Make It Stick

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All the patients called off today, so the Husband and I decided to take a snow day and go for a long walk in a new neighborhood.  Isn’t it pretty?  We’ve gotten about 5 inches!




James had to be carried for a little bit.  🙂


And we grabbed Mediterranean take-out for lunch.


Here was my feast.  I went a little order-crazy at the counter.


Pita bread, baba ganoush, hommos (how they spread it at the restaurant!), falafel, and potatoes.


Plus, creamy and dreamy lentil soup.


After digestion and a little bit of work, I hopped on the indoor bike trainer and rode for 30 minutes.  I’ve decided that the only thing I don’t like about indoors is that I don’t get as much of an upper body workout from being on the trainer.  There’s no ab work either because I don’t have to steady the bike as I ride!


Reader Mailbag


Emily wrote, “I’ve always seemed to have a problem with diligence – I’m a serial "starter-stopper".  Always starting something and then mentally talking myself out of sticking with the routine.  Self-fulfilling prophecy at it’s finest.  Anyway – a little back-story: I used to be an athlete in high school, so I was in really great shape.  Then I went to college and worked out on and off, never letting myself get too out of shape, but never sticking to anything for longer than a month or 2.  Then I got married, and while I LOVE my hubby, marriage has made me  completely complacent.  When I do, by chance, decide to work out, I get discouraged because I am so out of shape.  I want to be able to run instead of walk, so I just quit all together.  I literally have gotten so lazy and I feel like I am so out of shape (which I am) and on top of that, I haven’t been planning ahead to go to the grocery store for meals so we eat out a lot, which is a super bad habit (sidenote: literally eating McDonald’s as I type).  I cannot seem to get myself started because the idea of me actually being in-shape seems so far off given my track record and lack of motivation.     I guess what I’m really asking you is how you initially got motivated and how did you not get discouraged when you couldn’t do things at first?  And how did you keep yourself on track?”


I thought it would be beneficial to answer this email on the blog because I’m betting its a common issue!  Matter of fact, I suffered from the all-or-nothing attitude in the past.


One of the funny things about being a perfectionist is that it can actually backfire on you BIG time.  You think perfectionists would find it easy to stay dedicated to healthy lifestyle (or killer grad program or busy job or whatnot).  But the trouble with being a perfectionist is sometimes it prevents us from starting new things because of fear of not doing things “right.” We get too bogged down by the details or too distracted by minor setbacks.


It’s possible to beat perfectionism.  That way, you can actually get stuff done and enjoy the experience, not just the result.  The key is changing your thought process.


  • Remember after me:  I will embrace being a novice.  Whether you’re a newbie or coming back to a healthy lifestyle after some time off, just celebrate your newness to the experience.   I really think you can ‘brainwash’ yourself to hold certain attitudes.  Fake it under you make it! 
  • Don’t set yourself up to fail:  Lower your fitness expectations.  One great way to take the pressure off would be to sign up for something you KNOW you can do – maybe sign up to walk/run a 5K race with your mom or a friend who also needs to get in shape.  Shooting for big, challenging goals can be intimidating, and it might backfire on you.
  • Skip workout boredom:  Pre-plan out five weeks and schedule different workouts each week.  Make one week walk/running week, the next week Zumba week, the third week swimming week, etc.
  • Get someone else involved:  Getting Emily’s husband involved would be the perfect cure to her problem.  They could spend time together and keep each other motivated.  He might also be able to help her with the cooking, which sounds like her weak spot. 
  • Your past doesn’t determine your future:  This is the biggest issue.  Shake off all the doubt that haunts you and remember that it’s totally possible to change behavior.


Personally, my personal keys to staying motivated include:  signing up for fun races, working out with friends who hold me accountable, not doing challenging races when I’m too busy with work, mixing up my workout, not demanding perfectionism, and enjoying the daily process of working out – its not just the end result that matters!


Here are some great tips from HTP readers on how to bust out of a workout rut.


Can you relate to Emily?  What advice do you have for her?



