I've mentioned several times now that I know what works for me, and I have the bits and pieces that I track in a few places, but I figured that it was time to put it all in one place since I get the occasional question about 'what I do'.
I have a 5 pronged approach that I've really honed down over the last 6-9 months that, when I do all 5 consistently, it's all green flags all the time. I may not see the actual results on the scale or my body, but those things matter less because I know I'm doing what I need to do for me to feel my best, keep myself on track, keep myself sane(-ish) and moving forward.
Keep in mind it's taken about 3 years to really get these things nailed down and habits built... I would implement small changes here and there when I saw the value in them, and got rid of things that weren't working.
The awesome thing is, that since success is a 2-5 year process, so I'm over 1/2 way there! Whoo hoo!
So here you have the LadyRose/Firecracker Plan For Success...
1) Mental training
This one was added a little later in the game but has moved to the forefront because I honestly believe that, if you work on developing your SELF, your BODY will follow. And like eating: good things in = good things out.
I regularly listen to motivating podcasts - usually relating to fitness (like Tom Venuto interviews/success stories, Jonathon Roche's No Excuse Workout radio show and occasionally Jillian Michaels', when I'm in a good enough mood ;) - but also CD's by my hubby's Coach John Di Lemme.
I also have been reading a lot more motivating books - most of them business oriented but it's easy to see the application in all aspects of my life.
It includes journalling to work through various issues that crop up in my life, and help me work through them so they're only speed bumps instead of roadblocks.
AND I read my affirmations and goals sometimes several times a day. Remember that picture of my mirror? Yep, still have them up, some of them are revised, but I have them in plain sight so I am constantly reminded to keep myself focused on the bigger prize!
2) Nutrition Training
This is what I started with a few years back. I knew that I wasn't ready to exercise at that point, and if I didn't eat well, I wouldn't be able to do much exercise wise anyway. Once I did start exercising, it really drove home Tom V's point of: You can't out train a bad diet.
Think about this: You eat 3-6 times a day, every day. YOu generally work out 1x a day, maybe 3-5 days a week. So you have 3-5 workouts/week vs. 21-42 meals/week... Which one should you be giving the most thought and attention to?
Food wise, here's what works best for me:
A-1) 80-90% compliance to the way of eating that works best for me. That allows for 'life' to happen or pizza & beer nights to be enjoyed, or eating out with friends/family/holidays so they can be celebrations, not occasions for stress. (Ok, the family gatherings _might_ still be stressful. LOL!)
A-2) Eat REAL food. There's very little processed anything in my diet these days. If I don't prepare it myself, I do my darndest to make sure I can identify all the ingredients in it. I cook at home nearly every night (some weeks it is every night) and take leftovers for lunch. I enjoy cooking, even if it's just for me
B) Get 6-8 servings of fruit/veggies a day, with 2-4 of those being raw/whole food. This keeps my fiber intake up which is a good thing. ;)
C) I don't pay attention as much to my macronutrient ratios anymore but I keep my protein up, and I keep my grain intake down to 2-3 servings a day. The rest of my carbs come from veggie sources. As long as I keep my animal protein from lean sources, and my fats are usually from plant based sources, all is right with the world. :)
D) Planning!!! I subscribe to the Menu Mailer from <link>www.savingdinner.com </link> and love it - LeAnne does all the planning an list making for me. I just need to make sure that I set myself up for success at the beginning of the week by shopping and doing what prep I can to make the rest of the week easy-peasy.
3) Cardio Training
This used to be my fun one, my go to exercise, but lately it's slipped down the scale. I've recently discovered that I enjoy jogging, which has helped keep things interesting. My body responds really well to HIIT workouts and I get a good rush from the sweat therapy it gives me. Of late, however, my just cardio workouts have dropped to 1-2 a week.
4) Strength Training
THIS has been my new love! I love the feeling that strength training gives me, not to mention the results! Once I really focused on this, I started getting the results I wanted.
I also got the biggest complement from my Trainer during one of my last workouts with him. After looking over my 'chart' of exercises & weights used, he smirked and said, "Wow! You're my strongest female client. I love it!" I understand the value of lifting as heavy as possible and am constantly working to overcome my self imposed strength limitations.
My weekly workout (planned out at least a week in advance ;) includes 3-4 days of strength training, and generally incorporates cardio into it. Talk about serious sweat therapy! :)
5) Daily Accountability
Again, this is a relatively new addition. I've been taking the principles of Tom V's real time transformation contest and tracking my daily action steps, including taking a photograph of myself every day. It's a pain, but it's interesting to see the real-time effects of eating 'off' my nutrition plan, and how quickly those effects can disappear. :)
On one of my groups I'm setting weekly goals for fitness and nutrition, tracking those daily. It's great to see the weeks that I hit it 90-100% of the time, and usually those are the weeks that I feel best overall.
Thing is, even if I don't do well, I still post it. There's something about having to be accountable to myself and to other people (even if they don't really care ;) that helps me stay just a little bit more on track, and take that extra little step to get me a little closer to my goals. I may not always hit my target, but at least I'm aiming at it.
And there you have it! Basically, it's a pretty simple plan... and looking at it, *I* am amazed at it... Making the decision to do it was simple.
Making it happen every day was more challenging. I have to say the biggest turning point for me was having a compelling goal to work towards, and continually finding the Next Great Thing to grow into.
Is it easy now that I've gotten going? I'll leave you with this quote from my awesomely amazing friend's page to answer that :
"When you act without thinking, you don't make the decision, the decision makes you.
Being fat is hard.
Losing weight is hard.
Maintaining weight is hard.
The more you invest of yourself, the harder it is to surrender. In which of the above are you most invested?
CHOOSE YOUR 'HARD'!"