Even as we approach the end of our eight-week training period, some habits are just hard to break. We asked our bloggers this week to share habits of their previous, less healthy lifestyles that have been the most difficult to break. Here are their answers:
From Georgeanna: Habits. We've all got them. Good ones, bad ones. Breaking the bad ones can be tough. And making new and better ones can be tough. But, taking the time to establish good habits is invaluable when getting healthy.
One of the biggest habits I broke when I was trying to get healthy was giving up diet soda. Most days, it was all I drank. It was like coffee to me in the mornings. I drank it with every meal and I had one mid-afternoon as a pick-me-up. I haven't had one in almost two years now. It feels great to make the switch to water. Water is great because it's pure, clean and helps your body flush out toxins.
The other habit I had to break was snacking after dinner. When I was losing weight, I typically had dinner between 6-7 p.m. And that was it. I wasn't allowed an evening snack and it was so hard for me! I was used to poking around the kitchen around 10 p.m. A lot of nights, when I was not taking good care of my health, I had a bowl of cereal. Which was so bad for me! Taking in all that sugar and carbs before bed was just setting me up for weight gain. Good carbs are great and healthy, when you use them to fuel your body and burn them off. But eating sugary carbs at night when I wasn't going to just turn straight into fat.
But making the change from late night snacking to shutting the kitchen down after dinner was huge for me. I don't allow myself to wander into the kitchen and see what might be there to snack on. Once dinner is done, I'm done. It's not always easy, but I can't allow myself to entertain the idea of what might be there to nibble on. I know that those are empty calories that I don't need.
Breaking the diet soda habit and breaking my snacking habit were game changers for me. Take a look at the habits you've established in your life and ask yourself what you could change to be healthier. Breaking a few small habits and replacing them with healthier behaviors can add up to a healthier you!
From Courtney: Each time I run there is a moment when I slide into an unshakeable groove. The one that makes me unstoppable. I transform into the ultimate competitor, a champion cheered on by Serena, Mo’ne and Gaby. Despite early morning dimness, red lights, doubt and lead legs, I never stop. I win on race days: Tuesdays, Thursdays and again on Saturdays. But Sundays and Mondays, I rest. And it feels so good.
Stopping—to rest an extra day, to catch my breath or even tie my sneaker—is defeat. A half-minute break in the middle of a run can kill everything and make you want to start over another day. Just one day, in which I don’t “just do it,” makes it that much more challenging to get back to my training.
Stopping and the many forms it takes on have been the hardest habits to break from my previous lifestyle. It’s so tempting to allow the rejuvenation experienced during two consecutive days of rest to turn into three, four or seven days. It would be luxurious to over-rest my body after consistently pushing my muscles to new limits week by week.
This dichotomy is what drives me and drives me crazy. I am proud of the progress and mental transformation that is activated when I leave the starting line behind. However, every champion knows that too much of the expected becomes complacency, too much faith in one’s abilities becomes pride and too much of a good thing (running or rest) becomes imbalance.
This week, I acknowledge my proclivity for inactivity. But more importantly, I also credit myself for finding the groove with each stride. I can’t stop now. My pride won’t let me quit.
From Mae: Exercise has always been a part of my life; thanks to my dad. The type of exercise has changed and evolved over the years but leading a healthy lifestyle has always been important to me. I grew up biking and running with my dad. In my early adult life I continued running. After college a friend introduced me to Pilates and I fell in love. I lost 15 pounds over the first year doing workout videos in my home. And I have been doing Pilates ever since.
I generally get up before my kids a couple times a week to do Pilates and so I can have a few minutes to myself. It has saved my sanity as a stay-at-home mother of young kids. But if truth be told, my 20 minutes of Pilates three or four times a week wasn't enough anymore; both physically and mentally. But I didn't know it until I started running again last fall. I have been amazed at the effect running has had on how I feel and how very hard it can be to make myself continue to do it.
The biggest challenges for me have been not letting other activities take priority over me running and accepting that I have to run when I can, not always when I want. As my kids are young, we don't have too many extra curricular activities at this point but there are still things that come up. I have been learning to change my mentality and make running happen not matter what. Except sickness of course. As most of your know I have been training with my kids. It is a lot of work pushing my 2 and 5 year old while running but I love how I feel and that they are seeing me make exercise a priority. When I make a goal I do almost anything to reach it and when I can't make it happen I am a tad bit devastated. I have had to accept that there are times when scheduling doesn't allow me to run with my kids, period. But when those days happen I push myself in other ways. This morning, for example, was a day I couldn't run with my kids during our normal time and I couldn't push it to tomorrow morning. So to give myself an extra challenge and I ran for 35 minutes instead of 25.
I realize that not everyone needs an extra challenge like I do sometimes, running or walking is enough. And that is okay. I just hope that what ever the barrier is to you making time to exercise, you will find creative ways to overcome it and make time for yourself!
From Kristyn: As we finish up week six, my Strong Together blogging task was to answer a pretty simple question, "What habits from your previous lifestyle have been hardest to break?” That’s actually a pretty tough question to answer because I haven’t broken any old habits (hanging head in shame). Instead, I’ve added a couple new healthy habits to the mix which has been pretty tough to do.
HYDRATE. That should be easy to do, just drink more water right? I bought one of those ginormous 32-ounce water bottles and challenged myself to fill it and drink it all two times a day. Easier said than done! That darn water bottle torments me and I now know the location of every ladies room and porta-potty on my running route. I’m not successful every day, but I do notice a huge difference in how I feel on the days I skip the water.
STRETCH. I’ve always heard that practicing yoga has tons of benefits for runners like improving flexibility and balance. So, early this year I joined the YMCA and planned to take their yoga I class a couple times a week. The problem was I’m so not flexible and was absolutely intimidated about going. We’ve all seen pictures of people twisted in different yoga poses. I really couldn’t see myself bending my head forward to gently lay on my knee! Needless to say, it took me a couple weeks and a whole bunch of excuses before I actually showed up. When I did I found a room filled with women (and a couple guys) of all ages, sizes and abilities. The first class was tough. So was the second, but I keep on going. I’ve found that I’m not as stiff after those longer runs and the head to knee forward bend thing may never happen for me, but that’s okay!
Starting a new lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to give everything up. Instead, start by adding a couple new healthy habits. Namaste!