HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Dad! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Meghann! I hope you both have an excellent day!
Hello, hello! I am driving from Tennessee to Orlando today – 10 long hours in the car with two whining dogs (just kidding, they are angels).
I had an egg and cheese English muffin sandwich for breakfast and packed a bunch of healthy food to fuel me through the day, including:
Cheerios, a banana, and apricots:
Pumpkin muffins (bought from a Haiti Relief Bake Sale at my mom’s church!):
A peanut butter and jelly sandwich:
And carrots and an apple:
Not sure if I’ll eat all this food on the road, but I’d rather have SOMETHING than nothing/fast food.
Since I’ll be gone the rest of the day, I thought I’d share an interesting reader e-mail question. I’m curious to know your thoughts, too!
Sarah wrote, “I am working on changing my life (regarding healthy diet and working out). One aspect I struggle with when I try a new activity is being a newbie. I hate the feeling of not knowing what I am doing, not being perfect at it right from the start. I am interested in starting yoga. I even attended a yoga workshop but have been nervous about doing back to attend regular classes. I really enjoyed the workshop but couldn’t help but notice that I wasn’t able to do everything others in the room were doing. In one of your recent posts, you mentioned how you loved how bad you were when you started running. How did you get that attitude and not get discouraged?”
When I was in college, my friend Lauren sat me down and told me I either needed to shape up (eat better, party less, and take care of myself) or shut up (stop Fat Talking). It was a pivotal moment in my life because it really opened my eyes to the fact that I HAD A CHOICE.
I could CHOOSE to be proactive about my health and mental wellness, or I could CHOOSE to be lazy and continue on the path I was on. Lauren asked me if I wanted to go on a run with her, and I agreed. We went about 1/4 a mile, and I practically collapsed on the sidewalk. Again: I was confronted with a CHOICE. I could choose to give up, or I could choose to keep trying.
There is something about that conversation and first run that firmly ingrained into me one simple truth: life is a series of choices. It’s important to consciously decide what your end goal is and then map out the appropriate choices to get there. When Lauren slapped some sense into me, I realized that my actions (partying too much, eating crappy food, rarely exercising) did not match up with my end goal (to be happy and healthy). That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect to met your end goal, of course. But my point is – if you don’t buy a lottery ticket, you can’t win!
This realization, however, did not comfort me very much when I was beginning my new healthy habit. Running was hard, I had no idea what a training plan was, and I had to change other aspects of my life to make it work (i.e. stop drinking so much). I KNEW that is was important that I keep a positive attitude… or else I would get discouraged.
Once you make the choice to be healthier, here are six tips for maintaining a positive attitude:
- Fake It Until You Make It: The key is faking it until you make it. FAKE that positivity. FAKE that willingness to learn something new. Tell yourself you LOVE being the new kid, that you LOVE the challenge, and that you WILL do it again… even if you feel the exact opposite. Tell yourself you LOVE to be BAD at the activity! Eventually, the enthusiasm generally becomes real.
- Set Realistic Goals (and Base These Goals on Your OWN, CURRENT Abilities): Tell yourself that you can do ANYTHING for 1 week, 1 month, or 2 months. This is the trick I used on myself to get myself in a strength training habit. I committed myself to the Intro to Iron Pumping Challenge for 12 weeks. Sometimes, I really don’t want to go to the gym and lift, but I remind myself that I only have to do it for 12 weeks and then I can stop if I don’t like it. When you set goals, base them on your current abilities, not how well you used to be able to do the activity or how well other people can do the activity.
- Find Inspiration in Others: Although it’s important not to compare yourself to others, I think it’s so powerful to observe other people. When I began running and did my first 10K, I was ASTONISHED by the variety of people at the race – young, old, skinny, overweight, parents, children… everyone! Whenever I was really nervous about the marathon, I would think about all the grandpas and grandmas that are still running marathons in the 80’s. If they can do it, so can I! And so can YOU!
- Remember Everyone Starts Somewhere: Similar to the point above, remember that everyone started from scratch. Whether it’s running or swimming or yoga, even the “best” people you know were novices at some point. They didn’t know they were fast runners or flexible yogis at first – but they kept going and probably surprised themselves.
- Ask the “Experts”: When you’re surrounded by people who seemed to be so much better than you are at the activity, it can be discouraging. Instead of seeing other people as competition, see them as a resource. Ask them how they got to be so awesome (trust me, they will be flattered)! For example, Ryan is a great swimmer, so I asked her to help train me. My dad is a great cyclist, and I ask him for tips all the time.
- Reward Yourself and Cut Yourself Some Slack: The BIG one! When you reach your realistic goals, reward yourself! After my first 10K, I went to a seafood restaurant and got crab cakes AND a lobster (pre-vegetarian days, of course) and then I got two cupcakes for dessert! 🙂 After the lifting challenge is over, I plan to get a manicure! In a similar tone, don’t beat yourself up when you don’t reach your goal… guilt is not very productive.
How do you cultivate a positive attitude?
See you in Florida!