Thursday, January 6, 2011

Setting Up For Success & A Giveaway


If you haven't done so yet, go here before Sunday and tell me what your favorite exercise is, to be entered to win a Billy Blanks Tae Bo dvd.


People, let me just tell you it's cold.  I know some of you live in much colder climes, but seriously, the cold we are having usually doesn't hit here until the end of January and through February.  This morning it was 18.  The garage has now reached the point where it is NOT warmer in there than outside.  It's the same temperature.  Cold on that treadmill so early in the morning, but I got it done.  Ran 3.15 miles today.

Ellen from Fat Girl Wearing Thin made a comment on yesterday's blog about how she couldn't believe that I run at o'dark thirty.  Truth be told, it's one of the things I do to be successful.  I have tried waiting until after work and about 99.9% of the time, I won't run.  In fact, the only way I'll work out at 5 p.m. or later is to have someone yelling at instructing and directing me.  That is why I've been able to stick with my nighttime Muay Thai classes.  So while I am quite self-motivated in the workout arena, it seems my motivation dies after lunch.

Another thing I do to be successful at o'dark thirty is that I lay my clothes out the night before.  See, when in the midst of the winter doldrums, where I know that even the garage is going to be 18 degrees, it would be quite easy to get up, throw on a robe, turn on our gas fireplace, and drink coffee until shower time.  By putting my clothes out, I don't even let the robe be an option.  I go straight from PJ's to running gear, then I head downstairs and get my coffee.  This simple step has been especially important over the last month or so as I've dealt with my hip/butt injury.  Ironically, the time when I'm most sore and stiff is after laying in bed all night.  I feel like a creaky old lady these days and while I don't want to lay in bed since it actually feels better to get up and walk around, I could definitely see talking myself out of running.

I actually use that same tactic for Muay Thai.  Before I left the house this morning, I laid out my uniform.  I only have a few minutes after I get home to get ready and get back out the door.  With it all laid out like that I find I'm much more likely to just change as soon as I get home.  Once the clothes are on, I know I will get back into the car and go to the dojo.

There are other things I do too, like make a healthy lunch and bring it to work.  This is probably not a big deal to many but my old boss would have taken me out for lunch every single day if I would have gone.  He hated eating alone so he always grabbed someone in the office for company.  Additionally there is a large percentage of the office that gets take out every single day.  Never mind the calories, I just don't want to spend that sort of money!  By bringing my lunch I generally stick to what I've brought and avoid the take-out or vending machine temptation.

Some years ago, I read that if you are trying to improve your water drinking or fruit eating, you should make those items easily available, which is why I generally keep fruit on my desk within my eyesight.  I have an especially hard time in winter eating fruit because I much prefer summer fruits.  I also have a (very) old weight watchers mug that holds 32 oz.  I fill that up and try to get through at least one of them over the course of the day.  Lots of days I drink one and half or even two.  Because it's there!  Here are today's featured selections.

All that cooking I do on weekends?  It's so we'll have healthy, easily accessible meals during the week when we are running around like crazy. If there's something good at home, I have absolutely no desire to whip through a drive through.

These are super simple things that set me up to be successfull in my health and fitness journey.  So tell me, what is it that you do?


  1. Oh Helen it's getting scary! Are you my sister? The one I didn't know I had? We are so alike.

    Let me tell you what I do:
    - I lay my running clothes or workout clothes out the evening before so when I get home from work I ran upstairs, change and go out for a run or to the gym.
    - I lay the clothes I want to wear to work the next day ready the night before.
    - I bring my own sandwiches to work (buy a salad at work).
    - I prepare the meal for the next day while I'm cooking today's dinner.
    - I plan my meals and make sure that when I don't have much time to cook it's a meal that is ready in max. 30 minutes.
    - I have a bottle of water at home in my kitchen and at work on my desk.

    You see what I mean by being sisters :lol:

  2. I give you big shiny gold star for jogging in that temperature. At dark. You run in the morning then do martial arts at night? Daaaaaaang.

    Smart strategies for success. I also find that I eat more fruit if it's "out" instead of in the fridge. And keep a quart jar filled with water too. Go through 4 of those things a day.

    Doing great, Helen. I sure hope it doesn't get any colder there! You may have to jog in a snuggie! LOL

  3. See, I woke up today, it was something like 38 degrees, and I thought "hey, I don't have to go running *quite* this early today" and went back to sleep. By now you've gotten my email about snow - really, I am in awe that you get anything done with your weather.

    Oh, and cherries? I didn't even know they were still available! I'm with you - the winter fruits are not as appealing, but I'm trying. I keep my water bottle at hand all the time - you are so right - those little things really do set you up for a successful day!

    I lay out my running clothes at night - Jeff used to make fun of me until I forgot something for a race (Body Glide in Maui) - now he asks me if I have everything, lol!

