A New Year, A New Spreadsheet, And 2 New PRs!

I only added a couple new habits to my list this month, so today should have felt like any other day, and not like a whole new year. However, I’ve been out of my usual routine, due to my husband’s injury, and our entire family including myself getting sick while I was on vacation from work . So today felt almost like I was starting something new, even though I was just getting back to my normal routine.

Today I tested my maximums in the back squat, shoulder press, and deadlift, because that’s what the rest of the CrossFit box had done this week while I was out sick. I didn’t want to be left out of the barbell fun.

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Seasonal Challenges: Motivation and Sleep

It’s almost the end of October and fall is pretty solidly here. It’s my favorite season. I love everything about New England fall. The colors, the outfits, the leaves, the weather, the hot drinks, the squash and apples, the holidays.

I wrote a post this summer and talked about how establishing my walking habit in the summer took more effort to get going…until I realized how  my dislike of walking in bright sun on hot days was A Major Factor That Was Stopping Me. This time of year, I have NO trouble with walking often. Walking on trails in New England in the fall is pure heaven. I wish I could live in a place with perpetual fall.

As much as I love fall though, I’ve noticed that changing seasons can bring new challenges as far as sticking with my healthy habits. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it just requires some flexibility and openness to changing up my routine a bit.

First, since I lift on my porch most of the time, I’ve changed the time of day that I train. I’m lucky enough to have that option, since I am home with kiddo two days per week, and that’s when I lift (plus the weekend).  Now that the mornings are colder, I’ve started lifting in the afternoons more often after the temperature has warmed up. Kiddo usually plays outside while I do that.

However, afternoon workouts bring their own “challenges,” mostly of the motivational ilk. I’m noticing that motivation levels are NOT the same in the morning vs. the afternoon! I can definitely see why many people prefer to work out in the morning. After running around with a 3 year old for most of the day, I usually don’t feel like doing anything other than lying on the couch.

One of the things that gets me up off the couch anyway is the fact that I have a training schedule that my coach writes for me. I get a little antsy knowing that if I skip a day, it will throw the schedule off. So, it’s less a question of “am I going to lift today?” and more of a question of “how long until I get up off the couch and lift today?” That helps. If I didn’t have a program and was just doing whatever I felt like, maybe it would be easier to skip.

Once I am up off the couch and out on the porch gym, I find music helps. For morning workouts I preferred silence, but for the afternoons when motivation and energy are low, music helps me with both those things.

The other big challenge I am noticing with sticking with my habit goals this fall, is that fall TV shows are back on. Between that, and the fact that I’ve let myself get sucked into binge watching episodes of my favorite TV show that is no longer on, my Hulu Plus account is getting a lot of play. At night after kiddo is asleep.

My habit goal of going to sleep before 10pm is suffering hard, after I was doing great with it for months. My TV watching at night is interfering with my energy levels and my mood. I’m a lot more tired and impatient and it doesn’t feel good.

One question I have in my mind is “I don’t skip sleep to work out, because sleep is important to me and my health. So, why am I skipping sleep to watch TV?” I’m thinking about adding another habit goal to the list to help me with this….something like “watch one TV show or less most nights.” I’ll be back with more details about that once I figure it out.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! If you have any tips for sticking to healthy habits when motivation is lower, or for getting to bed when you’d rather watch TV, I’d love to hear them!


Changing Weather, Changing Options, Changing Strategies

This will be another boring post, unless you enjoy reading my inner monologue about what goes into developing and maintaining certain habits.

In a previous post, I wrote about how we can have some developmental stumbles while forming new habits.  Today, I’m realizing that seasonal changes can pose new obstacles too. I’ve written quite a bit about the process of developing a walking habit again.  Last month, I wrote about some of the specific things I needed to do in order to make this a habit (and when I say *I*, I mean “me, personally.” Other people may have different needs and circumstances to address).

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Insomniac Weekend Update: Walking Slowly and Taking Breaks

I have had trouble sleeping this past week, and tonight is no exception. Since my body doesn’t seem to want to sleep, I am taking a break from sleeping to check in.

I’m feeling better than I did last week, but I still have some anxiety going on. Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night I process feelings and have trouble going back to sleep.

Despite difficult feelings, I’ve had a pretty easy time sticking with my habit goals. I love the fall weather, which is making it easy and enjoyable for me to get walking in. I’ve taken 2 trail walks with kiddo this week, and today I walked to the grocery store with kiddo (30+ pounds) on my back, and then pushed the stroller full of groceries and kiddo home (probably 70-90 lbs total).

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Inspiration: Try Something Tuesday (or any day)!

If you participate in any online health, fitness, or sports-related groups, you may be familiar with “Transformation Tuesday.” Group members often post “before and after” pictures, which tend to get tons of “likes” and congratulatory comments. I’ve seen some discussion that some people feel discouraged when they see these. Others find them motivating.  Others don’t like them because they find them overly focused on appearance and under-ly focused on the process and how sustainable the change is.  Others find them triggering of eating disordered behavior. I’m sure people have other opinions too. In fact, having an opinion about people posting pics on the internet probably means you are winning at life in general and don’t have bigger fish to fry. Go you! Or not. It’s totally okay NOT to have an opinion on Transformation Tuesday pics. This probably means you have bigger priorities in life in general and are winning at life, too.

My opinion? They are some of my least favorite posts I see in some of my favorite online groups. I don’t find them triggering from a disordered eating standpoint, but I do think they probably give false hope for many people. I think they put a more of an emphasis on looks and less on health, since you can’t always tell a person’s health by looking at them. They don’t bother me to the point where I would leave a group over it, but I wouldn’t miss them at all if they disappeared.

So, I was ecstatic this week on Tuesday morning, when one of my favorite groups on the internet decided to make them disappear. And the way they did it was just….so positive. Instead of issuing a “NEW RULE!!!! ALL TRANSFORMATION TUESDAY POSTS ARE NOW BANNED BECAUSE THEY MIGHT OFFEND SOMEBODY,” the moderators announced that they would be retiring “Transformation Tuesday” and replacing it with something amazing: Try Something Tuesday!

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Turning Back the Clock: Bringing Back an Old Habit

I am in my 30s, as are many of my friends. It seems like a common experience that some of us feel nostalgic for our younger bodies. We would appreciate them so much more, we think (never mind that we hated our bodies back in high school too….). We wish for the energy we had when we were younger and could stay out late all the time.

Of course, getting a past version of ourselves back is impossible. Even putting aging aside, so many of our environmental conditions and habits have changed.  The hormonal climates of our bodies are different. We have different habits, different pressures, different responsibilities, different perspectives, and different values.

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