If you haven’t read the incredible story that unfolded around our Dailey Method Ottawa contest, go do that right now.
It inspired us on so many levels, but left me feeling like I wanted to share my own story of how I’ve made some significant life changes recently.
I’m very fortunate to not be suffering from any injuries or hardships at the moment, but constantly struggled with finding the time to fit a workout in. I would look at my packed schedule of work (full-time job, part-time job, starting my own business, volunteer obligations + the blog AND! making time for my loved ones), and would think: there’s no way.
But there is a way and just like Kate explained in her post about balance, it’s just about finding what works for you, and then working hard at it.
I am no fitness or health expert, but the simple tricks below have gone a long way in helping me workout almost everyday. I’ve lost weight, put on muscle, have more energy, and quite honestly, haven’t felt this satisfied with life in a while. I hope it helps kick-start your own journey towards feeling better about yourself.
1) It’s a marathon, not a sprint
My previous setting of weight goals consisted of: “Shoot, I’m going to Mexico in three weeks. Time to eat only spinach and hit the gym twice a day.” <<< Ineffective. And to be honest, not at all healthy. Set goals for the distant future and then check in with yourself at certain points along the way to see what’s working and what isn’t. (In January I set goals of May 1 and July 1 and am checking in with myself on April 1, as an example.)
2) Get off the scale
I committed to being more healthy after I came back from a trip in September. I started to not like the way I looked in photos and felt it was time to make a real change. I decided to start going to the gym a minimum of 3 times a week (I’ve worked up to 6-7!) and I also stepped off the scale. I let the way my clothes fit me dictate my progress and it’s done wonders for me. I used to get soooo discouraged after eating healthy or working out hard for a week straight, only to see little change on the scale. Not taking into account water retention, increase in muscle mass, etc. etc. there’s nothing worse than feeling like your good habits are all for not. Wait for the above mentioned check-in point and stay off the scale until then.
3) Have an awesome support system
I would be in big trouble if I were to mention my main cheerleader by name, but there’s no way I would have stayed on top of my increasingly intensive workout schedule without someone pushing for me and encouraging me along the way. Whether it’s a text to wake me up when I’ve committed to a 7 a.m. workout, asking me what time my class is, or complimenting not only the visible changes but the commitment it takes to stay on top of it all, the support has been invaluable. Make sure to thank them for everything that they do.
4) Workout with friends
One of the best parts about working out at The Dailey Method Ottawa is that I am sure to see a friendly face at every class. It’s no secret that the older you get, the harder it is to make time to see everyone in your life. Working out with your besties is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. And, it also helps you stay accountable. Try giving someone who knows you better than you know yourself an excuse about why you’re not in class? They’ll call you out and get your butt there in a hurry.
5) Celebrate small victories
It’s easy to get caught up in the big numbers — on the scale, your pant size, or the amount of weights you can lift. But, try and celebrate your efforts in other ways. Maybe it’s how many times you went to the gym, or a class, this week. Maybe it’s that you were less out of breath walking up the stairs. Maybe it’s drinking the recommended two litres of water you’ve been struggling to consume in a day. Those “smaller” steps count for a lot. Give yourself gratitude.
6) Plan ahead
My cheerleader from point 3 likes to lovingly remind me that if I “fail to plan, I plan to fail”. Pack your bag the night before if you have an early class, or if you plan on going to workout at lunch, or right after work. Once your bag is in the car there’s one less excuse. Also plan ahead with meals (!!!). Remember that diet counts for 80 PER CENT of weight loss. That’s A LOT. When planning my week, I had to leave one night “free” (aka scheduled) for myself. Groceries, making healthy meals, doing laundry, getting organized. This may be the most important step of all.
Every summer I pretend that I’m going to like running. And on a couple days where I find the perfect combination of energy, enthusiasm and proper wicking apparel, I do enjoy it. But it’s not something I look forward to every day. TDM on the other hand? I get disappointed when I can’t fit a class into my schedule. It’s upbeat, it’s challenging, it’s FUN — for me. Everybody is different, but find something that makes you happy and make sure to stick with it.
8) Set mini-challenges and then tell everyone about them
If you’ve been around this blog a while, you’ll know I love challenges. Dailey Method challenge, yoga challenge, heck, I even did a CrossFit class after losing a bet recently. Perhaps it’s my oddly competitive nature, but setting a small challenge (say, 30 days?) is a great way to push yourself for a reasonable amount of time. I recently gave up ALL STARCH and fried food for Lent. It’s not easy and it’s definitely not permanent. But I’ve told all my friends, family and coworkers about it, so that they help me stay accountable. “Don’t eat the cookie, Catherine.”
9) Don’t be so hard on yourself
It’s all too easy to start comparing yourself to others, get frustrated with where you’re at, or – what I struggle with most – beat yourself up after getting off track. It’s going to happen. Life happens. If you’ve committed to bettering yourself, you need to be proud of that fact and not be hard on yourself over every hiccup. “A smooth sea never made for a skillful sailor” … amIrite? Just get back up, keep going. Be proud of yourself for your accomplishments, but be just as proud of yourself for your resilience.