Getting Back To Me – Progress, Not Perfection

Photo from I <3 to run

It’s been over a month since I set my first two goals in getting back to me. Have I nailed them? No. Have I made progress? Definitely!

Here’s how I have progressed on my goals so far . . . 
Goal #1 – Get back to 3 days of running per week
: I have gone from 1-2 days of running per week to 2-3 days. I am running between 3 and 6 miles. Typically, one day per week is a 6 mile run and the other 1-2 are 3 milers. Not perfection, but I’ll take progress.
Goal #2 – Make workouts non-negotiable. Plan ahead and refocus workouts with fitness goals in mind. Write them on my schedule: I wrote out two baseline workouts for myself with my fitness goals in mind. I have used those as guidelines for my strength days. At the beginning of each week I look at my schedule and write in when I’m going to workout and when I’m going to run. Sometimes I have to switch things around a bit, but about 95% of the time I am getting them done. On days that don’t turn out as planned, I don’t beat myself up. I just have to chalk it up to life’s little surprises and move on with my goals still in mind and a focus on tomorrow.

When I initially set those goals, I honestly thought that I would get them down pat before I moved on to my next goals. I knew that I would focus on revamping my eating next. I was eating like I was still training for a half marathon and splurging way too often. But, honestly, I wasn’t ready to make that change yet. I’ve learned that if I try to change my eating habits before I’m ready, I will fail. I didn’t want to start something that wasn’t going to be successful. So, I continued to stall. I figured getting more consistent with my exercise would start chipping away at my weight. Unfortunately, my workouts and my 9-12 miles of running per week just wasn’t enough to chip away at my poor eating habits.

I stepped on the scale one day and it hit a number I never thought I would see. I thought perhaps it was a fluke, but it stayed on that number for 3 days. Yea, it’s just a number. But that number was hard to swallow. That ugly number finally pushed me to the point where I was ready to tackle my eating.  I set a start date (the Monday after Thanksgiving) and set my goals to get started on the hard part.

Goal #3 – Keep a food log.
I always do best when I write down what I eat. It helps me be more aware of what I am eating. Seeing everything written down helps me with balance. I can see when I’m not getting enough protein or when I’ve overdone my carb intake. If I have a lousy run, I can take a look at my eating and make some changes. This is a valuable tool even when I’m not trying to get back on track. I used to do it regularly and I, obviously, got out of the habit. Back at it!

Goal #4 – Drink at least 3 bottles of water a day.
I am always drinking water, but during the colder months I tend to drink less without realizing it. So, in addition to my food log, I am also logging my water intake as a reminder to keep hydrated. Being well-hydrated noticeably helps my energy levels, my digestion, and my skin – just to name a few of the many benefits.

Goal #5 – Eat regularly throughout the day.
I had gotten into the bad habit of excessive snacking in the evenings. Part of my problem is that my work schedule often causes me to go long periods without eating. By the time I got home, I was starving and dinner alone wasn’t enough to make up for my lack of calories earlier in the day. That also led to poor snack choices, as I often craved sugar since my body thought I was trying to starve it! This goal is the most challenging. I have to be intentional with my eating. And, I have to plan ahead so that I have healthy snacks available at work to help me avoid long periods of time without food. I know it may sound counterproductive, but basically I need to eat more – in a healthy way.

And, so it continues. Two exercise goals are in place and 3 eating goals have been added. With that in mind, I am fully aware that the holidays are coming up. I will be spending Christmas with my relatives, which means lots of baked goods and definitely a plethora of sweets. I am already starting to plan ahead for how to stay balanced during that time. But, I’ll save that for another post. In the meantime, to the task at hand!

Stay tuned. I will continue writing about this journey back to me with the hope that this will help someone else who is in the same boat and needs some encouragement. Join me! What are your goals?

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