If you could commit to changing something or practicing something for 100 days, would you do it?
This woman did and she inspired me.
I am close to 50 lbs heavier than when I met my wife over 14 years ago. (OMG! putting that number in writing made me shake a little). I was a blonde, skinny, energetic young thing on my way to law school. She probably thought I was going to be a sexy meal ticket. What she got is what I like to call “the ol’ bait and switch.” And for the better part of the last 11 years since law school (wow, has it been that long?), I’ve had plenty of excuses, starts and stops, promises, goals and tiny successes followed by big sabotages.
What is standing in my way, really? What are my excuses?
My time: I’m a full-time working mom. I’m up between 6:30 – 7 am on weekdays, get 1 kid (that we watch starting at 6:30) to the bus stop at 7:38 am and a second kid to the bus stop at 8:02, then head to work for a 8:30 am – 6 pm workday where I don’t usually take a lunch. After work, I need to pick up the kids from the babysitter by 6 or 6:30 then go home to single mom duty doing the homework, dinner, bath, reading, bedtime thing. By the time I have “me” time, it’s usually after 9 or 9:30 pm. Nights that my wife doesn’t work and I’m not single mom, we have wrestling which takes up a 6-8 pm time slot for the most part. I point at this daily routine and say “when am I supposed to work out? I’m tired? I don’t have time for an effective work out plus a shower!”
This body: I have 2 bad knees – one far more finicky that the other. I’ve had MCL repair, torn meniscus, dislocated the knee. I have hip issues and back issues. I was born with luxating patella in both knees and hip dysplasia – sounds daunting but I spent my entire youth as a highly competitive athlete. How convenient of me to use them as excuses NOW! These things push back when I try to make them come along for the fitness ride. But, funny thing is, when I’m fit and strong, they do come along for the ride and feel far better than when they are weak and forced to support an overweight out-of-shape body.
Food: I love food. I actually love all kinds of food – healthy stuff isn’t so horrible in my book. I really like creative recipes with lots of veggies. But I also have very little willpower when it comes to food. I spent my entire life not ever having desserts (unless it was a special occasion). I used to have zero problem passing up chocolate, cake, ice cream, etc. But I married someone who wants dessert every night. And when she makes herself an ice cream cone every night, I start wandering the kitchen looking for something for myself as well.
Commitment + accountability aka “sticking to it”: Something like Weight Watchers was great for me, for accountability but I didn’t want to commit to a long term diet change. Honestly, WW is so successful because it’s not a “diet”. The biggest thing that it did for me, however, was the weekly “start over”. In the past 10 years, I’ve noticed something about myself when it comes to sticking to things, especially healthy eating. When I did WW and had a weekly “check in”, it forced me to get back on track even when I’d had some bad days. When I don’t have that weekly or daily “check in”, what turns into one cheating day is quickly followed with the “well, I blew it today, I might as well blow it the rest of the week. Well, I blew it this week, I guess this month isn’t going to be my month to be good. Well, I blew it last month….”
Funny how that has turned into 10+ years of blowing it.
My plan (in no particular order of importance):
1. Commitment: I want to have some forgiveness to myself when I need a rest day, but I want to put some time commitment and accountability on myself. So, I joined Giveit100. Every day for 100 days, I will “check in”. It’s good for me because I need to be honest with myself. Take a video for 10 seconds to say that I did something towards my goal today.
2. Food: I am not a fan of the word “diet”. I don’t want to diet, I want to make better choices all the time. I will not deprive myself of something amazing, but I will be accountable to myself for the bad choices. One does not need cookie butter on a regular basis or 5 dollups of sour cream or that extra piece of pizza. I want to make sure I’m getting good things – stay away from the processed crap and do things in moderation. Stop eating until I feel miserable or that I’m going to explode (except for the rare occasions like going here).
3. Exercise: I want to be at a level of fitness that I haven’t seen in awhile. My weight and injuries have placed some hurdles in front of me. I have a knee that can be incredibly uncooperative. I have a back that needs to be supported by a strong core or easily reminds me of what I’ve put it through over my lifetime.
4. Time: I will get up at 5 am. It’s not always easy to do but I can do it 3-4 mornings per week. I just need to go to bed before 11 pm and stop waking up when my wife gets home from work between 12:30-1 am. I have a gym buddy who texts me in the morning and reminds me that there is a water massage bed at the gym available for me before the workout begins. And on the days when 5 am isn’t feasible, I will make 30 minutes happen somewhere, even if it’s 9 pm after the kids are in bed. Remarkably, one can do an effective workout that late, take a nice shower and meditate for 10 minutes to fall asleep without being overly stimulated from the workout.
5. Confidence: I’m tired of being embarrassed about my weight. I’m tired of running into people I haven’t seen in 10 years and feel judged, I’m tired of feeling the way I feel about myself. I feel that this is one particular part of my life that is holding me back from overcoming the confidence and self-worth hurdles that I face. When I say things like “I’m imperfect and I’m worth it,” I still have a nagging feeling in the back of my brain that I can accept my imperfections but…there’s something I’m not doing for myself that really would make me believe that statement internally so much more.
And another big step – taking a picture of me for the “BEFORE”. Taking it was a big step, sharing it with all of you was a HUGE one. The picture was taken by a 4 yr old photographer, so you get what you get.
I’m hoping people will join me. Friend me if you have a Fitbit, join me on giveit100.com, MyFitnessPal and share your own plan!