  • Jennifer January 10, 2011, 4:18 pm

    In terms of upper arms when riding on a trainer, there are lots of little exercises you can do. Sit up while maintaining your pedaling pace and do bicep curls (with or without weights). Do push-ups on the handle bars. Hold your arms out to the sides and hold them there for a minute (or pulse them up and down instead)….I bet you can think of more!

    • Caitlin January 10, 2011, 4:20 pm


  • Vikki January 10, 2011, 4:24 pm

    For me getting a trainer helped. I have someone to be accountable to every week. I also have a friend that I wave to in the gym at 5 am in the morning when I go to exercise. I’ve been at this 7 months now. I can tell a difference in my fitness level. I enjoy going to the gym again. When I first started off doing this, I blogged and posted to facebook when I exercised for extra accountability. That helped me.

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin January 10, 2011, 4:29 pm

    Wait did Emily from Daily Garnish really send you that email??

    • Caitlin January 10, 2011, 4:31 pm

      Noooo it autolinked when I wrote Emily. Removing now…

      LOL thanks. That would’ve made zero sense.

  • JenATX January 10, 2011, 4:29 pm

    You just have to reach that tipping point (which is fitting for this blog). Once you’ve decided enough is enough & that you don’t want to feel lazy anymore, just imagine that feeling every time you want to quit. This has really worked for me. If I can’t lift the amount of weight that I want & want to quit my workout, I just imagine laying in my bed all day & how gross it made me feel. Visualize!!!

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) January 10, 2011, 4:30 pm

    Definitely having a BIG goal with little goals in the middle keeps me motivated. For example, the Disney half marathon was my LARGE goal, but I had a 13 week training plan. Throughout the plan, I did two 5k’s and two 10k’s. It kept me looking forward to the little goals, all while reaching and striving for my larger one.

  • foodandfarm January 10, 2011, 4:30 pm

    So excited for the snow, although it makes things a little difficult in The farming world!

  • Laura January 10, 2011, 4:44 pm

    My husband and I have talked about eating healthy and exercising as a way of saying “I love you and I want to do all I can to stay healthy so we can live a long, productive life together.” Perhaps that sort of a mindset could help her and her husband get moving.

  • Jenna @ Eating Green, Staying Lean January 10, 2011, 4:45 pm

    This post really resonates with me, as I’ve been writing (and thinking) a lot lately about really settling into making slow changes. For me, I’ve always been an all-or-nothing dieter AND exerciser and always felt that if I’m not doing both ALL of the time that I was a failure.

    I’ve come to realize that this mindset is completely ridiculous and that if you’re doing something, even a little something, consistently, you’ll lead yourself to even better things. Our culture focuses way too much on immediate results in general.

    Start slowly, because slow is always better than nothing at all.

  • Sarah @ January 10, 2011, 4:45 pm

    I can absolutely relate to Emily’s story. I finally had to make peace with doing the best that I am capable of and not demand perfection. I set goals for myself and am proud when I accomplish them because it marks my personal progress. I also try to mix things up! I am fortunate to live in LA so there are always new workouts to try! This past weekend I took a “hiking yoga” class! One of the great things about new or experimental workouts is that everyone is a beginner so you can all laugh and learn together!

    • Emma January 10, 2011, 6:17 pm

      What do you do for hiking yoga and where can I find a class near me?/

      • Caitlin January 10, 2011, 6:50 pm

        Hiking yoga sounds cool!

        • Sarah @ January 11, 2011, 12:14 am

          Hiking Yoga was really fun and different- I have some pictures posted if anyone is interested in checking it out! The company that my class was through has locations in LA, San Francisco, San Diego and Phoenix. The website is

          Enjoy! 🙂

  • Stephanie January 10, 2011, 4:46 pm

    I have been a neurotic perfectionist my entire life. I almost stopped myself from blogging because I just didn’t want to do it and not be very good at it. I’m so glad I just decided one day to start because it really doesn’t matter if not one single person reads it….it’s so much fun and its one of the best things I’ve decided to do for myself. Good advice!

