I honestly have never felt better in my life and I really want for everyone to experience even a little of what it feels like to achieve goals you never thought were possible. This morning I attempted my very first spin class and swim at the gym. As my training partner Karrie and I were getting out of the pool two very large girls took our lane to begin their workout. I couldn't help having such mixed feelings as I watched them. My first feeling was one of pride--it is hard to get in a swimsuit in a public place and here they were before 7 am getting their exercise in. I also felt a little sadness remembering how many years I had wasted being unhappy and uncomfortable in my skin. I flashed back to that feeling of helplessness--I honestly never thought that weight would ever come off. I thought I had too far to go to ever be successful. I also felt compelled to share with them that it is possible...I am living proof of that. I also felt hesitant because I wanted to share my success story to hopefully inspire them to keep up the good work. However, I often wonder if in sharing my story am I insulting them by pointing out that they have work to do?
The first resource I would like to share is one that my Ironman training buddy Leslie posted on my Facebook page--The Secret to Making New Year's Resolutions Stick (click on title to access the full article). What I liked about this article is that it gives many practical tips and suggestions. It reminds you to set-up sub goals that lead toward your ultimate goal. Trying to shoot for too much all at once can be very frustrating. I had between 80-90 pounds to lose when I first started my journey. I had to focus on five pounds at a time at first because my ultimate weight loss goal seemed so out of reach in the beginning. The other tip I love is a reminder that you will fail--we all do at one time or another when we are trying to make changes. The secret is to realize that these set backs are a normal part of the journey. Do not beat yourself up if you have a bad eating day or skip a workout. Treat each day as a new opportunity to move in the right direction.
The number one reason I have been successful is that I am very committed to working out. I have a very low metabolism, and the simple truth is that losing weight pretty much boils down to calories in and calories out. I love to eat, so I must put in a few more miles on the road, on my bike, or in the pool to be able to eat anything other than fruits, veggies, and chicken breast. Recently my buddy Kay shared a resource that focuses on sticking to a running goal, but most of the tips can be helpful no matter what your exercise of choice is--10 Tips on How To Stick To a New Year’s Running Resolution. Like the article suggests I make sure to plan races that I know I have to train for, and that keeps me motivated to get up at god awful hours to get my workout in before work. If you don't like running, how about scheduling a walk, bike, or swim race? If you have something in the books you are less likely to skimp on your exercise. This article also points out how important accountability is. I use the MapMyRide app on my iPhone to track my exercise and progress. This tool enabled me to put together the table below that shows my exercise totals for the year. It is very motivating for me to look back and see all I have achieved over the year. MapMyRide also has a nutrition resource where you can enter food you eat into a journal, and it automatically subtracts the calories from your daily allowance that include base calories and ones you earned from exercise. Another way to keep yourself accountable is by surrounding yourself with training buddies. This morning I had to wake up at 4 am so I could meet Karrie at the gym for a 5:30 spin class followed by an hour of swimming. When I woke up I was so cozy in my bed that I might have rolled over and skipped my workout if I didn't know Karrie would be waiting at the gym for me. I cannot stress enough how important it is to surround yourself with supportive, dedicated people. It is honestly one of the main reasons I have been able to continue moving in a positive direction.
Another helpful article came from an unlikely source. I subscribe to many resources and I have recently been getting emails about "triathloning" as I move into my triathlon training mode. Yesterday I received an article with a misleading title--5 Triathlon Tips (and Tricks) to Make 2013 Your Best. This article is more about how to set a reasonable goal and stick to it than specifically how to improve your triathlons. The advice here can be applied to any goal you set whether that goal be improving you swim/bike/run times or losing a few extra pounds. It is worth the time to read it. Here is a quote to motivate you to check it out, "Remember, that there are 365 days in 2013 so if you mess up on the first day you still have 364 days left to get it right." Great advice, right?
So let's make 2013 the year that we all do something we didn't think we were capable of doing. Put in the time to set your long term and short term goals, find resources that move you in the right direction, and surround yourself with people who will be a positive influence on and support you in your journey. No matter how far you have to go, I know you can do. It is possible, and I am living proof that if you set your mind on something, you, too, can make 2013 the year of possibilities.
“Never say that you can't do something, or that something seems impossible, or that something can't be done, no matter how discouraging or harrowing it may be; human beings are limited only by what we allow ourselves to be limited by: our own minds. We are each the masters of our own reality; when we become self-aware to this: absolutely anything in the world is possible."