I said from the beginning that I was going to be completely open and honest about my journey to health and fitness. All the triumphs and all the fails … I’d share them all. Of course, it’s so much easier sharing the triumphs. The bright green Fitbit app image, announcing that I’d met all of my goals for the day. Sweaty selfies sharing the completion of a particularly difficult workout. Delicious smoothies and tasty meals. All proud and happy moments that inspire me to share my adventure into a healthier lifestyle.
But then there are the fails. The moments where I eat an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s. The evenings I forgo a healthy, colorful salad in favor of delicious Mexican takeout. And then when I enjoy a few too many margaritas because Mexican food, duh! The days I decide to give up on exercise and barely walk the dog. The sad nights when my Fitbit app tells me that I haven’t met any of my goals for the day and have only logged 5,000 steps.
This past weekend was full of those fails. I was lazy and ate way too much, none of it very healthy. I didn’t workout or take my daily 4-mile walks. I didn’t meet any of my step or stair or active minute goals for three days straight. I knew I was sabotaging myself, but I just couldn’t muster the gumption to do anything about it. I owned up to my complete lapse in effort on social media, and people were supportive. Telling me to get back at it and to make it happen. And I heard their words, but it took a few days to really sink in.
I’ve had plenty of fails in my life. As I used to tell my 6th graders, you learn a helluva lot more from your mess ups than you do your wins. (Okay, I may not have said “helluva,” but you get the idea.) And any triumph won without struggle or challenge isn’t a triumph worth winning. Fails suck. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar. But they’re necessary. They teach us what to do better next time. And falling of the healthy lifestyle train these past few days was a fail I needed to have.
I knew when I went to bed Sunday I was going to get my ass moving again. I drank extra water and took my Aleve and knew that Monday was going to be better. I stepped on the scale as soon as I had my morning pee (because every ounce counts!), and I had gained two pounds. Those two pounds had taken me a solid week to lose, and I packed them back on in three short days. All that hard work wasted for a few tasty meals and way too many sweets. If I had kept moving at my usual rate, the extra meals and sweets wouldn’t have been so bad. But three days of giving up on everything – healthy food and fitness – took a very real and quantifiable toll. Two pounds. It was so satisfying gaining them but so discouraging knowing that I’m going to have work just as hard longer to get rid of them.
So I made Monday better. I made time for my 4-mile wog (walk/jog) and pushed myself harder today than I had previously. I ate sensibly and stayed hydrated all day. I crushed all of my Fitbit goals by 5pm. And, of course, I felt better all day. I wasn’t grumpy or irritable. I had the energy that I had become used to, and I felt motivated to keep moving. I set a goal to lose the extra two pounds I had gained within the week. And I committed to pushing myself harder all week long.
I know that changing your lifestyle isn’t easy. It’s difficult to reprogram your brain to eat and move differently after over three decades of letting it do whatever it wanted. It’s going to take time to make these temporary changes permanent. They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, but changing your entire lifestyle takes longer than that. It’s a process, and it’s gonna take time. But as long as I restart more times than I fail, I’ll win.
What setbacks have you had recently? And how have you overcome them?
If you’re interested in following along on my journey, you can find me in all the usual places:
Ladies Only Facebook group (sorry, guys!)