  • Ashley January 10, 2011, 4:46 pm

    I’m in the only town in North Carolina that didn’t get snow haha. Your lunch looks really good.
    You could probably get an ab workout by contracting and releasing your abs while on the trainer, or by twisting your body side to side to work your obliques while holding weights. But that’s a lot of extra things to concentrate on and if you already have strong abs it probably wouldn’t be to effective unless you did it a lot.

  • Bethany @ More Fruit Please January 10, 2011, 4:46 pm

    First of all, I love your boots and hat and James’ coat! Sometimes I’ve felt like Emily before where I want an all or nothing approach. I’ve found that what helps me is to make a plan with mini goals. I can’t become a runner or a great chef overnight, but I can over time. By having a plan with achievable goals (like be able to run 10 minutes nonstop after X amount of time or cook dinner at home three times a week) I can stay focused on what I need to do to get to where I want to go.

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine January 10, 2011, 4:48 pm

    I’m like that with diet more than with fitness…I have an all-or-nothing mentality. This sounds really stupid, but whenever I want to wait until “next week” to make better diet choices, I remind myself that the week starts on Sunday in Europe, and that it’s already tomorrow in Japan. There’s no time like the present!

  • Rachel January 10, 2011, 4:49 pm

    I can absolutely relate to what Emily is talking about. It’s basically the story of the last year of my life. It wasn’t until I resolved some of the major stressors in my life (graduating, bad relationship, job search, moving, etc.) that I was able to stick with any healthy habits at all. Now I’m focusing on taking one step at a time. It’s hard, because I want to be healthier and in better shape immediately, but I focus on how good each positive change makes me feel about myself, and use that to motivate myself for the next change. For example, I have been a major coca cola junkie for about five years now. It’s now been 16 days since my last coke, and 11 days since my last soda, which is really major for me. I feel so much better without the constant sugar and caffeine cravings, and so proud of myself for making it this far. 16 days may not sound like alot, but it’s alot to me!

    • Laura January 10, 2011, 4:54 pm

      Congratulations on breaking the habit! When I was weaning myself off soft drinks I found Crystal Light lemonade to be helpful. Over time I just watered it down more and more, and now I drink mostly water. Good luck!

  • Stacey - The Habit of Healthy January 10, 2011, 4:49 pm

    I love snow days when you get to stay home from work – so fun! That meal looks exactly like something I would have ordered, I adore middle-eastern food.

    I am always put off doing things that I think I won’t be successful at. I like to be the best at everything and I have to accept that sometimes I won’t be. As with everything though, you have to start somewhere!

  • Leila @ spinach and skittles January 10, 2011, 4:50 pm

    I can’t watch my favorite shows during the week so on Saturday mornings I brew a pot of coffee and set up a meal-planning camp with my cook books, blogs, word doc and DVR. It makes meal planning fun and I can quickly build meals that complement what I have in the fridge and eachother. Also making freezer meals and crock pot dishes help with meals for the work week. The hubs and I pick 1-2 nights that each of us will be responsible for cooking and then we plan leftovers for the other nights.
    Small goals with a “star chart” for tracking success helps too. I literally have used stickers like in elementary school and posted the chart to my fridge to see my success. I usually will reward myself after I hit my goals with a pedicure 🙂

  • Sarah for Real January 10, 2011, 4:51 pm

    I can definitely relate to that. Your tips have helped me so much! Especially about signing up for an attainable race. One more thing (related to your morning post) is making a training plan work for me. I get suuuuper stressed with plans that say Monday do this, Tuesday do that, Friday do that because as a perfectionist, if I miss one workout I feel like a failure. I’m taking your advice and building in loads of flexibility. In fact, it’s so flexible it’s not even written down!

  • Anne @thefitbridesmaid January 10, 2011, 4:51 pm

    FIVE INCHES IN CHARLOTTE! They must be going crazy! Are your puppies okay? We noticed that every once in a while our dog starts limping when walking around our neighborhood in snow. We think that it is due to the salt that is everywhere. We wipe her feet off when we get home. I hate seeing my puppy limping!!

  • Baking 'n' Books January 10, 2011, 4:52 pm

    Okay – you look extremely stylish in the cold winter!

