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Exercise Journals Can Provided Motivation and Inspiration

SLide_25I keep an exercise journal, especially when I am training for a new adventure. Eleven weeks ago, just after my thirty-ninth birthday I jumped back into a vigorous training schedule for one of the biggest physical challenges I have taken on.

On August 30th after a summer hiatus to allow my knee some time to heal I reentered the training program that Olympic runner Jeff Galloway designed for folks talking on the runDisney Dopey Challenge. The Dopey Challenge is a four-day running event that takes place at Walt Disney World where you run a 5k (3.1 Miles) on Thursday, a 10k (6.2 Miles) o Friday, a half marathon (13.1 Miles) on Saturday and a full marathon (26.2 Miles) on Sunday for a grand total of 48.6 Miles over the four-day event.

Some people would say that you had to be Dopey to take on a challenge like this. I’ll reserve my opinion on that for the blog I write after I complete it and let you know what I think then.

Since I’d kept my cardio endurance levels up through the summer by spending time on an elliptical and riding a bike jumping back into that training program on at the end of August with a 9 Mile run was surprisingly easy for me. I made a few rookie running mistakes, like forgetting sunblock and not eating before I left. Silly things that an experienced runner and fitness instructor like myself should know better than to do. But when you get out of practice and out of your routine it’s easy to forget some of the little things.

Back to the point…my exercise journal from that first day

“9 Miles, 15k, First long run of the season. Knee OK. Lots of newbie mistakes though!”

My mileage has just kept going up from there. There have been a few entries where you could tell that I was struggling.

“Having a hard time not doing cardio on OFF days but sticking to the plan. Glad I have my classes to keep me distracted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays that I’m not doing runs.” 9/02

“Took the day of since my heels are still so hurting so bad. Figure today’s 45 min run isn’t worth jeopardizing this weekends 15 Mile run with soreness or additional blisters. Hopefully a good choice.” 10/01

“The stress of trying to figure out what I am going to do about the Dopey Challenge is really starting to get to me. I’m not sure that A) I can even afford to go to Disney World for as long as I need to do this event or B) That my body can handle it.” 10/05

About this time I saw a Podiatrist and started a routine that would help alleviate the pain I was experiencing in my ankles. I made the decision to stop trying to do all the exercises with my classes while training for this very challenging event. I decided that instead of trying to do everything and feeling like I wasn’t doing anything well, I’d start focusing on just trying to make sure that my training schedule became the most important part of my fitness routine.

JPBullCityI started making sure I designed classes for my students that didn’t require me to do all the exercises with them while still making sure that they got a challenging enough workout.

I also start taking my interval times down as my mileage started going up. I was so sore and had such a hard time recovering from the 9 Minutes / 1 Minutes that I started going back down to my old fall back of 4 Minutes / 1 Minute — then I started playing with 3 Minutes / 1 Minutes and finally 2 Minutes / 1 Minute.

I ran my 17 Mile run in Raleigh, NC at the Bull City Race Fest putting in 4 Miles before the start, running 3 Miles with my one of my best friends, Jeff Newell from Defying Obesity running 2 Minutes and walking 1 Minute and was amazed when I got to the finish line and didn’t feel like I was going to pass out! I even came home with some steam left in me!

I love being able to go back and look at my journal entries and see how much the changes affected by performance and my state of mind.

“My 45 minute runs on Tuesday and Thursday seem to be getting easier! Maybe because I’m not killing myself everyday and giving my body more time to rest and recover than I was.” 10/26

“Ran 10 Miles with Ronda instead of my 6 today. Happy Halloween to me! We were fast! Finished just before dark.” 10/31

Just a couple of weeks ago I completed my longest run to date of 20 Miles. My friend Ronda ran the first 13.1 Miles with me and once again I surprised myself. When I had finished the 20 Miles I found myself thinking “I could run another 6.2 Miles and do a Marathon, if there was a medal waiting for me.” Once again, I didn’t feel like I was going to die or that I had pushed my body farther than it could go.

Keeping an exercise journal helps me feel accomplished. It helps me stay on track, helps me keep up with my training schedule and helps me hold myself accountable for the training that I need to do in order to make sure that my body is capable of the task that I am challenging it to do.

But it also helps me look back and see what I am doing right and how the changes I make either positively or negatively impact my training.

My blog has worked the same way. There are a lot of days when I go back and read a blog post about what I was doing in the gym way back when and it makes me smile and feel so accomplished when I compare it to what I can do now.

No matter where you are in your weight loss journey I recommend keeping an exercise journal. Jot down what you’re doing and how it is making you feel and hold on to it. Sometimes just going back and reviewing it can help provide the incentive and motivation you need to get back on track or get that workout that you’re debating in for the day. DSSPostSig

 Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

Barriers in your Wellness path Do NOT Translate to – THE END

 

107672563As a Bariatric Fitness enthusiast and Motivational Coach I find that often time’s people who talk to me about their weight loss journey usually have some sort of barrier in their way when it comes to their current wellness path.

