I confess. Since I turned 40, I've relaxed my diet and exercise regimen a bit. It all started innocently enough. I was celebrating! After all, I earned it. The months and weeks leading up to my birthday I had been extremely disciplined. I didn't want to step on the scale on my fortieth birthday and gasp in horror. Instead, I wanted to step on the scale and smile smugly.
Then, came my birthday and the appropriate celebration that accompanied. Having a May birthday, my celebration easily spilled over into the summer with ice cream and slurpees and precious few trips to the gym.
Everyone deserves a treat now and then, right? Of course! Here's the hitch: my birthday was a YEAR AND A HALF AGO! Yikes. So, you see the problem. The celebration attitude continued far beyond the occasion itself.
Any financial planner or environmentalist ;) will tell you that little actions add up over time to give significant results; be it pennies you're saving or cans you're recycling. Unfortunately for me, the same is true for diet and exercise. Those "harmless" snacks, the glass of wine or rich dessert add up to a lot more extra calories than you may realize. The same goes for exercise. Consistency pays off. Working out once or twice a week is better than nothing but, when that once or twice a week gets pushed aside for any and all reasons that might come your way, the benefits of exercise are hardly noticeable.
Personally, I've been phoning in my exercise routine since I turned 40, which any woman over 40 will tell you is the exact WRONG time to slack off. My metabolism is no longer my best friend. As suddenly as the reading glasses have appeared in my purse, my body has decided to make me work extra hard to see the same results.
So, I'm issuing a penalty of "Excessive Celebration" to myself and am now restarting the series. I am getting back to more regular and intense exercise patterns, drinking plenty of water, eating my fruits and veggies and have started showing more self-control over my sugar cravings. Despite my penalty, I can still win this game. Unfortunately it's no longer 1st and 10. Now, it's more like 3rd and 12.
If you're in the same boat as I am, you may need help changing your habits. One great resource for health and fitness information is the Live Strong website. Here, you can find diet and exercise tips to inspire you. My favorite feature of this site is "My Plate" that helps you set a calorie goal based upon your age, height, and weight. Then you can track your food intake and exercise to help you stay focused on your goal whether it's to lose weight, maintain it or gain it. There are also smartphone apps that you can use to track your food intake. I use Calorie Counter for Droid. I'm always surprised by how many calories I waste without even thinking about it.
When it comes to exercise, I probably shouldn't be preaching. Actually, my husband should write this section for me! But, I have learned a few things over the years. First is give yourself credit for showing up. Any workout, even a bad one, is better than sitting on the couch and eating chips. The second thing that I've learned about myself is that I need to go to exercise classes. Why? Because I will NOT push myself to workout harder if I'm on my own. When I go to a class, I do what I'm told. I don't think about it, I just follow instructions. That's what works for me.
What works for you?