    I’m trying to figure out that common dilemma myself…I think the only thing I can do now is not to beat myself up. Accept what was and what is and move on. Baby steps…and setbacks are just that. Laugh at it and move on. Get over myself! 🙂

  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans January 10, 2011, 4:52 pm

    I can relate to the all or nothing mindset. Sometimes I figure I need to do it really well right away or why bother. Running was (and is) something that I had to work at and its helped me see things from a different perspective. I am never going to win a marathon so I have to get past the idea of being the best and focus on doing my best!

  • Corrie Anne January 10, 2011, 4:58 pm

    I would say that getting your husband involved is key. My fiance got so used to me working out and running that he eventually got on board just to spend time with me. Working out/eating healthy is a fabulous way to spend time together and it will actually help you grow closer! Now we are pre-training for a marathon together! 🙂

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) January 10, 2011, 4:59 pm

    Lots of good stuff already posted here, but I will try to add:

    – Set a very short-term challenge that is worthy of telling people about. A 5K is a good example, or doing 20 pushups, or climbing a certain number of stairs.

    – About the complacency: refocus on yourself vs. a relationship. Think about yourself as a single entity and assess whether you are the best you can be. Think about your body, all that it can do now and with more training. I increased my awareness of my body by using nice-smelling bar soaps for a while so I was aware of changes. Weird, but that led to weight loss for me without really trying.

    – Remove environmental stressors as much as possible. These are often the biggest obstacles for my healthy habits. To avoid McDonalds, have another lunch spot that you love dominate your thoughts instead. I, for one, would much rather eat at Subway than McD’s.

    – If you fail one day, you can succeed the next day, even if that means partially. I blew it over the holiday break but don’t feel bad about it at all, because I still did partial workouts. Anything is better than nothing. <– one of my mantras

  • Ashley January 10, 2011, 5:00 pm

    …coming out of lurker-dom to say that I love your boots!

    And now that I’m here, advice…

    The all or nothing mindset is difficult for sure. My husband had the same problem. He wanted to be in better shape, but he wasn’t as fast as I am, so he didn’t want to do anything. The fast fix? Entering a race. He entered a half marathon that was six months away. We trained together. We planned long runs together. We planned the best weekly menus for training. It was so much fun. And the gains he saw in his fitness were so great that he was getting constant positive feedback.

    I think enlisting her husband is a great idea. Then it becomes a team goal, and neither wants to let the other down. It’s so helpful on those mornings when I want to crawl back in bed to have my husband, all dressed, look and me and say ‘Well, you can stay in bed if you want, but I’m going.’ That gets me up fast (it helps if he’s holding coffee too).

  • Leanne (For Health's Sake) January 10, 2011, 5:00 pm

    I find joining a group class (preferrably a small group!) at a exercise studio/gym helps. It’s nice to feel accountable to a group of people, and it takes the thinking portion out of the workout… meaning that the trainer tells you what to do/motivates you. Plus there is structure!

    I tottally relate with Emily, which is why tonight I’m starting my first class 🙂 Here I come again fitness!

    I find winter is hard… it’s so cold in Alberta (we just got 30 centimeters of snow over the weekend too… which hasn’t happened in almost 30 years!) and it makes me want to hibernate.

    If you americans ever get your health care in order, i’d consider moving! Otherwise I love my Canada 🙂

  • Regina January 10, 2011, 5:03 pm

    Those fallafels look like donuts!

  • Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa January 10, 2011, 5:04 pm

    I hear you on the perfectionist thing, especially when it comes to grad school. Great post!

  • Katie January 10, 2011, 5:06 pm

    I can totally rate, with almost every area in life. One of the things I tell myself is to do things for mental health…what small step can I take that will make me feel better even if for nothing else. Swim 10 minutes? Apply for one job? Whatever it is, I feel better after.

  • Heather January 10, 2011, 5:07 pm

    Perfect is the enemy of good.

    Embrace good. You’re doing more than you were.

