7 Ways I’m Taking a New Approach to Fitness

image source: thinkstock
image source: thinkstock

My journey to a healthy life is always ongoing. Sometimes I am on a path that feels great and seems to yield great results, but I’ll get sidetracked by a busy schedule or poor planning (which might be the same thing). I’ve had serious fitness goals like, “Drop X amount of pounds by X date.” And I have had wobbly fitness goals like, “Eat more protein.” I’ve come to recognize that I work in cycles when it comes to my health. Sometimes I can’t do more than focus on trying to get quality sleep. But when I feel that boost of vim to jump back in, I know I need to seize the day.

The last time I did a long stretch of achieving fitness goals I also got a bit burned out. I’ve decided to try and learn from those blunders and missteps and give myself some nice guidelines.

1. Don’t obsess over my fitness tracker

Last year was the first time I had ever used a fitness tracker and it was love at first step. I loved watching every step be measured and accounted for. Then I started watching it a little TOO much. I would sync the tracker over and over and became fixated on numbers and calibrations. I do plan on using my fitness tracker again, but I think finding a new way to view the stats will be good for me. Measuring my progress over weeks instead of days should be a good place to start.

2. Have more than one activity that gets me going

Not so shocking confession: I am not athletic. When it comes to working out, I pretty much stick to walking. Don’t get me wrong, walking is awesome, but I should have more than one thing to get me out of the house. My family belongs to the local YMCA and there are always classes going on, as well as a workout center. Variety will keep things interesting!

3. Make exercising a family thing

Why am I making this a solo thing? Everything is more fun with my mother and son. We’ve gone to family swim nights, even enjoyed aqua Zumba together, and it was a blast. There should be more of that.

4. Use the grill for meal planning

We recently purchased a grill and suddenly the summer menu planning is off to a great start. It’s not fun preparing different meals for everyone in the kitchen, but grilling different foods together feels more inclusive. My son has been eagerly picking out fruits and vegetables for all of us. I think in the past, the preparation of food and the consumption of it felt restrictive and like a diet. That doesn’t work for me.

5. Every day is Day One — don’t stress about breaking a streak

When I was preparing my food in the past, I kept a food log in a popular food journal app. The app was very informative and helpful. One of the things that was really motivating for me was seeing the streak of days I had logged in. Seeing “Dresden has logged in for 100 days” was such a thrill. Then I missed a day. When I logged in again everything was back to Day One. While seeing the progress was helpful, being reset to Day One made me feel like a failure. That is a lot of weird emotional junk to put into an app. I haven’t decided if I am going to food journal with an app or in a notebook, but regardless I will remind myself “every day is a new day.”

6. Measure my progress in inches, not pounds

The scale. Man. The scale and I have a really intense relationship. Even when I told myself I was only going to weigh myself once a week, I cheated. It was always awful, too. I would be having one of those, “I feel AWESOME!” days. Super convinced that I had dropped a pound or two and wanting that numerical validation from the scales. Only to be shown a number that made me angry. I need to measure my body this time. Pounds and scales are so fickle, but a change in measurements would be awesome.

7. Take “before” photos

Since I won’t be putting all my faith in the numbers on the scale, I know I will need something else to see a change. Maybe my hips or thighs won’t change, but if I can commit to a summer of making healthy choices with my fitness goals I really hope I will be able to see it in my face.

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