Change is hard. I think that’s why I loved dieting so much. Dieting provided me a structure that made me feel as though I was changing. Sure my eating habits were different while on plan, but the moment the structure was removed, I was back to my old ways.
Change requires wanting to be different, sacrifice, and commitment. I’ve got the “wanting to be different” part down, but staying committed to the sacrifice can be hard. In theory, drinking more water, eating less, and exercising more is completely doable. Fill up my water bottle more, prepare healthy foods ahead of time, and do workouts I love… easy peasy. In an ideal world, it would be easy to accomplish those three goals, but change can be hard and days are rarely flawless.
I can’t begin to tell you the number of work days I’ve struggled to get away from my desk to refill my water bottle due to back-to-back meetings, the weekends that have ended without any meal prep, and the mornings I’ve snoozed through my alarm and missed my morning workout. It’s hard to change your habits. It’s hard to get into a new groove and to change your lifestyle.
The hope is that over time, the changes will become habit and my new normal. All I can do is stay focused on the life I want to live and the steps it’ll take to get there. I am committed to not following a diet plan, but I still want to lose a little more weight. The only way to achieve that goal is to change. If I stay the same, my weight will most likely stay the same. If I take on bad habits, my weight will most likely increase. To lose weight, I have to change my habits.
In order to live a healthier lifestyle and to lose weight, I’ve been focused on the following habits…
1. Do workouts I love
2. Drink more water
3. Eat more vegetables
4. Reduce my portions
5. Move more
6. Get enough sleep
7. Leave work at work
8. Make myself a priority
They are simple goals, but some days (many days) they’re hard to achieve. I’ve realized that all I can do is work on reaching as many of these goals as I can each day and to be proud of my accomplishments (and to learn from my failures). Here are the steps I strive to take each day in order to change.
1. Do workouts I love – Signing up for an Orange Theory membership has allowed me to do workouts I love. I sign up for 2-3 classes for the week ahead over the weekend. The night before a workout I sleep in my workout clothes (this is key for me), set out my water bottle, socks, and shoes, and set 3 alarms starting at 4:15AM. I’ve also signed up for 4 races this winter, which keep me motivated and focused. I haven’t done the best job of running in-between Orange Theory workouts, but I’m happy with the running I’m doing there.
2. Drink more water – I feel like this is the easiest habit to change but some days I really struggle. I keep two water bottles at my work desk, one in my car, and one at home. This helps but I still have to work hard to get enough water in each day.
3. Eat more vegetables – Signing up for the CSA ensured that I’d be getting new vegetables every week. I prepare vegetables ahead of time on the weekends and work to add veggies to as many of my meals and snacks as I can.
4. Reduce my portions – This is probably the hardest habit to change. You get used to portion sizes and it’s hard to change those habits. It’s tough when you’ve always had 2 eggs or a bowl of cereal in ‘that’ bowl. What would it be like if you only had one egg or to have a smaller bowl of cereal? How would you feel? This change requires attention to detail and being connected with how I feel and what I’m eating. It’s hard.
5. Move more – I sit a LOT. I mean a lot! I’m at my work desk at least 7 hours a day, sit in my car for 2-3 hours a day, and usually sit on the couch for 1-2 hours a night. I sit a lot. I wear an activity monitor to help, but this habit is really hard to change. I’ve been considering ways to sit less, including standing at my work desk, walking around the department once an hour, and watching less TV at night. Tough habit to break, but I know I can increase my steps.
6. Get enough sleep – For those who have read CCC for a few years, you know that I love to stay up late. I fully attribute the change to my sleeping habits to no longer drinking coffee. No longer do I allow the caffeine to push me to midnight. Most nights I’m literally falling asleep by 9PM, so I go to bed. Sure it would be easy to just stay up and to work, but I know how great I feel when I get enough sleep. Working out at 5AM helps too. On the days I workout at Orange Theory, I’m usually asleep by 8:30PM.
7. Leave work at work – Struggle bus. This one is tough, but I’m working on it. The reality is, you can only get so much done between 9AM and 5PM. I know the work will be there the next morning and that it’ll all get done. I’m doing better now that we’re in the thick of the semester, but I know things will get crazy again in January.
8. Make myself a priority – Neal’s and my plan to “take nights off” has been amazing. It’s so nice being able to go out with friends, to pamper myself, and to create a balanced life. I’m also committed to reading a book each month this next year and am really enjoying that quiet time. It’s hard for me to turn off all technology and to just read, but I always close the book with a clearer head and a happier heart. This takes work, but I really believe that making myself a priority makes all other change possible.
Change is hard, but I’m working on it. I know that I can’t become who I want to be without it. It just takes time and commitment.