  • Christina January 10, 2011, 5:11 pm

    For my husband and I, it’s all about getting into some sort of routine. We go grocery shopping every weekend. Before we go, we plan out our meals (all 21 of them) for the week. We allow ourselves to buy 1 or 2 treat items for the week (i.e. cookies, sorbet, goat cheese) but other than that we stick to our grocery list and budget.
    We never eat fast food. I refuse to, end of story. We go out to eat about once a month, almost always with a coupon or gift card (we’re cheap, trying to pay off student loans, and saving up to buy a house). We are really good at holding each other accountable (within reason!) to these guidelines. They are good for our waistlines and our wallets.
    We have also gotten into the routine of going to the gym together every other day. It has pretty much become a habit. We found a gym that is close enough to walk to, accepts our health insurance discount, and fits our personalities. The discount is a big motivator for us (like I said, we’re cheap), but going together has helped as well. It has become a routine part of our lives. We get home from work, go workout, and then come home and cook.

  • Charlie January 10, 2011, 5:12 pm

    After not working out for over 6 months, I wasn’t motivated at all to go to the gym again. Why? Because I knew I was good before and now I would be at square one.

    How I found motivation was by doing something I never did before. If you used to go to the gym, go outside and run. If you used to do stationary bike, go on the elliptical. Or subscribe to a new fitness class. You can’t be worse than before: you never did it!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss January 10, 2011, 5:18 pm

    I used to have the “all or nothing” mindset until I realized that’s not what healthy is. We should never “diet” or “workout soley to lose 5 pounds” because that won’t bring lasting changes…plus, if your heart’s not in’re more likely to just give up after a pitfall or two. Instead, we should aim to do our best everyday, day by day. Work out to be healthy and eat to feel great. If you do that and eliminate the “diet”’ll be fine. 🙂

  • Lisa January 10, 2011, 5:30 pm

    Mmm for me when I decided to lose 100 pounds there was no turning back. I guess that’s an “all or nothing” mentality in a way. But it worked for me!

  • Sarah @ The Strength of Faith January 10, 2011, 5:38 pm

    I think your post title hits the nail on its head for Emily – Pick one thing – and make it stick! Then another thing. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  • Maria January 10, 2011, 5:43 pm

    I love your boots! And your lunch looks so delicious!

    I can relate to Emily…I know how hard it is to be stuck in a rut. It helps me a lot to pick a goal and work towards it (such as running a race or something of the sort). It’s a lot easier for me to get up and get moving when I know I’m working for something.

  • Rebecca January 10, 2011, 5:44 pm

    One thing I learnt from Spin Class to work on your core, was to turn the tension up on your bike and to sit straight up in your sit (hands by your side) and pedal, like you are going up a hill, hold your core in tight and just use your legs to ride (don’t move side to side) and you can really feel your core muscles working.

  • Gill (snaxandthecity) January 10, 2011, 5:45 pm

    I would also say, do something that you really love. experiment. just b/c everyone else is doing yoga/running/weights whatever, doesn’t mean you’ll love it!

  • Kara January 10, 2011, 5:46 pm

    My best advice for getting into fitness is to make it social! Running groups, friends at the gym, a new hobby, whatever. My gateway to fitness was Tae Kwon Do (I was able to teach kickboxing at a gym once I got my black belt) and it was a fun way to get fit. You make friends, you have goals (belts, new skills). Once I taught kickboxing at the gym I realized you don’t need to do martial arts to get those same things.

    I hope Emily is able to find her fitness groove!

  • Wendy January 10, 2011, 5:50 pm

    “Progress not perfection”! Have you heard of Flylady? That’s one of her mottos. 🙂

    I have just recently overcome this same issue. Mine was with eating way too much sugar – my behavior was so ingrained it seemed like I was never, ever going to be able to kick the habit. I felt like I was addicted. What made the change click for me was setting tiny goals for myself, then telling a trusted friend or two what I was going to do. First, I decided I was going to kick my 3-4 times-a-week (non-diet) soda habit and not worry about anything else. After I went a week+ without soda, I decided to stop buying sweets at the store. This week I am working on not eating any sweets until after dinner.

