable concrete items on a checklist to get things going.
Doesn’t work: Going from full speed to complete stop on weekend with no plan, no direction, no structure.
Works: Paying attention to physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
Doesn’t work: Getting those needs out of balance or not addressing them at all.
Works: Reading or watching motivational stuff daily — fitblogs (see blogroll), books (right now on ultramarathon runners), videos (recent Ironman Hawaii telecast).
Doesn’t work: Not cultivating, nurturing, guarding, and otherwise maintaining my motivation. Every day.
Works: Getting support. Talking to my husband. Listening to my husband. (Did you catch that, honey? 😉) Sharing my experiences, good and bad, with friends who share the interest in getting fit. Blogging. Supporting and getting support from other bloggers.
Doesn’t work: Doing it all on my own. Or trying to explain it to people who don’t understand this particular struggle.
Check in tomorrow, New Year’s Day 2009, for my goals for the year…