Just When Things Were Going Well…
So you were going along really well and had finally made some good breakthroughs in your fitness. And then suddenly a few hiccups, a few bumps in the road and you’re off the fitness “wagon”.
I think it’s amazing how quickly we can become unstuck. This is where I’ve found myself this week after several late nights, increased alcohol and many poor food choices. All these adverse health choices have had a domino effect on my running plans. Several sleep-ins have meant missed runs but more importantly my early morning ocean swim which sets my whole day up for success.
I slept in this morning. Again. I’m sitting here writing this and feeling rather “under the weather”. And I know if I had of just got up as usual and jumped into that amazing chilly Atlantic ocean I would be feeling a million times better. Best “big” weekend cure right there.
So my 19 year old daughter is here visiting and naturally we have been doing the tourist thing. We arrived back home quite late yesterday after a big walking tour of Lisbon and a late Saturday night there (with several drinks involved). It has been a wonderful time and I wouldn’t change it for the world. But it does make me realise how quickly a few changes can lead to a new routine or new “normal”. More food (more “junk” food), more alcohol, less sleep and far less activity. Just a week of it and I already feel rather awful. More sluggish, more “soft”, more bags under the eyes and far less motivation!
I think we tend to get into a mindset where we think “Oh well, I’m so far off track now it’s pointless anyway”. We allow ourselves to give up in a way. It’s like it took so much effort to create a good routine and then so little for it to go by the wayside so what’s the point?
Well there is a point. And it all comes down to the mind. Everything starts with the mind and the what we tell ourselves. It just has to be a shift, the tiniest of shifts in our thinking to course correct again.
Because really our journey in fitness is a lifelong one and will always require continuous shifts and tweaks as we go along. Even when we are going along super smoothly we might just want to change it up and make the journey a bit different or bit more exciting.
If we can just be aware that it doesn’t have to be a huge change or a huge process then it can help us to just get on with it.
I’ve mentioned the word reset before. I love it. Not only do I feel it is a legitimate thing but I can also use it like a placebo on my mind to “trick’ myself into getting back on track. So I’ve had a few days of treating my body less than ideally. That was then and today is a new day.
Our bodies are amazing and are constantly turning over new cells and renewing. Just as a few poor choices have put me in a place of feeling less than optimal, so to can a few positive changes put me back in the game. I’ll wake up tomorrow, jump into that freezing ocean, come home and whip up a spinach & banana smoothie and voila! We’re back baby!! Okay maybe not quite but well on the way, and more importantly the mindset is back where it needs to be.
The other thing I like to do is add in small and easily accomplished exercises throughout the day. I’m not going to fit in a hardcore session at the gym but I can do 15 squats while I reheat my coffee in the microwave, or while the kettle boils. I can do 20 side raises and 50 crunches before I get out of bed in the morning (like 5 mins, really). I can take the detour back from the ocean swim to include those set of 8 x 12 stairs (man they are a killer – but how good does it feel at the top!) I can hang the washing out and bang out 10 incline push-ups off the deck railing in about 20 seconds.
All these little things add up and are super easy to sneak into the daily routine. More importantly the positive mental tally is continuing to gain momentum!
The Leaking Bucket
I was recently told about the “leaking bucket theory”. I like this idea – that our fitness is like a bucket of water but it has holes in it so it has to be continually “topped up”. When we’re not topping it up with water it’s going down faster. Think of those little sneaky exercises, they are only little cups but they are adding to the bucket! Every bit helps.
Ultimately it’s all about balance. When I think about my life experience and what I’ve learnt so far I am always brought back to this. Just like our bodies that are constantly working at maintaining homeostasis and equilibrium, our life requires balance in all the pulling forces upon it (family, fitness, work, play).
When we focus in too much in one area we will find another area is lacking. When the body has too little or too much of something it ultimately leads to disease if left unchecked. Finding our balance between family, fitness, work and play is not always easy. It will always require tweaking, reassessment of what’s important and course correction for our overall well being.
The main thing is not to be too hard on yourself. Get back up, get back on the wagon, make those small changes. Mostly allow yourself the realisation or the “shift” to keep moving forward. Remember what you’re doing it for and how good it makes you feel. Don’t let a few bumps in the road affect your journey, because it’s all about the journey right?