    Maybe Emily could start by setting a goal of walking 30 minutes 3 times THIS week, not worrying about NEXT week. Or planning just breakfasts for THIS week. While the big picture is important, thinking about it all at once can be so overwhelming!

  • Elizabeth@The Sweet Life January 10, 2011, 5:50 pm

    Life is really so much about the journey, isn’t it? Thanks for the reminder.

  • Laura (Starloz) January 10, 2011, 6:04 pm

    i love you gumboots & your town is beautiful. i want snow but im scared i’d never go outside, ever.

  • Camille January 10, 2011, 6:09 pm

    I definitely have difficulties “being a novice”.
    I have always dreamed of learning ballet, but I don’t like the idea of starting out at the beginning, so I have never started at all.
    I should probably get over it, but it’s tough 🙁

  • Kimberly @ Healthy Strides January 10, 2011, 6:12 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with your advice with embrace being a novice. You have to start somewhere! I think it’s important not to focus on where you start but to focus on where you are going. Keep track of workouts, and take a look back every now and then. It really motivated to see how far I had come pace-wise with running that it made it easier not to compare myself to other bloggers.

    I am an avid meal planner, mostly to help save on groceries and eating out. I make it fun by trying new recipes, checking out cookbooks from the library and involving my husband by asking what he wants. After a month of planning and grocery shopping with that plan, you’ll never want to go back!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit January 10, 2011, 6:13 pm

    Great tips! I’m glad you’re enjoying the snow 🙂

  • Erin @ Big Girl Feats January 10, 2011, 6:24 pm

    I am getting motivated even just reading these comments! When I first started out, I would remind myself, “It took you __ number of years to create these habits; they’re not going to go away today, but soon they will.”

    I would say find a way to celebrate little tiny goals, streaks, occasions – i.e. days at the gym or getting a workout in, take progress pictures month to month, measure inches, track bottles of water. Little things add up to bigger things to make you feel really good about the progress you’re making. I would say that lowering expectations is HUGE! You eventually want to run a marathon/do crow pose/go to the gym 5 days a week but you can’t start out doing that before you have a foundation of little events/occasions/habits set up first. Go Emily!

  • Allie January 10, 2011, 6:30 pm

    5 inches?! That is crazy! Very awesome, I think you guys got more than Pittsburgh got this weekend…that is a miracle haha. We got around 3 inches. Your creamy dreamy lentil soup that you had for lunch sounds very good right now because it is so cold out. I love reading you blog because of all the awesome advice you give 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) January 10, 2011, 6:33 pm

    We got 8 inches in Atlanta and the boys had the day out of school. This makes it very hard to have a work day at home when they are home to play! Your lunch looks delicious!

    I could not agree more…always look to the future!

  • Maddie January 10, 2011, 6:37 pm

    I can TOTALLY relate to the perfectionist syndrome. I’m trying to get better at running and I constantly have to remind myself that it’s okay that I am not awesome – I’m way better than I was a few months ago and I have nothing but time!

  • Laura January 10, 2011, 6:38 pm

    I can relate to the whole getting discouraged by not seeing results right away! Mostly with working out. Setting small goals helps, as well as having a buddy/friend to go to the gym with, and also rewarding myself after I make it through a week or certain amount of days working out. Even with those things sometimes there are days that are SO HARD to get motivated to get going!

  • Carly (Swim, Run, Om) January 10, 2011, 7:09 pm

    Girl. Are those Coach boots you are rocking? I love them!!!

    I completely relate to Emily. Something that has helped me is to not track calories or weight, but to keep tabs on my measurements (hip, waist, boobs.) Seeing my waist go from unhealthy to healthy has been serious motivation to stick with it. If she has weight to lose, I really recommend going that route.

    • Caitlin January 10, 2011, 7:17 pm

      yes – got them back in 2003!

  • Jennifer (Happiness Here) January 10, 2011, 7:17 pm

    Not to sound the Book Recommendation Siren for two days in a row, but regarding your second suggestion of setting goals you KNOW you can accomplish…”Four Day Win” by Martha Beck is pure awesomeness. She gives some great strategies for making small changes toward big goals.