Before we get too far ahead let‘s talk about your wellness path. A wellness path is one of the most effective starting tools I have found in helping other people realize where they currently are in their own wellness journey and most importantly, where they want to be.  A wellness path is a never-ending journey. It begins the moment you want it to and it is a constant work in progress. When we talk about wellness, we’re no longer talking about one aspect of our health we’re not talking about just nutrition, or just exercise; Nope, we’re talking about the whole kit and caboodle. (I had those when I was a kid did you?)

When we talk about wellness it encompasses everything, the physical, mental, spiritual and social-emotional aspects of your currently lifestyle choices, situations and influences. When we start thinking about Wellness, I have found that the easiest place to start is with where you want you are. Find a relaxing environment and spend a little time thinking about your current Wellness path. What are you currently physical activity levels like? What are you current eating habits like? Is there a lot of stress in your life, do you make the time to relax and find mental clarity? Do you surround yourself with people who follow the 4H – Rule? (Do they help you, hinder you, heal you or hurt you?)

Once you have done this the fun part begins – establishing where you want to be. I like to do this exercise in a hot bubble bath with a cup of coffee and a good “For fun reading only” book next to me for when I am done. Personally I like to scoot all the way down in the tub, feeling warm and an embraced by soothing fragranced suds like lavender or sage. Then I close my eyes and I envision that wellness bath again…. This vision should illustrate how you wish to be living your life.

143921332I’m running down a long wooded path, dirt not paved, and there are lush green trees all around me. I’m not running fast, but I am running at a comfortable and steady pace.  Food is one of my fuels, and the choices I put into my body follow the same 4H-Rule that I follow emotionally. It either helps or heals my body rather than hindering it or hurting it. I’m not stressed out, I am calm, my life is not chaotic and there is very little drama. I’m surrounded by supportive, loving friends; I have a healthy emotional and sexual relationship. Exercise is a miracle drug for me; it’s my major coping skill. So while I am exercise an hour to an hour and a half a day 4-5 days a week consistently, I may throw in an extra work out here or there on a day I need a little emotional boost. This is my goal wellness path.

Next, we need to evaluate where we are verses where we want to be and evaluate the distance between those goals. Let’s say for example that I am in a phase where I am having a hard time maintaining my weight and I am letting those sneaky unhealthy, simplistic carbohydrates back into my diet. I might decide that I need to replace any simple carbs I eat with complex carbs instead. When accessing your wellness plan and deciding how to get where you want to be, we want to tackle one issue at a time. Identify the problem, find a proposed solution, set a S.M.A.R.T. Goal that focuses on this change and start moving towards it.

Recognize that there WILL be barriers. Barriers are the events, thoughts and feelings in your life that make regular physical activity, regular healthy eating and weight loss or weight maintenance hard for us.

Let’s say for example I am stressed out about those complex carbs I am eating. When I asked myself, “What is my biggest barrier?” my answer is; “I don’t feel like I get a lot of support at home when it comes to healthy eating.”

Now it’s time to come up with some solutions to this barrier, because every obstacle we come across is really just an opportunity for us to challenge ourselves to find a way around it. Maybe I consider looking for others that want to eat healthy, like a lunch buddy at work. Or maybe it is time to find a weight loss support group and attend a few meetings. Perhaps I want to talk to my nutritionist and get a plan and some ideas for what I can eat instead of the unhealthy carbs I’m craving.  Heck maybe I want to take a cooking class that focuses on healthy foods.

What I really want to do is make sure that I recognize my barriers and that I am not only coming up with healthier solutions or alternatives, but that I am following through with them.

110_F_46597639_k8RaReOk8MAvYdI0ZOqCmqMLNq3TExGoThat’s why it is very important to pick one aspect of your Wellness path to focus on at time and that you set a S.M.A.R.T Goal to get you there. I usually suggest that you try to identify one specific form of action that you are going to stick with, remember; keeping our promises to ourselves boosts our personal integrity and helps us grow our confidence in ourselves.

Remember a goal should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed. Often, you will usually see a little 2 by the R in S.M.A.R.T. Goal – because while it is important that your goal is realistic it is also extremely important that your goal is rewarded if you achieve it. I often use this simple fill in the black format to set my S.M.A.R.T. Goals.

Starting __________, for ____________________, I will ____________________________________, ___ Days/Week as measured by _____________________________________. If I complete this goal I will reward myself with ________________________________________.

So if I was setting a S.M.A.R.T. Goal to get past my unhealthy carb eating problem it might look like this.

Starting tomorrow, October 7th, for one week, I will replace eating pretzels and potato chips with eating fruits and vegetables, 7 days/Week as measured by my food journal. If I complete this goal I will reward myself with a new book.

Living your life paying attention to your Wellness path and setting small self-improvement goals for yourself is my opinion a necessary key in both your weight loss journey and your weight loss management (Maintenance) – If you find yourself struggling with barriers, obstacles or healthy life style decisions it might just be time to consider talking to a trained Lifestyle & Wellness Coach.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.
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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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