    And yes, I'm going to get dressed and go run in a bit. ;)

  4. I call all of this hitting the easy button. I do most of it myself - well, except for the running in the frigid garage - or running anywhere for that matter.

    The whole going out for lunch just astounds me - it's the same way here. We've got a couple of people with serious, serious health issues surrounding their weight and they go out to eat every single day. And another young woman who is always bemoaning her financial situation, but yet drops at least $10 a day on take outs. Although yesterday she came into my office to tell me she thought of me that morning and she showed me a baggie with some cut up apples in it!

    Right now my exercise clothes and my tennis shoes are sitting right by Cha-Cha so that it will easier to get my miles in.

    Great post with great tips!

  5. Gosh Helen, I need to make it a habit and stop by hear every day. You are so inspiring. Seriously, I aspire to have all the healthy habits that have become routine to you and others. Exercising early, packing healthy lunches and weekend cooking are all things I should be doing. This is something I plan to work on from the get go this year.

  6. Helen, my camera battery died before I could take a picture of the pumpkin seed bread, but I'll post it tomorrow.

    Planning is my saving grace. If I don't menu plan I could easily swing through McDonald's at lunch every day!

    And you must have been subliminally helping me - knowing its cold and dark when I go to the gym in the morning, last night I set all my clothes out and bathing suit - just knowing it was all set made all the difference! :D

    And I have put away all my clothes this week - Hannah is so proud of me! :D

  7. Started sucking down the water at my desk as I was reading. I found cherries too, on sale, wouldn't by they at full price.
    I love all the planning and do a lot of it, treadmill in warm basement at 7:00 this a.m., but, when I get stressed I haven't been able to pause, and reassess. I just EAT.

  8. I used gray tape and plaster it over my face. That's the only method that works for me. That, and having my stomach decreased to a couple of ounces.

    I usually don't have cherries on hand because I'm not independently wealthy. Yet.

  9. I'm totally a morning person too. Any industriousness or productivity for me better happen by about 2 p.m. because after that, it's a slow steady decline. This cold is getting old, yes?

    I do the same with water and fruit - out in the open where I can see 'em. Guzzle 96 oz daily and I'm finally getting back to it after going on dehydrate over the holidays. Why do I give up water when I'm grazing and eating all day long? I need it more then than ever!

  10. Those are great ideas Helen. I keep healthy food prepared most of the time and I also have healthy options frozen that I can turn into quick meals. Fast food just isn't an option for me.

    I have a rule against eating while standing up. Everything must be plated and I must sit down to eat it. This simple rule has cut out many unwanted calories for me.

  11. I think this is all part of the habit forming process. Diligence pays off and turns to habit eventually but still! When you are running in 18 degree weather tomorrow morning, just know that this chick over here is amazed at the power you have established for yourself, Helen.

  12. I'm just getting into this, so I can use all the good tips and habits I can make! I have been making myself get up early enough (which is a herculean effort, trust me!) to prepare lunch before I go to work. Apples are among my least favorite fruits, but they are plentiful, travel well, and if I cut them up into thin slices and add bottled lemon juice they taste yummy enough that I can eat them. The lemon juice works well on carrot sticks too.

    Oh, and I think I just saw cherries on sale at Safeway for $2.99/lb. I may actually go there to buy some! (among my favorite fruits!).

    To stave off that afternoon mocha/espresso desire, I have packets of hot cocoa and those packages of cups of soup (much less calories). I also keep a bar handy for desperate times - right now I have a box of kashi bars I'm eating my way through.

  13. hmmmm.
    for me these days it feels like everything!
    the food the lifeplanning the organizing the having a PLAN A and a PLAN B and a PLAN C for everything so I can not make excuses...

  14. Hey Helen - to answer your question, your recipe doesn't have to be a link, you can just type it in. Also, for each recipe it has to be a separate comment, but that will increase your chances of winning.

    Happy Friday my friend!

  15. Are you going Retro on me Miss Helen? Love the old WW water mug! I used to have one of those. I think it is a collector's item now. Hee Hee.

  16. You are all over that hard core stuff!
    My fave exersize this week - lifting a bottle of Advil -
    up down up down....

  17. Lady, I cannot believe you are running in the garage like that. You have my awe and respect for dealing with the chill.

    As for working out and making it happen, depending on my workout time (AM on weekends, PM on weekdays), I don't let myself "pass go." I get home (or roll out of bed), immediately throw on the clothes and get moving. If I can't think about it, then I can't sabotage myself, which is really the key.

  18. I need to get back into the habit of laying out my exercise clothes at night; I had forgotten how much more successful I was at working out when I did that!

    I have 3 little clementines lined up at my desk now; it's helping. :)