40 days until 2022

Saturday marked 40 days until 2022, which also meant it was check-in day. I weighed in at 152 pounds, 3 pounds less than my starting weight of 155, with an overall loss of 2 inches.

The progress made this week was the result of consistency. Personally, I find that I have the best results when I create a structured routine that allows me to remain persistent day after day.

How does someone create a consistent routine that allows them to remain focused? You plan out your days in advance. I like to make time every Sunday to sit down with my planner and schedule out my week. Sure there are appointments or tasks that occasionally arise and throw things off a bit, but the general layout of the day allows me to get in the things that are considered most important to help me reach my goals.

For example, I know that my morning routine is extremely important in regards to how I begin each day. When I don’t make time in the morning to read and/or journal, perform my skincare routine, have a cup of coffee in silence with my thoughts, meditate and pray, then I feel as if my whole day is somewhat out of order. For someone else this may look completely different, but as long as you begin the day with something that allows you to get your head in the right place, the rest of the day seems to flow a bit smoother.

Also, I know from experience over the years that I workout best in the mornings when I have the most energy. I find that my mind is free of clutter so I can focus on the task at hand, whereas, if I workout in the afternoon I tend to fatigue quicker and my mind seems to wander a bit more through the scenarios of the day. Because I know this already, I make certain that I don’t schedule appointments until after my designated workout time, and this ensures that I get my workout in early in the day.

In regards to remaining consistent with my nutrition, again, it’s all about planning in advance. I make time 2 days each week to meal prep. I don’t necessarily create the entire meal at once (although that is a great approach too), but I do cook up proteins in advance, chop vegetables, make smoothies, and have a general idea of what I will be eating each day. This little bit of extra effort each week ensures that I stay on track by making things easier when it comes time to prep a meal.

In the end, not every day can be pre-planned and laid out exactly as you wish. For instance, Saturday some of our friends called and wanted to meet up for the day. We went to a little restaurant on the water and had a couple of cocktails and in the evening I had a slice of pizza. This wasn’t scheduled into my weekly planner, but I do allow myself some flexibility on the weekends so I can still enjoy the little things.

What about the holidays coming up, going out of town, being away from the gym, and sweet potato pie rearing is sugary head? You do the best you can, and just like anything else, you plan in advance. If I know I’m traveling and will be on the road for several hours, I pack a lunch and make certain that I have a few healthy snack options. I know from experience that the roads traveled from Florida to my mom’s in Alabama don’t offer the most nutritious stops along the way, and even the pit stops and convenient stores seem to cater to the obesity epidemic in America. I also write out workouts in advance that I can perform using only my bodyweight, or I pack a couple of bands and a set of dumbbells for some added resistance. When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, I will treat this day as if it were my flexible day. I will enjoy a serving of anything my heart desires, and then the next morning, I will fall right back into my normal routine.

Overall, the key is consistency. Often times, we will allow a small indulgence to turn into an all-weekend free for all, and this is particularly true this time of year. A reoccurring pattern that I have seen over time is people will get into a “screw it” mentality and overindulge all the way until the new year. The thought process is, “beginning January 1st I will hit it hard and get into a healthy routine.” This way of thinking almost always leads to weight gain, followed with over-restriction at the new year, and ultimately metabolic disturbances that prevent goals from ever being reached throughout the year.

If you can create consistency day after day, it will eventually become a habitual pattern that will overall lead to a more-balanced lifestyle. Ultimately, that’s what we should all be striving for (at least that has been my ultimate goal over the years), to create balance that allows me to enjoy some simple pleasures in life while still working on reaching my goals.

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