    • Caitlin January 10, 2011, 7:18 pm

      I’m going to look into this one today!

  • Anne @ Life is a Joy January 10, 2011, 7:20 pm

    I had to start viewing my daily runs as medicine. Just like talking vitamins, drinking my 8 glasses of water and breathing. There are some days that I just don’t want to and can’t make myself but then as I take my vitamins I remember that if I don’t run, I will not feel better. Actually running is the medicine for me. Everyday I finish a run, however short, keeps a virtuous cycle of self esteem and joy that I did something for myself. I run, I breathe, I smile. Hope you find your motivation and your medicine. Best wishes!!

  • Nicole January 10, 2011, 7:31 pm

    I especially love the embrace being a newbie part. When I’m starting something new, it’s sometimes hard to accept, but looking back I find that the new beginnings are the most exciting part!

  • Sana January 10, 2011, 7:31 pm

    I have been craving falafel like a crazy person!

  • Sarah (Sarah Learns) January 10, 2011, 7:39 pm

    i totally understand how she feels. it’s so easy to fall into the all or nothing mindset, especially if you were once in a great place fitness- or health-wise. for me, i find that it helps me to tell someone what i’m doing. making myself accountable to someone else makes me so much more likely to go work out!

  • Emilie @livetoeatrunforfun January 10, 2011, 7:42 pm

    The perfectionist thing really turns out to be more of a hindrance to me than anything. I often get frustrated with just about anything because it can’t, won’t be, or isn’t “perfect”. which leads me to be dissatisfied with a lot of life.
    Learning to accept the inperfections in life is one of my goals this year…I’m just not sure that one can really change a core aspect of their personality? I really hope its possible.

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) January 10, 2011, 7:44 pm

    Relate to Emily? I think I AM Emily! I definitely have struggled with an all or nothing mentality, and I try every day to break it 🙂

  • Jillian@ Reshape Your Life January 10, 2011, 7:45 pm

    I can totally relate to Emily! I struggled with getting healthy for years because I was so out of shape the thought of getting to the finish was so far away it was super daunting! But I started reading blogs and gaining motivation… and then I read your blog header “when everyday decisions add up to something amazing” and realized that if I made little decisions everyday EVENTUALLY they would add up.

    So I started walking. Then running. Then paying more attention to what I eat… And before I knew it I was living a relatively healthy lifestyle and I barely noticed! It’s been about 6 months and I’ve already lost 25 lbs, ran my first 5k and now I am planning on running my first half marathon in October!

    My advice for Emily is to start small, just make a few small changes. When those become second nature make a couple more. Take it slow and they will be easier to stick with!

  • MaryBe@AccidentallyVegan January 10, 2011, 8:04 pm

    I don’t have any advice for Emily, but I LOVE that picture of James!

  • Megan January 10, 2011, 8:04 pm

    This is the perfect post for me today, because I just got home from my first day of Crossfit. I feel so out of shape, but I keep telling myself that I did the best that I could today, and that’s all I can ask of myself.

    I know it’s going to be a tough adjustment to learn the ropes and get stronger, but I am trying to focus on just one day at a time.

    I can’t wait to read all the other comments for some more motivation ideas!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 10, 2011, 8:17 pm

    I start and stop things all the time – mostly cleaning. 🙂

    • Laura January 10, 2011, 8:34 pm

      LOL Amen to this!

  • Laura January 10, 2011, 8:31 pm

    I can completely relate to her situation. I’m what I call the lethal combination of perfectionist/defeatist. It’s so easy for me to be derailed, especially emotionally, and especially when it comes to fitness! It’s something I’m consciously working on this year 🙂

  • Paul T January 10, 2011, 9:11 pm

    Curious as to what kind of bike trainer you ride? Most of the time you will find me on a 20+ year old wind trainer but luckily I get access to test bike trainers once in a while and I enjoy some of the CycleOps and Kurt Kinetic products.

    By the way… the lunch looks yummy!!!

