I am sure I don't have to tell any of you how our physical fitness affects our horsemanship and our lives in general. The biggest barrier is usually just getting started. We all have excuses to not exercise like, "I have no time", "I cannot afford it", I don't like to sweat", "I don't like to do it", etc. Well my friends, let me tell you something, you are worth it, you can do it, and exercising can very addictive and fun (really, it is true). (Please note, true "addiction" is rare, read this article, but what I mean really is that you will come to enjoy it, become focused in your journey, and actually need and want to do it to ensure that you stay on track. Once you get started, you won't want to stop. In fact, I am finding myself working out twice a day now some days (like this weekend)! However, I don't want to give any of you the impression that this is easy. It is not easy, this is a lifestyle change, it takes a lot of work and dedication, it takes motivation, and it takes support. We each have our own personal journeys and I've decided that I will share mine with my readers, my fellow horse enthusiasts, my fellow PNHrs, in hopes that it may just help someone else along the way. I am changing my lifestyle for my horses but most especially, I am doing it for me. It is okay to do something for yourself and your health should be top priority. We am not getting any younger folks! But, I plan to be much fitter, like I was when I was a teenager and in my early twenties (maybe even better). I think that my issues started in college and I ignored them until they were out of control. Then I ignored them because I was embarassed and not sure what to do, and the saga goes on and on. Anyhow, now is the time to make change, period, no excuses, JUST DO IT!
*Once the weather breaks, I plan to get a lot of activity in with the horses and the dogs. However, I will still continue to go to the gym and exercise at home with my videos. The videos I am using are Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds (several different ones), Janice Dulak Pilates for the Dressage Rider (I have not started this one yet), and Saddle-Up Training.
My Stats: Age 38, female, 5"6"
Started Lifestyle Change (Healthier Living Journey): January 9th, 2010
Here is what I am doing (changes I've made in my life):
- Weight Watchers meetings (POINTS System) Saturday mornings at 8:00am (back-up meeting is Thursday nights 5:30pm). I go to every meeting, every week, no excuses!
- Weekly menu planning Friday night with Rick (we are trying new recipes and keeping it interesting). The menu plan goes on the fridge. *Eating out is extremely limited and written into the plan. When eating out, I decide before I get there what I will eat and do to stay on track.
- Weekly grocery store list (goes along with menu planning to ensure we have everything we need for the week). One trip to the grocery store per week, on Saturdays after the Weight Watchers meeting.
- Getting in all of my daily essentials: water (minimum of 6 servings - more when exercising), veggies & fruits (minimum of 5 servings), healthy oils (two servings), lean meats (two servings), milk (using soy milk, two servings), eating whole grains and fresh-whole foods, taking vitamins/mineral supplements).
- Journal everything and calculating POINTS - food intake, exercise, and record how I am feeling, everyday, no matter what.
- Eat breakfast every day. Usually I have soy milk, fruit, and water. Sometimes a Kashi (or similiar) bar.
- Take lunch to work, no eating out (usually Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones, or left-overs, soy milk, and water).
- Limit the intake of sugar and artificial sweetners.
- Eat dinner at the table, not on the couch. Our menu plan consists of healthy meals, new recipes or revised old ones. I plate the food as if I were on Food Network, making each dinner important and beautiful as well as delicious.
- Eat snacks at the table and measure them out before eating. Never eat from the bag!
- Renewed gym membership for 1 year, attend the gym every morning, Monday-Friday, additional exercise at home at night Monday-Friday when I can, and twice a day (morning and night) on weekends when possible. *Minimum exercise rule I've made is 5 times a week Monday-Friday, 30 minutes each time. The additional exercise is desired but does not always happen.
- I work towards getting bravo stars and other stickers at the Weight Watchers meetings (like a challenge). I've also added foil stars in my journal on the days where I've exercised (one star for each time). These are silly visual things that make me happy. :)
- I posted a picture of the Hungry Monster on my fridge, on my file cabinet at work, and in my journal to remind me to analyze if I am really hungry (or perhaps just thirsty, stressed, or bored).
- I take a walk instead of eating out of stress.
- Working on positive self-talk (probably the most difficult skill for me).
- I visualize where I'd like to be (and look like) with my horse.
- I have a "before picture" that I am carrying around in my journal as a reminder of where I don't want to be.
I am very excited to share that yesterday, the start of week #5 on my journey to a better me, I've sucessfully reached my 5% weight-loss target (losing 13 pounds) and have actually exceeded that! I have lost a total of 14.6 pounds since January 9th, 2010. I plan to continue, setting 5% goals until I get to where I am feeling great and looking good. For me, smaller goals are the best as I can celebrate at each small increment until I get where I want to be. My next goal is to reach a 10% weight loss target (26 pounds lost total). I will continue to set goals in 5% increments until I am ready to set a lifetime goal. I look forward to sharing that success with you all. :)
Here is a record of how much I've lost each week.
Week 1: January 9, 2010 Started Weight Watchers, First Weigh-in
Week 2: January 16, 2010 Weigh-in Day, Lost 6.2 pounds
Week 3: January 23, 2010 Weigh-in Day, Lost 1.6 pounds, Started Exercising Regularly
Week 4: January 30, 2010 Weigh-in Day, Lost 3.8 pounds
Week 5: February 6, 2010 Weigh-in Day, Lost 3 pounds *Reached 5% Weight-loss Target
No matter your body shape, fitness level, lifestyle, etc., there is probably one thing you can identify that you could do to make you an even better you! Best wishes if you decide to make a lifestyle change. I'd say wish me luck but I've finally realized that it is not luck, it is hard work, dedication, and motivation. I am dedicated, motivated, have support (Rick, Weight Watchers, and you all) and am willing to do what it takes!
From my Weight Watchers 3 Month Journal,
"Don't trade what you want most for what you want at the moment."