7 steps to handling setbacks

I found that taking my own advice when I wrote the post “11 ways to motivate yourself” really worked (for a few days) so now it’s time to tackle my latest setback. If you read my last post, you’ll know that I was feeling guilty for missing a couple of workouts. Knowing myself as I do, I also preempted today’s complete failure. I had the time, yet not the inclination to exercise so instead of feeling sorry for myself (which I’m also doing, but that post would be a bit boring), I decided to write about getting over these setbacks and hopefully I’ll take a sip of my own medicine tomorrow.
Setbacks happen. The important thing to remember is not to dwell on them. I received some great feedback from my post, entitled “Guilt & forgiveness” posted on June 26. jmc53 advised me that it’s not what we do once in a while that matters; it’s what we do most of the time. What fantastic advice this is and it’s something to remember next time we’re feeling the guilt from a cheat meal or bad workout. Which brings me to:

Step 1: Move on – Get over it

Doing something occasionally won’t necessarily set you back. Continuing to dwell on it though, just might. As Jackie said, it’s what we do most often that matters. If you fall off the horse, you damn well get back on it!

Step 2: Plan

Planning your next workout will help you to get back on the road to success. Plan it into your diary and make a date with yourself. I read somewhere once that if you made plans with a friend, you wouldn’t cancel on them last minute, so why do that to yourself? You matter too! Get a babysitter, get up early, set reminders; just make sure that you show up. This is a you date!

Step 3: Look for the positives

Rest is a good thing. You may not have meant to skip your workout but a day or two might just do you good. Our muscles need time to repair and an extra day off will help them to heal and build towards this all important goal. That being said, try not to make it a habit.

Step 4: Reward yourself

While it’s not always good to reward yourself after every workout (we’d all be broke and probably fat, right?), if that’s what it takes to get you to move, do it! Prepare your favourite meal and put it in the slow cooker while you exercise. Buy that running belt you’ve been eyeing up. Okay, technically you’re just bribing yourself to exercise but if you’re anything like me, the knowledge of receiving your reward when you’re done might be just the ticket.

Step 5: Read blogs

There must be hundreds of these “getting over setbacks” blogs. Search for them and read how other people do it and how the professionals advise you go about it. **Disclaimer-I am not, by any stretch a professional. I’m just returning to exercise after a break of far too long and hoping to help others as I learn**

Step 6: Get yourself a cheerleader

Whether it be your 4 year old or your friend’s Grandad’s dog, knowing that someone is proud of you for getting back to it and working towards your goals will go a long way towards helping you do it in the first place. If you’re not one for the Pom Pom parade then one of your followers will more than likely cheer you on from the comfort of their own couch. I, for one, as proud of you! Keep going!

Step 7: Get a good nights sleep

Writing this post at 0014 while I can’t sleep (because I had a monster nap this afternoon) might be a little hypocritical of me but when you get a good sleep, you have a better perspective. You’re more likely to be rational and logical about how to go about exercising today than you would be if you’d spent all night writing blogs and checking Facebook (take note, Sophie).

Love & Sunshine,

Soph! xx

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Guilt & Forgiveness

Oh, the guilt! You know where this is going, right? Yes, I missed a workout. Well, technically I missed two.

Yesterday, I was supposed to get up and do my Jillian Michaels workout before my day out. I went to a concert with my friend (Celine Dion – AMAZING!) and we had planned to have some food and a couple of cocktails. I got up late so I was starting the day feeling guilty as I didn’t have time to work out. I did however, manage the cocktails (more than a couple) and food. As the cocktails started to wear off, the guilt rose. Not only had I skipped a workout but I had consumed a stupid amount of calories that needed burning off. I wasn’t happy with myself but I kept thinking that I could forgive myself as long as I did a run today. When I climbed into bed at 2am, I realised that wasn’t going to happen.

There begins day two of the guilt. Today was our college leaving do so again, it was good and cocktails. Many more cocktails were consumed and around half way through the day, I wanted to cry. All the hard work I’ve done to get back into fitness and I’ve screwed it all up for the sake of a few (dozen) cocktails. So I did the sensible thing and walked the 7 1/2 miles home to burn it off and ease some of the guilt. Clever! Well done Soph 🙄 dick!

