Making exercise and good (and less) food a habit


I know it's cliche but having kids takes its toll.  After each of my four kids, it's taken a few years to get the intrinsic motivation to get back to "normal."  Now that #4 is 2+, it's time to start eating right and make exercise a habit.  The kids are old enough now that they can fend for themselves for 45 minutes!

My plan involves strategies I learned years ago with weight watchers- watch portion sizes, smarter food choices, and regular exercise even on week (school) nights.  As time goes on,  hopefully it'll naturally progress into more challenging workouts and more energy!

After reading the second article for week one, I see a few connections to other areas of research I've seen.  Mainly, the research of Charles Duhigg, who wrote "The Power of Habit." wrote about it and a video that breaks down the science into really simple parts.

Basically, to make things stick, there needs to be a reward.  For exercise to stick (at least for me), it has to have intrinsic rewards.  To avoid over-reaching early on and getting discouraged, I'm picking goals and rewards that I know are achievable and quickly realized (the Calvin & Hobbes method LOL). Plus, as the second article points out, one good thing leads to another.  Working out today = eat better = sleep better = more energy = better outlook.  My first baby step is to just get on the treadmill and prove to myself that the kids will survive sans mom for 45 minutes.  I can set them up with activities and snacks.  One successful experiment with this will encourage (I should say has already!) leads to doing it again and again.

Another researcher who I connect with this is Daniel Pink, who has a great TED video about his research on motivation - intrinsic motivation for employees (more responsibilities, recognition, things that tie to creativity, etc..) actually motivates more than bonuses and material motivation (paraphasing, but that's the idea). I see that in this context as well.

So, I want to thank Brian, Richard, and everyone else involved in setting up this course.  While my time is limited and rarely my own, I've found myself looking forward to exercising, eating better, and connecting with others here and via Fitocracy.

OK so finally had time to watch video #2.  "it's a lifestyle, not a diet" sticks with me the most.  More protein, fewer carbs.  Strength training more than cardio. Got it.  While the treadmill has done the trick for me twice already after child #2 and #3, I'll work on finding a good balance that works for me and my schedule.  Also, weigh once per week.  Trying to keep in mind my first short-term goal: make exercise habit.  Any weight loss will come in good time.  Focus!  Proof:  treadmill last night for 48 minutes while kids played;  strength training Monday am.  Getting the hang of it!

Nicole McGee
The only obstacle to reaching your goals is YOU!