Friday, March 22, 2013
Anyone on a "long" journey to Health & Fitness can attest to the fact that counting calories/points/carbs and climbing on that treadmill/elliptical/bike gets boring and routine after awhile. Many can sustain a very controlled diet on a limited number of foods and a specific exercise routine for a time but it grows stale and then we are tempted to slack on the exercise or eat that cupcake left in the break room at work from a birthday celebration.
Boredom can lead to disaster if you don't plan for it NOW. It will happen. One day you will get that tuna fish on lettuce lunch out of the fridge and say - I'm "sick" of this. Because you are at work and that's your only option you may shove it back in the fridge saying "I'll eat it tomorrow" and hit the local fast food chain for an over the top meal (too many calories, too much fat, too much sodium). That one meal could trigger a total detour because now you are thinking you have blown the day so you "blow" your dinner as well singing "TOMORROW, TOMORROW" the whole time... AND we all know that often when tomorrow rolls around we just keep on singing.
Here are a few tips from my own experience to help you avoid the boredom detour!
1) Make friends with Spark Recipes! There are 1o00's of healthy recipes that will keep your meals interesting and prevent palate boredom.
2) Begin sampling new fruits and vegetables. Start with a bite or two. If you don't hate it but aren't in LOVE with it, keep sampling. You may LEARN to love it. I HATED broccoli the first time I ate it. Now I CHOOSE broccoli as a side eating out and fix it raw, steamed, cooked, and in soups at home.
3) Make an interchangeable menu. Look at what's on hand and make up meal choices on a grid. If you keep the total calories per meal about the same you can mix and match based on your whims. Cooking and freezing will allow you to keep ready meals on hand.
4) Try to vary your workouts. Elliptical, Treadmill, Bike, Swimming, Hiking, Rowing, Zumba, Wii and Xbox fitness games, DVD's and don't forget sports like tennis, basketball, handball, volleyball, soccer, etc. If you are a runner - try new routes. Don't forget to keep your TUNES new. Try having different playlists.
5) Eat your meals somewhere new or on something different. Try going on a picnic. Move to the unused dining room and light a few candles. Use those dishes you have packed away in the dining room.
6) Make new friends. Get to know someone new at the gym or in your neighborhood and ask them to join you for a walk.
7) Change your rewards. Plan a trip to the library for some new books as a reward for a session at the gym or a morning run. Save that new magazine that came in the mail to use on the exercise bike. Buy a new shirt or pair of slacks? Don't let yourself wear them until after you have two days in a row of in range eating.
8) Try a new SparkTeam. Go to the Spark Team Tab and try the key word search to find teams with similar interests. Sometimes a new team/challenge will give you a burst of new enthusiasm.
9) Organize your refrigerator and pantry. Toss the expired foods and look at what's left. Make yourself use some of those things that have been sitting on the shelf. Look for a recipe to use those red lentils. What could you do with that frozen halibut? Grab that bag of frozen asparagus and build a meal around it.
10) REMEMBER your hobbies or try a new one. We often get in such a rut of work/family/exercise that we don't leave time to pursue the things we enjoy. Make a plan now to revisit your hobby this week. Do you paint? Do you sew? Do you enjoy digital photography? Grab that violin from high school or your guitar and make some music.
Remember that this is a lifestyle change. You will have to make these eating and exercise choices part of your life so you need to find ways to keep it interesting.