As I’m climbing into bed, I’m having a difficult time forgiving myself for missing the workouts. I think if I had exercised, I wouldn’t have such a hard time forgiving the food and drinks as we still have to have a life, right? Now my feet are all blistered and sore and I’m in a really bad mood, despite a couple of amazing days with great people. I’m so angry with myself!

Do we ever reach a stage where missed workouts are okay? Just a blip on the radar, or an unfortunate time restraint. I’m finding it really difficult right now. Perhaps because I’ve only just started up again and I’m scared that a missed workout became two and two might lead to throwing in the towel. I want to continue but my continuity has gone. 

Any wise words, readers?

Love & Sunshine,

S xx

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When do we know we’ve made it?

Please tell me I’m not the only one who daydreams while I’m exercising. This morning I was planning today’s blog in my head. I have to say though, I completely drew a blank. It was only when I got back that I noticed a subtle change … and that gave me an idea.

We’re always looking for improvement, both in our exercise regimen or in life itself, but do we ever really achieve what we’re looking for? Our goal may be weight loss, a new personal best or that car we’ve been dreaming about. The problem here is that these goals are constantly changing. While the first goal might be to lose that half stone, once it’s gone, there’s a new goal. The fastest run we’ve ever done, the heaviest weight lifted; whatever the goal, we tend to move the goalposts. So, when will we be happy with our achievements? More to the point, what do we do when we’ve got there? 

Somehow, this blog started off about me pouring myself a protein shake after my run. I’m not really all that sure how we got to big life goals, but here we are. It got me wondering if we’re ever truly happy when we’ve reached a goal. While I’m not suggesting that you celebrate with a curry every time you take a second off your time, an acknowledgement of the achievement would go a long way towards spurring you on towards your next goal (if there is one – if not, I suggest that curry).

Today, I completed “run 1 of week 4 – Run 10k”. I don’t really have a goal in regards to exercise at the moment because I’ve only just started up again, I guess the goal is just to complete it but my big life goal is to lose 2 1/2 stone. I’d like to have the first one shifted by the beginning of September so that’s just 1/2 stone per month, or 2.5lb per week. We can do this, guys! SMASH THOSE GOALS AND BE PROUD OF YOURSELF!

Love & Sunshine,

Sophie. xx

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A change is as good as a rest

On Monday, I was telling you that I’m bored with my workout programme. I love the Jillian Michaels- Ripped in 30 DVD but I’ve done it a few times and I needed something new. However, I also wanted to stick with what I know so I tried Jillian’s “Killer Body” DVD. I hadn’t tried it before and I must say, I’m impressed.

After the lack of motivation this week, I decided to get my shit together today and take my own advice (see yesterday’s post – 11 ways to motivate yourself). I arranged a night out in 3 months time with some friends. It should give me just enough time to get back into a size 10 – oh, okay a 12 but a girl can dream, right? My daily blogs will continue to bore (I mean encourage) you for some time to come as I settle back into an exercise routine. I’m currently bottling that post-exercise feeling. The endorphin rush is in full swing, so I wanted to write this blog while I’m still feeling positive, instead of a sulky, downtrodden one later on.

I encourage anyone to give Jillian Michaels a try. She’s tough! Very tough, but she’s encouraging and her workouts get results. Today was “killer abs” and they are absolutely KILLING … it does what it says on the tin. I found the first half okay and I was thinking “I can handle this” and then about half way through, my body laughed. I’m not physically strong so I was having to follow most of the moderators in order to complete the workout, but I was still sweating buckets. My newest goal is to complete this workout without a pause.

I’m aching already so I dread to think how I’m going to feel tomorrow, but thankfully, tomorrow is my long-awaited rest day so I’m going to be trying Nadia Narain – Beginners meditation and mindful stretching. As much as I’ve been struggling to get motivated, I bloody hate rest days! I struggle to get going again afterwards, so I’m hoping that this will be the perfect compromise.

