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January 6, 2012

Get Organized (Part Three): Health & Fitness Planning

Most of us have New Years resolutions that involve some sort of fitness goals.  I just had a baby this Thanksgiving, so I can definitely relate (2 C-sections = no ab muscles! Ow!).  You probably (or should) know by now there aren't any quick fixes, and the best advice is still: Eat Well, Move More.

I'm going to focus my fitness efforts on manageable, incremental goals. Nobody does well with a goal statement like: I'm going to weigh as much as I did in 12th grade! It's grandiose and so far in the distance it's doomed to fail.  But little goals like "I'm going to do at least 30-minutes of fitness-related physical activity 4 days a week" for the first month is totally doable.

It takes 30 days to break a bad habit (or so they say) so claiming you're going to "not eat any junk food ever" is probably not going to work for you but "every time I want junk food I'm going to drink a glass of water first" is a pretty simple starting point that will help reduce snack calorie intake.

There are resources ad nauseam about what to do to improve your eating habits and how/when/where to workout, so I'm not going to delve into all that here.  But the most common advice that I've had some success with includes:

Drink more water (both because your body needs it, and because science suggests our thirst mechanism is so weak now that we often mistake thirst for nonspecific hunger, so drinking water will reduce your snack cravings)

Write it down (writing down what you eat puts you face to face with your bad decisions later, so it holds you accountable)

Move More (it's frigid cold in Ohio winters, so taking a walk in the park is not always doable, especially with a newborn.  Even if it's low-impact indoor activity-- yoga, stability ball, calisthenics, etc. something is better than nothing even if you can't go to the gym or get as good a workout as you'd like, so don't use that as an excuse to skip physical activity altogether).

So my weekly planner incorporates those tidbits of healthy habit building.  There is a spot to tally your water intake and vitamins (girls, you need more calcium than you think, and B-vitamins help with those winter blahs!),  to write what you ate for meals and snacks (or use it as a menu planner), and to record your physical activity.  There's also a spot to write your weekly goal as a reminder, and to make notes that might be useful as you conquer bad habits (like "I always want a cookie after I have to yell at my daughter!").

Just try to keep in mind that how you feel is more important than the numbers (especially if you're developing muscle--it weighs more, think 'how do my jeans fit? instead) and to forgive yourself transgressions (better to have a slice of cheesecake or whatever your downfall than to deprive yourself until you go on a massive brownie bender later), and whatever happens, just get back on track!

Best of luck with your health and fitness goals this year!

Download the FREE PDF for the Weekly Health & Fitness Planner here.

And if you have other areas in your life that could use an organizational spruce-up, check out my free downloadable (and customizable) Weekly Spiritual Planner and my Small Business Planner.

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