By: Charla Puccino
The alarm goes off. You hit snooze (twice) yet still struggle to get out of bed. You walk zombie-like to the kitchen where you prepare your morning coffee, then get yourself ready for work at as slow of a pace as is acceptable. This is the morning hustle you’ve grown accustom to for the past several years.
On this particular day you actually have a few extra minutes to spare after your morning routine, so you decide to enjoy a few sips of coffee and scroll through Facebook before hitting the road. As you take a breath and begin to admire the lives of others, Facebook slaps you in the face by asking if you’d like to share a memory you posted nearly a decade ago. The photo was taken while you were enjoying Spring Break with friends in the Bahamas. You can still remember exactly how the warm, white, powdery sand felt between your toes as you strolled along the shore without a single care in the world. After deciding to share the memory, you realize you just shared a photo of a person you hardly recognize.
Before leaving the house you take one last glimpse of yourself in the hallway mirror, sigh and ask, “What happened? How did I gain so much weight and why do I feel so frumpy?”
The answer to that question is simple to understand, yet hard to avoid. Life happened! Careers, kids, and car pools took priority over Caribbean getaways, CrossFit, and cocktails on the beach.
It may seem nearly impossible to look, and feel as good as you did years ago if you can’t even manage to find time to put on matching socks, but it is possible!
By following the below steps you’ll be well on your way towards actually feeling good about the reflection in the mirror.
Step One: Stop making excuses!
Don’t use lack of time as an excuse to avoid the problem. There is always time to work towards a goal that will make you a better version of yourself. Even just setting your alarm for ten minutes earlier than normal to do 10 squats, 10 push-ups, and 10 crunches after waking up will increase your heart rate and therefore burn fat. And, once you’ve worked up the strength to do 10 reps of each exercise, try for 20.
What do you do for your lunch break every day? That hour off work every day is a fantastic time to schedule some exercise such as walking, taking a yoga class, or even something more cardio-intensive (as long as you have access to a shower). Not only does that take advantage of an hour you usually spend sitting down, it also can make you more focused during the remainder of your workday. And, before long, some of your co-workers may even join in, making you a new trend setter!
Step Two: Don’t set unachievable goals
Rather than setting one long term goal (for example to lose 50 pounds by the end of the summer by cutting out all carbs), instead set small daily, weekly, and/or monthly goals. Smalls goals can consist of opting out of ordering a greasy, buttery Oh So GOOOD breakfast sandwich and trying something with more nutritional value like a (sugar-free) yogurt with fruit, low-sugar oatmeal, or eggs with no cheese. Another small goal may be to do that lunch-break workout/exercise routine at least once a week, then increase the frequency of the exercise over time. Reaching the attainable goals that you set for yourself will increase your ability to believe you can make positive, healthy changes in your life, and overcome obstacles.
Step 3: Make exercise fun
Incorporate exercise into activities you enjoy. If you have a dog, take it for a walk before or after work. Even if it is a short walk around the block it is still a walk, and considered a form of exercise for both you and the dog. If you have a friend with the same exercise goals as you, call him/her up and see if they would become your weekly exercise buddy. This is a great way to bond with your friend as well as incorporate exercise into your life. If you have children, take them outside to pass the baseball, jump rope, or ride a bike. These are all great and fun ways to burn calories as well as make memories with your family.
Step 4: Believe you are worth it
Try not to let your guilt get the best of you. It’s okay to spend time on yourself and your well-being, especially if it will contribute towards the process of creating a happier, healthier version of yourself. Your positive body image will radiate. Your friends and family will see you striving towards a healthier lifestyle, and they will be inspired and motivated to do the same.
Once you’ve tackled these four steps you will feel so much more productive and positive about yourself. Memories of the past will no longer haunt you and instead they will help you to see how much you’ve accomplished, how much you’ve grown, and how far you’ve come.