Love & Sunshine,

Soph! Xx

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11 ways to motivate yourself

After yet another day of procrastination, it’s time to take action. I’m sure I’m not the only one who spends my time wanting to exercise, yet finding every excuse not to. One of the first things I did after I returned from my 2230 run (which was planned for 0500) was research how to motivate myself to stop this from happening again. I’m getting a little bit tired of my attitude at the moment so I thought I’d share my findings with you, my lovely readers.

Buy workout gear – It’s a little materialistic but when we’re struggling to motivate ourselves, one thing that seems to work pretty well is new stuff. It doesn’t have to be clothes, (we all have more workout gear than half of the sports stores anyway, right?) it can be new weights, a running belt, or even a new water bottle. I, for one look forward to using my new stuff so maybe a little shopping spree is in order.

Chart your progress – This may sound a little dull but making a chart, graph or even just a written record of your progress can work wonders. It shows that you’re not half-arsing this, you’re actually getting somewhere. When you get downtrodden about your workout, you can look at how far you’ve come since your first workout. It could be how heavy the weights are, how long you worked out for or how far you walked/ran/cycled. Whatever works for you, just make it colourful and easy to look at.

Book a night out – Arranging a night out with friends can be great motivation, especially if it’s people you don’t get to see very often. Buying new clothes for the occasion or just seeing that dress/shirt that’s currently a teeny bit too tight could be just the thing to spur you on. Arrange this with enough time to realistically lose some weight. When you’re tempted to skip a workout, just think how bad you’ll feel if you turn up and no-one comments on your magnificent weight loss (not to mention not fitting into that outfit you’ve been planning).

Blog – You, my dear followers get me out of that door (eventually)! While the odd missed post won’t really be noticed, I will know! I will have let you down. Having someone rely on your progress is a surefire way to ensure you get out there and do it. For me, I like to tell you how my workout went and any thoughts and feelings I observed along the way, hoping that my experiences will make a difference to your own workout. If you don’t feel ready to share these details, you might consider telling a friend each day or writing a diary. I think I might have mentioned in an earlier post, a few years ago that I treat my blogs almost like a diary. I know I don’t have many followers and those of you I do have, probably won’t read every post but if my daily blogs make a difference to anyone, even if it’s just to spur yourself on or stop yourself from doing something then I’m doing what I set out to do, I’m helping someone.

Prove the haters wrong – Every single one of us has someone who thinks that we can’t do this. Someone who has seen us try and fail or simply can’t handle our success. You do this for them. Just imagine the look on their face when they see you in that little dress or with the muscles bulging from your shirt. Feel smug about it; feel it with every cell of your body; put this feeling in your memory bank and remember it every single time you feel like skipping your workout. This is going to be one of the most valuable tools you will ever use in your weight loss journey. Embrace it! You will never miss a single workout with this handy tool.

Bottle that post-exercise feeling – Just like that feeling of proving your haters wrong, the feeling of the endorphin rush after you finish your exercise is a feeling you’re going to want to remember. Just think how proud of yourself you feel when you’re done. The sense of achievement as sweat runs down your face. The knowledge that you’re done and you don’t have to go through it again until at least tomorrow. This feeling is a powerful one that can get you through even the toughest of workouts. Next time you’ve finished your workout, take a moment to reflect on those feelings. Remember that feeling when your motivation has rolled over and taken a nap.

Compete with yourself – The progression of your weight loss will spur your on in your darkest moments. Much like the progression chart, the aim of this is to beat your personal best. Go for something different each day, just to keep things interesting. Your heaviest weight, the most reps, the longest run, longest time spent in the gym, even the most water consumed during a workout. Make every one a win!

Trick yourself – A full workout is a large pill to swallow. Your warm up, no matter how tough, is not too difficult in comparison. If you’re really struggling, just complete the warm up, or at least tell yourself that’s all you’re doing. Chances are, once you’re done you’ll probably feel much better about finishing the workout. If not, you’ve done something.

Set goals – An achievement is a valuable tool in your weight loss journey. Each achievement will spur you on to the next stage. Although you have your progression chart and your personal competition, reaching a goal is always an achievement better than any other. Small, weekly goals such as weight loss, a new personal best or a loss in inches will give you that push you’ve been looking for.

