Nov 10, 2014

Fitness Successes - Small Steps Toward a Healthy Lifestyle

I've written about how I feel about diets (hint: they're BS), and how I prefer to focus on changing my overall lifestyle.  You can quit a diet, but you can't quit your life.  You may slip up from time to time, but since you have your whole life to keep working on it, one mistake isn't a big deal.

In general, fitness seems to be very focused on challenges, and specific goals.  I understand why; it's a great motivational tool!  But we quite frequently set the bar high, and then when we don't quite reach it, it's a "failure."  Challenge NOT completed.

Even with my own philosophy of lifelong changes, I focus pretty heavily on the failures.  "Oh, this past week I messed up."  "I need to get back on track."  And on, and on.

Now, you need to do this occasionally, to recalibrate if your goals are ones that work for you, and to remind yourself why you're trying to make these changes.  But I realized I don't celebrate the goals I have achieved.  Eventually they just get removed from the list because I don't need a reminder anymore, but it's never accompanied by that feeling of success that it deserves.

So today I'm taking a few moments to remember and celebrate the goals I have achieved.

Health Successes!

1. Hydration

I pee clear.  Almost all the time.  I always felt like I drank more water than the people around me, but there were several occasions, when I was overheated, or exerted myself physically, that I came very close to (and actually did a couple times) passing out.  I think being dehydrated was a big part of that.  Now, I don't even have to think about staying hydrated - it's just part of my routine and my body lets me know when I haven't filled the water bottle up enough times.

2. Nutrition Education

Now some of this will be ongoing, but in general I understand nutrition so much better than I did when I was "dieting" in high school.  I still make bad choices far more frequently than I should, but at least I understand the full consequences of my actions, and I know what foods to choose when I'm eating healthy.

3. A More Balanced Diet

This is relative, I know, and some of you may well scoff at this.  But there used to be days, or even weeks, that I went without consuming vegetables or fruits at all.  Now it's rare that I go a full day without consuming some type of produce, and on a good day I have one or the other (or both!) with every meal.  That meal might be pizza, but if I've chomped a salad before starting on the pizza, it's that much less of the unhealthy option and that much more actual nutrition for my body.

4. More Consistent Exercise

My exercise regimen is not great.  Heck, it's not even good.  But, you know... it's better than it was.  I pay more attention to it, I'm better about stretching and getting a good mix of exercises to prevent injuries.  I ran my first 5-mile race ever back in March, and while I've lost a lot of my conditioning, I know I'm capable of training and I'm currently at a better starting base than I ever was before.  I'm capable of working towards a goal for more than 1 week at a time.  Most importantly, I'm learning how to keep myself accountable (signing up for races is a pretty good one).

Small steps.  Just keep taking small steps.

How are you at focusing on the positives?  What are your fitness successes?

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