March 31, 2014

lifestyle change

I've heard it takes 21 days to make -- or break -- a habit. Whether or not it's true, I can report that after more than 21 days of eating well, hydrating and exercising, I feel pretty damn good.

Today marks Day 31 of a lifestyle change I've made for myself. I'm not calling it a diet, because diets eventually come to an end and they've never worked long-term for me. Rather than trying a cleanse that promises to make me a total hottie with a body, I'm going another route. What I'm doing is different. It's a major change in the way I think about food, exercise, etc. It feels different.

What does this lifestyle change look like? It means doing some form of exercise or activity every day. During week one I started with daily Pilates. In week two, I added 20- to 30-minute daily walks. In week three, I started going to the gym for 30-minute cardio workouts, still paired with Pilates. Last week, I upped my intensity. This week, I'm following a two-week cardio and weight-lifting plan from a magazine to kick-start weight-training.

I make a point to take the steps instead of the elevator at work. I get up from my desk several times a day to stretch my legs and literally stretch. (Work Pilates, anyone?) I'll go to the bathroom on a different floor to add exercise.

Being this active hasn't been easy. Most days I have to make myself false promises to get myself out the door or on the mat. But I'm doing it. The endorphins from exercising must be working. I'm smiling more. Much as I hate to admit it, everyone who says exercise makes you feel better is right. And it's not just my energy levels and attitude that feel better. My body is firming up. Like I told my sister, I still look like a lumpy sack of potatoes -- but a smaller, fitter one.

It's a similar story for what I eat and drink. I track everything I put in my body and consider what benefit it gives me. Does it have empty calories or high levels of sodium and sugar? Will this support my protein and fiber needs? Instead of salads morning, noon and night, I'm finding healthy alternatives for the foods I love. I'm eating five or six smaller meals throughout the day. I'm avoiding my impulse to binge and portioning out my food and eating slowly.

I feel better than I have in a long time. It's the clean eating. It's the endorphins. But mostly, I think it's me feeling proud of myself for setting a goal and being disciplined enough to follow through.

I've kind of kept quiet about this new project of mine. Unless you're one of my co-workers or besties -- then you've heard enough about this you're probably sick of me. But as of Day 31, I feel OK bringing it up more publicly. After years of struggling with my weight, I'm on my way.

Hopefully this dedication and positive thinking carries into the writing arena when I start Camp NaNoWriMo tomorrow. I'm excited to finish writing the book I started in November and complete the edits on my second book. Because after that, I have a fourth book on deck. It'll be a bit of a departure for me, but it's a story I realize I've wanted to tell for years. Writing it will e another kind of therapy.

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  1. Inspirational! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kudos to you for making a plan and sticking it to it! I agree with you 100% that diets set you up to fail. Much better to implement a lifestyle change instead. You know what a proponent I am of daily exercise. It is SO important for your physical and mental health. I'm so glad that you're feeling better, Laura! Keep up the good work!