Make a video – Not that kind of video, you filthy bugger! A collection of motivational quotes, photographs of your body goals, even pictures of your weight loss charts will be all you need to get you out of the door. Adding in a motivating song will change the way you feel about it too. Watch it when you have no intention of climbing out of bed to workout and you’ll notice an immediate change in your attitude.

Find a mantra – I have a list of workout mantra’s so long, I could write a book. Pick one each day to get you through. There are an endless amount of them on google, facebook and instagram pages and in gyms. Change your mantra regularly to stop you from becoming bored.

I don’t know about you but just writing these has made me feel a little more motivated about my workout tomorrow but for now, it’s time for me to take a sip of my own medicine and put them into practice. *Logs on to shopping website for new gym stuff*

Love & Sunshine,

S! xx

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Disheartened but determined!

Very much like yesterday, I tried everything to get out of today’s workout. Even to the point of almost not doing it at all. It took a while, and MANY conversations with myself about how if I don’t do it, I’ll stay fat, but I got there in the end!Today was Jillian day. If you didn’t read my post 2 days ago, that just means that I do the Jillian Michaels ripped in 30 DVD. It’s a killer and I swear I sweat a good few litres but I got through it.

Which got me to thinking, I’m the worlds best procrastinator but at what stage do we actually start to take exercise seriously? If it didn’t make us lose weight/maintain weight, would we really do it? Does anyone actually enjoy it that much? It seems to me that very few people genuinely do love it. I wish I was one of them. It’s all for vanity purposes. Who exactly are we trying to impress? As I’ve said before, my confidence issues are unreal so perhaps it’s just me but if there was a magic pill or potion that would give me the body of Jillian michaels or Jessica Ennis-hill, there’s no way on this earth I would ever physically exert myself again!

Today I completed week 1 for the second time and while easier than the first time, it still makes me want to cry!! I’ve completed this DVD a few times and I highly recommend it but I’m bored. I’m bored of the same old routine. I can probably recite the majority of the workout by heart and it’s starting to get on my nerves! Yet, I love the results this workout gives me. I’m still relatively early on in my return to training (4 days, to be exact) but I need something to shake me up a little; to give me inspiration, hope and excitement! However, change scares me. I can never stick with change. As soon as I change something, I stop. I like what I know. Is this the most contradictory blog you’ve ever read, or what?! 

I sit here, in Starbucks with a hazelnut mocha, writing about exercise and losing weight but I’m not helping myself! It’s about time I gave myself a kick up the oversized rear end and started to take this weight loss thing seriously!
Love & Sunshine!

Sophie. xx

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Is it ever as bad as we think?

So the plan for today’s run was to get up at 5am before the sun, tackle the same run I did the other day (week 3 run 3 of run10k) and then go about my day. Instead, I arose at 1030, spent 2-3 hours “preparing” for my run – drink coffee, eat banana, drink water, get dressed, make playlist … the list goes on. Then I chickened out, due to the heat and did run 2 instead, which is the same but only 8 runs instead of 11. I finally made it out at around 1300, I think and you know what? It wasn’t so bad. The heat here in the U.K. is amazing! It’s 28 today and 26 while I was out running. I’m sure all you aussies and probably those of you in the warmer states are probably thinking I’m being a wimp but we’re just not used to it here (can we keep it?) I came up with what I consider to be a genius (well, for ladies anyway) running hack too! Normally, I don’t carry a bottle while I’m running. It gets on my nerves and I don’t really run that far. However, I really struggled on Saturday without water so I found a small bottle which fit perfectly down my cleavage. I put it in the freezer first and by the time I had finished my first 90 seconds, it had completely melted. I just wanted enough to wet my lips and mouth when it became dry and it worked out great! If you wear a running top with the built in sports bra, a 100ml bottle will sit nicely and cool you down through the first half of your run (the second half it gets a little warm but it still does the trick). 

I’m sure I’m not the only one who procrastinates before getting out and is it ever so bad when we’re out there? I enjoyed today’s run. I’m not sure if it was because of the water or reduced distance but after Saturday, I had been dreading it! I’m due another run on Wednesday so the plan is to get out there before sunrise and complete run 3 again (yes, I’m aware that was also today’s plan) and enjoy it! I’m determined to make this losing weight stuff as pain free as possible. 

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