Monday, January 30, 2012

FitFluential Ambassador

Do I ever have some exciting news to share with you today! A few weeks ago, I applied to become a FitFluential Ambassador, and I found out this weekend that I got it!!!

FitFluential is a network of fitness experts and amateurs who can connect with each other and with national brands to spread the word about fitness and fitness-related companies. As an Ambassador, I'll have opportunities to partner with brands and potentially influence other fitness enthusiasts (like yourself!). I'm thrilled to be joining this community and can't wait to see what this partnership has in store. Meanwhile, thanks to you for reading and helping me stay inspired to focus on fitness, food, and fun in my blog!

And now for some honesty on the other side of the spectrum: what I do when I'm not feeling so "FitFluential" and am feeling "FitForFlabsville" instead.

Let's get one thing straight: I know I am not overweight. But weight, size, and numbers on a scale (I don't own a scale, actually, and never intend to) are not factors at all in my definition of health. I define health as:

  • Feeling good about myself, from my thoughts to my actions to my perception of my body
  • Eating real foods with moderation and variety
  • Pushing my body to levels of physical fitness that respect my limitations and continuously improve my abilities
  • Reducing or eliminating stress as much as possible, including destructive patterns or relationships
This definition is one that will likely evolve over time as I continue to explore what health means to me, and I encourage you to come up with your own working definition, because just thinking about it inspires me to try harder tomorrow tonight to be a healthier person.

So what happens when I'm not feeling good about myself, or when I let the non-real foods slip onto my plate, or when I'm super stressed? Everyone experiences these moments; maybe from a friend's perspective you haven't really changed (in physical appearance or otherwise), but you notice it. Something is just off. You're more tired than usual, or you feel stressed or frustrated. You're out of it.

That's how I've felt the past week or so. While I've been fairly consistent about my workouts, I haven't pushed myself as hard as usual. My dinners haven't been as veggie-focused as they were the first few weeks of the year. As a result, I've noticed my jeans are a little more snug than is comfortable, and I thought it's only fair that I share with you what I do when I get that inevitable feeling of ugh-ness.
  1. Figure out what's changed in my own habits. Don't look at the cause of these changes. It doesn't matter. No excuses, remember? Plus, whatever it is will likely still be there, because I can't control everything around me; I'll need to work around it or within it. So I simply ignore whatever is going on outside of me - work, friends, family, time crunch - and I focus on what I'm doing differently. Maybe I've cut back on my workouts in number or intensity or variety. Maybe I've slacked on the vegetables and eaten a few too many desserts. Maybe I've started to stress over something at work. Whatever it is, I've changed something, and I need to understand it in order to reverse it.
  2. Decide the steps I need to take to kick the bad habits and pump up the good ones. Generally, those fall into these categories:
    • Change eating habits. My big rule here is not to reduce the amount of food I'm eating (unless my portions of late have been out of control). Instead, I replace the types of foods. I know I can't deprive myself of eating dessert, but I can change the dessert I eat - fruit and a small piece of chocolate instead of a half pint of Ben & Jerry's. Tea and popcorn instead of brownies.
    • Change exercise habits. Get back to 5-6 days per week, minimum of 30 minutes per day. Include a variety of cardio, and tackle different workouts so my body doesn't get used to anything. For me, feeling toned and strong makes me feel healthy, and strength training is a huge part of toning.
    • Plan ahead. I usually write out a weekly menu to prepare for our weeknight meals, but it really helps me feel more in control if I have a written plan to get me back on track, including meals and times I'll work out. I also incorporate down time so that I can reduce whatever stressors are building up that week.
Sample plan for tomorrow

3. Acknowledge that some weeks are just this way. And it's fine. Not being a supermodel really has its benefits, because I only have to answer to me (well, and my readers :-). If I'm having an off week, I can get over it, as long as I know how to get back on track. As my cheerleaders once told me, "It's okay if you get fat; your husband still has to love you." Yes, he would love me, but I do what I do because I want to be healthy, not because I feel the need to fit a specific size.

95% of the time, the lifestyle I lead makes me feel good inside and out, but I know there's always room for improvement. I love the challenges of pushing myself to eat better, work out harder, grow in my relationship with God, honor my family and friends, teach more effectively, and become a better person. As I said about my definition of health, it's all a work in progress.

What do you do on those ugh days?

How do you define health?


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