I have a 2-pack!!!

Well, when I flex really hard.  And when the lighting is just right.  And if I squint my eyes just a little bit and turn my head about 30 degrees to the right.

Hey!  Don’t rain on my parade, okay?  This is significant!  I can’t remember the last time I could even remotely see any resemblance of an anything-pack! 

And yes, I have been known to spend good, quality time in front of the mirror admiring my pre-rockhard, washboard abs.  My husband just rolls his eyes when he walks by and laughs, “Oh my gosh.”

Like I said, don’t rain on my parade!  I focus on the progress.  See, a lot of people will focus on the bellyfat and arm flab (or the stick arms and pigeon legs).  They’ll look at what they don’t like and out of anger or distaste, will work out to change what they don’t like about themselves.

I have a different strategy.  I choose to focus on what I do like and the progress that I have made.  And I make fitness and nutrition about accentuating that, and allowing everything else to catch up to it.  And that applies not just to whether I like how a certain body part looks.  It applies to whether I’m happy with my energy levels, my current state of flexibility, and my ability to dance like a disco queen to a cheesy ABBA song.

Gratitude is one of the most powerful things in the universe.  Be thankful for what you have.  Focus on what you like about yourself, about the progress you have made, and you’re bound to get more of it.  If you constantly focus on what you don’t like, you’ll always overlook the progress that you are making, and you’ll always be able to find one more thing you can pick on. 

I challenge you to pick one thing you like about yourself.  Do you have nice ankles?  Or a nice, angled chin?  No matter how miniscule, pick something.  Focus on that.  Spend time in the mirror looking at it.  Yes, make your family think you’re totally vain about it! 

Have you made the slightest bit of progress since you started working out?  Dropped 2 pounds?  Do your jeans feel just a looser?  Dwell on that!  Be thankful for it, and celebrate! 

So don’t laugh at me when I shout from the rooftops that I have a 2-pack.  That 2-pack is just the beginning of more packs!

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”  — Michelangelo

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Did I mention that I stopped working out?

I went to Vegas a few weeks ago.  If you’ve read my past blog about eating healthy, you know that while I’m on vacation, all health and fitness rules pretty much go out the window.  Mind you, I try to compensate by being extremely disciplined with my nutrition and workouts during the weeks leading up to it.  I also accept the consequences and detox when I get back.

So with my Vegas trip, that was the intent.  I didn’t follow through.  Here’s what really happened:

I followed through on my pre-vacation commitment.  I stuck to my prescribed 4-times a week heavy workout with cardio intervals.  I stuck to the nutrition plan.

I followed through on my vacation commitment.  I ate burgers and fries, eight kinds of meat at a Brazilian churrasco restaurant, indulged on chocolate lava cakes, and drank way too many vodka tonics and long island ice teas.  I didn’t even bother bringing any workout clothes because I knew it wasn’t going to happen.

I got home on a Monday afternoon with every intention to clean up my act the minute the plane landed.  But we got invited for sushi that evening.  And with my sushi, I naturally ate 3 different desserts.  Who can turn down tiramisu, chocolate cheesecake and eclairs?  (mini versions, of course)  What’s one more “cheat meal”, right?

Okay, so Tuesday.  Really, Tuesday my plan was to get back on the wagon.  Shake for breakfast, pack my mid-morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack, and bring my gym clothes and recovery drink for my workout after work.  But I woke up late that morning and rushed off to work without any of it.  Felt dehydrated all day which led to a headache, came home, and crashed on the couch.

Wednesday.  Wednesday would be much better…But I plain forgot my gym bag at home, ended up working late, got home around 8 and crashed on the couch again.

So Thursday…I think you get the picture.

What happened?  What happened to my good intentions?  As James Ray says, “Good intentions, poor follow-through.”

And so it went for 2 weeks.  Every day, at the end of the day I had two choices: either 1) beat myself up for being a flake and freak out about the weight I’d gain from my non-compliance or 2) put the day behind me and start the next day over again.

What would you do?  I chose #2.  I am a firm believer that everyone does the very best they can given the person they are at that moment.  I could have beat myself up about it and freaked out about gaining weight, but decided that doing so would just put me in a worse mood than I already was, which would lead to emotional eating, high stress, and it would in turn become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Instead, I decided to note how I felt (usually lethargic and dehydrated), consciously decide that I didn’t want to feel that way the next day, and realized that tomorrow is a new day.

So it took me a couple weeks to get back on the wagon.  Looking back on it, I’m kind of glad it did.  Firstly, because sometimes if you’ve been on a rigorous fitness plan for a few weeks, it’s good to take a break.  Let your body recover.  And if you have been on a rigorous fitness plan for a while, you’ll find that you can afford to be bad for a while.  Your body can handle all those calories much better than it could before.

Secondly, I learned to be patient with myself.  I did notice the difference in my energy levels and did understand that if I kept going down this road, I would end up reverting back to my pre-working-out condition.  With that realization, I had every faith in myself that I would pick myself back up, and in turn I did.

You can’t always be perfect.  Don’t force yourself to be.  Learn from it, move on, and realize that tomorrow is a new day.

Sometimes you’re more likely to do it if it’s less convenient.

I forgot my gym clothes at home today.  Dammit. 

Here’s my routine: I throw some workout clothes, my shaker bottle, and my recovery drink mix into my gym bag before I zip out the door on my way to work.  I leave my gym bag in my trunk, and after work I head to the gym on my way home.

It would be a whole heck of a lot easier and more convenient to work out at home though.  I have all the equipment to do so (some resistance bands, a stability ball, and of course my own bodyweight), and when I lived in my old apartment, I had a pretty decent workout facility.

So my old strategy was to leave my workout clothes at home and work out when I got home…Didn’t really work.

I’ve realized that when I go through the effort of getting my clothes together the night before or the morning of, I’m much more likely to make my way to the gym at the end of the day.

Sometimes when 4PM rolls around, I catch the little devil on my shoulder saying to me, “You don’t really need to go to the gym today.  You can work out at home.”  The angel on the other shoulder then replies, “You don’t really believe that, do you?  You know you’ll get home and find a million better things to do than work out.”

I then think about the clothes in my trunk, the shaker bottle in my bag, and the recovery drink I meticulously stored in a little ziplock baggie.  The time I spent getting it all together this morning – what a waste if I just go home.

So I get my ass to the gym.

Today I’m not so lucky.  I have to play that game with the devil on my shoulder.  When I get home today, I must go straight for those gym shoes, turn on the music, and get my workout on. 

Bring it.