    • Caitlin January 11, 2011, 9:15 am

      Bell Motivator

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin January 10, 2011, 9:20 pm

    The only thing that got me going to the gym in the first place was having a workout buddy. Having a friend to go with really motivated me to kick start my healthy lifestyle. Good luck Emily! 🙂

  • Jen @ Canoe of Life January 10, 2011, 9:28 pm

    I found my biggest success is when I have the support of my husband. I had tried being healthy and working out with him just providing emotional support, but I wasn’t able to fully commit until we both started doing the physical activities together (ie. gym, food shopping, and food prep). Good luck Emily!

  • Julie January 10, 2011, 9:49 pm

    thank you Caitlin! this definitely did answer my question about how to stick to a work out plan. As i am recovering from my eating disorder, it is important to slowly and gradually add healthy exercise back into my life, and to work on getting rid of that awful all or nothing mindset! I know i will be out of shape and that is reasonable since i took time off to get healthier, so its very unrealistic of me to expect so much out of myself. I just have to be patient with myself, and no negative thinking while working out! just live and enjoy the exercise in the moment. thanks again, you are truly an inspiration! =]

    • Caitlin January 11, 2011, 9:16 am

      You’re going to do great, Julie!

  • Lacey @ Lake Life January 10, 2011, 10:04 pm

    I can absolutely relate to what Emily said as well as what you’ve said about perfectionism. I am set in my routine since I have it down to a science and see change as the enemy. It’s time for a new mindset!

  • Megan January 10, 2011, 10:06 pm

    Dude. I. Want. Your. Boots.
    So cute!

  • Nicole January 10, 2011, 10:07 pm

    I have the same tendency to start then stop a few weeks later too. The thing I find most helpful is to do something everyday, once I start skipping days it is all down hill! Obviously doing a huge workout everyday is not wise or doable so some days I spend 15 minutes stretching or doing light yoga or maybe the only thing I do is a bunch of push ups before I get in the shower. The streak notion goes a long way for me!

    I also like using the videos offered through On Demand or whatever your cable company offers (assuming you have cable), I like trying something new in the privacy of my living room and they have some short ones for days where you only have ten minutes. It is a good way to build up skills that you used to have too-I get intimidated about going to yoga after months away but after two weeks of working on it at home I build that confidence back up.

    Best of luck!

  • Karen January 10, 2011, 10:32 pm

    Emily, I am SO with you! I never had a weight problem until I had kids. My youngst is going to be 7 next month and I still have not been able to get on track and STAY on track with diet and exercise. I just keep trying. I’m waiting to reach my healthy tipping point where I fall off track and finally say, “never again!”
    In the meantime, I try to keep on keepin’ on! Be like Dori in Nemo: “Just keep swimmin’, just keep swimmin’…”

  • Reenie January 10, 2011, 11:24 pm

    Cute pic of James over the husband’s shoulder 🙂

  • Amber K January 10, 2011, 11:55 pm

    I am such a huge perfectionist. It can definitely be a horrible thing when it leads to inaction and the fear of failure. Sometimes I just have to force myself to do whatever I’m worried about failing at.

  • Amanda January 11, 2011, 1:33 am

    The ‘all or nothing’ mind set can definitely back fire! I’ve been there….. burning out taught me that you have to take it one day at a time. Missing one work out is not the end of the world, you’re trying to keep these healthy habits for life.

  • Kristy January 11, 2011, 7:44 am

    I need rainboots in my life <3

  • nysoonergirl January 11, 2011, 9:38 am

    Your response to Emily hit the nail on the head. As a teen, I would avoid cleaning my room because I couldn’t do it halfway. If I was going to clean it, I had to dust, vacuum, put everything away, etc. I couldn’t just do one part of it. It was definitely all or nothing. Unfortunately that spilled over to my health too. The only thing that finally curbed that for me was something I learned here on healthy living blogs… Just because I didn’t feel like working out today doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t tomorrow… Or tonight!

  • Michelle @ six-oh-one January 14, 2011, 2:52 pm

    I really like your response to Emily’s question – great suggestions. I feel like I have been in the all-or-nothing mentality so many times. It really takes consistent effort and baby steps to get over it, but it’s worth it in the end!

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