Tuesday is my day off. I teach exercise classes for a living so perhaps I should specify that Tuesday is my day off from exercise. Come Tuesday, the last thing I want to do is sweat. Unless, of course, I wake up to a morning like I did this past Tuesday. The sky was absolutely sparkling, the kind of day that calls you to come outside and dance with it. It was the kind of day that my friends and I compare to that September Tuesday a decade ago when the Towers fell. This past Tuesday was that kind of day.
So with no effort at all, I found myself on my bike riding around my town. Even people who hate to workout were outside. Not for exercise but rather for the joy of feeling the sun on our skin.
But that's not what I want to write about today. I want to talk about the opposite kind of day -- the day that feels the opposite. Whether it be some specific forecast like rain or even if it's just basic dreariness, I want to talk about the day that pulls you back towards bed.
Let's call them Downward Days.
On Downward Days you won't be drawn outside. so you need to have a plan. Call it willpower. Call it pre-comittment. Call it implementation intention. Call it routine. By any name, the important thing is to be ready for it in advance.
Here is what you can do to be sure you stick with your fitness routine during even the worst of wicked weather.
1. Let me count the weighs -- It used to be that experts said you'd drive yourself crazy weighing in every day, considering fluid vacillations. Now they have found that those who weigh themselves every day, are more successful at losing it. If you keep track of it by writing it down, even better.
2. Watch for your symptoms -- Notice when you are feeling low energy or frazzled and plan to be vigilant about healthy snacks to keep your blood sugar levels even and your energy even. Notice if you are not sleeping well and make plans to catch up on the zzzz's. In other words, take care of yourself the way you'd take care of your toddler. If you notice yourself getting cranky, you may need to put yourself down for a little nap.
3. Keep track -- There are many online programs and apps that can help you be detailed (and therefore more successful)about your fitness/diet goals. Here are a few: LoseIt.com, FitBit.com, IdoneThis.com, HealthMonth.com and MyFitnessPal.com.
4. Positive procrastination -- If you are a procrastinator like me you might try this little trick I use for things I do not want to do. I put something abborhent in the number one spot then add things like exercise below the top priority. Silly, but it works. I will do anything to avoid cleaning out the basement.
5. Reward yourself -- When you make it through those Downward Day workouts, be sure to treat yourself, whether it's a manicure or a Starbucks cappuccino (non-fat of course).
6. Get a workout partner -- Having someone meet you for a jog at 6 a.m. is much easier to do if someone is ringing your doorbell. If you can't find a workout buddy, hire a personal trainer.
7. The not right now technique -- Studies have shown that is you delay responding to food cravings, you won't even want it later. Try it, it works!