Happy Monday, Friends! I've been writing each week about my experiments with new healthy habits because I believe habits are the key to success when pursuing any goal. Want to make big changes? Start with small sustainable actions. The more consistent we are, the more likely we will reach our goals. No matter where we are in our health, fitness and wellness journey, there is always something small we can do to improve. I'm a fitness trainer and still always looking to continue to grow and evolve by making small sustainable changes in my lifestyle.
We can learn new habits by practicing them. I've been incorporating a new habit each week while building on the previous week's habit and reporting on them here to keep myself accountable. It's important to note that most of these habits are small and sustainable. The idea is to not make your new habits too lofty, aka run 6 miles 6 days a week, cut out carbs and read one book a week. You would just be setting yourself up to fail. Try instead to set smaller achievable goals like exercise at least 15 minutes a day (OK if more, but at least 15 minutes), add a serving of green veggies to each meal and read for 20 minutes before bed instead of watching TV or scrolling social media. These are all small achievable actions that performed consistently over time can lead to big results and an overall healthier lifestyle.
I don't have any expectations that I will be perfect, do everything right or never mess up. I'm human. We mess up. I'm sure over time some habits will stick, while others will fall away. In fact, I failed on my week one habit of getting up early to work on my business, blog and/or workout, but then pulled it together for week two. It is not about perfection, it's about making small progress each week.
I'm proud to report I did much better my second week of my week one habit. We got up early 6 out of 7 days at 5:30am. It helped a lot that my husband is doing this with me. We leaned on each other to find the strength to get up early when the warm blankets were beckoning us to stay in bed. What did I learn? A support system goes a long way, whether it is a spouse, a friend, a coach, an accountability partner, a FB group or maybe just a dog that is excited to go for a walk.
Last week my goal was to log my calories every day into the MyfitnessPal app. I've been doing Cori Lefkowith's macro cycling program. It's a six week program that cycles the percentage of calories that come from protein, carbs and fats every two weeks.
For me it is an experiment to see how manipulating macros within my already healthy diet can affect my body composition. I did log every meal for seven days (win), but I didn't do so well on actually hitting the targeted macros. Maybe I'm a little too stuck in my ways, I generally eat the same things for breakfast, lunch and snacks every day and then hubby makes dinner and he decides what he wants to cook each night.
I had a hard time making changes to my usual diet because my usual diet is already healthy. My percentage of calories from fats were high and my percentage of proteins were low compared to the targets (carbs were generally spot on). I made some small changes, removed higher fat nuts & cheese sticks and added cottage cheese and lowfat Greek yogurt to raise protein, but I never quite got there.
I try to learn from these types of experiences to help me better understand my own clients. Part of me wants to say "I can't do it, Cori. I can't hit those numbers." but then I think about how when my clients tell me they can't do something and I ask them if they can't or if they won't. There is a big difference. If I want to give the program a fair shot, I have to follow the parameters of the program, not just do it my way and then declare it didn't work for me. This applies to any fitness or nutrition program in the world: It only works if you do.
I didn't buy Cori's program for nothing. I bought it because I wanted to see if manipulating macros will affect my body composition, but if I am not willing to make the changes to meet the numbers she targeted, then how will I ever know?
Now there would be nothing wrong with trying a program, making the changes and deciding that I didn't like the way it made me look, feel or perform and then going back to my old way of eating (again, already healthy). But I haven't followed it closely enough to really know. Next week I am going to plan ahead and work harder at achieving the targets, even if it means giving up my beloved morning eggs for a few weeks. (gasp!)
So while my week 2 habit was to log my calories into MyFitnessPal, my week 3 habit is going to take it a step further and work harder to adjust my daily meals to hit the prescribed marcos. Since hubby makes dinner, I will have to log my dinner first with whatever we are having and working backwards the rest of my day to make the numbers work. Let me try it, see how I feel, then decide after completing if it is something I want to continue long term. Who knows? Maybe I will love it and never look back.
Change is hard for everyone.
I'd love if you will stay tuned next week to see how it all went. If you want to choose your own new small sustainable healthy habit and build on it each week, I'd love if you would join me for accountability.
I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help.
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While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.