How would you feel if I asked to walk 100 miles?
How would you feel if I asked you to walk at a comfortable pace for ten minutes a day?
Did you know that if you committed to walk ten minutes per day at the start of the pandemic lockdowns, you would have tallied well over 100 miles by today? It doesn’t seem so overwhelming when you break it down into manageable goals does it?!
How many times do you “wish” you could do something, or “plan” to accomplish a big task?
Getting started and then becoming overwhelmed or frustrated and getting off track is the story of my life! I have always enjoyed exercising and I’m a very active person. I’ve run a full marathon (yep, the entire 26.2 miles!) and several smaller races from 5Ks to half marathons. The part I don’t like is healthy eating- I’m a cheeseburger and chocolate shake kind of a girl! I think that’s why distance running is such a good fit for me; you can literally eat whatever you want when you run that much. The thing that I found interesting was that the more physically fit I was, the less I craved unhealthy foods. However, I always seemed to meet a milestone and then slide back down and find myself starting over. It’s a slippery slope when you start letting your health decline! Let’s face it, when you physically feel good everything else seems better too.
I joined a fitness coaching group in 2017 that was run by a friend of mine to try to get started (again) with exercising and making better food choices. I have rodeoed with Jackie for years and know her to be a very intelligent and levelheaded person, so I figured I’d just see what she had to say. I was ready! I started working out almost every day- the easy part for me; but the thing that was really life changing was when she said (I’m paraphrasing) “no one is expected to make healthy food choices 100% of the time. If you find yourself with your hand in the cookie jar (or an entire bag of Oreos in my case), just tell yourself it’s OK and get back on track. Strive for 80/20… 80% healthy foods and just get back on track when you need.” I perceived that as though I had permission to fail, and you know what? That, along with Jackie’s non-judgemental and no pressure support, helped me succeed.
I hope you enjoy reading Jackie’s story as much as I have. She has some great tips on getting started, setting goals and staying on track. At the end of this blog, I will include a journal reflection summary and Jackie’s contact information if you’d like to get ahold of her with questions about your own personal journey toward improving your health and wellness.
Jackie Schau- Beachbody coach, WPRA cowgirl, wife and mother:
I’ve always been interested in exercise. I was a scrawny little blonde with big cowgirl plans. Thinking back to my childhood, I think it had more to do with proving to everyone else that I was a lot tougher than I looked.
I don’t really remember when I started setting goals, but I do remember the first big one I shared with my dad. It was a big goal, and I worked my tail off to achieve it.
In my late twenties, I was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, it was treatable and after chemo and radiation I found myself tired, weak and lazy. I wanted my life back. After a year full of big life changes along with some family tragedy, something had to give. Tyler and I ordered the Beachbody program, P90X. We were committed. At least we thought we were. We did the workouts everyday (even the 90-minute yoga) and we got stronger. Every week we got stronger. We were so sore. It was HARD! We looked over the nutrition guide and decided after the first two mornings of egg white omelets that it was too hard to follow the nutrition plan. We’d never heard of a lot of the ingredients in those recipes. Regardless, we saw results. We were proud of ourselves.
A few years later I stumbled upon the 21 Day Fix (another Beachbody Program) and signed up to participate in an online challenge group; way out of my comfort zone, but intriguing! This time I was going to follow the nutrition plan. The big sell on that program was the color-coded portion control food containers that made what to eat and how much pretty elementary. I finally had what to eat, how much food and the seemingly crazy amount of water I was supposed to drink all laid out for me. I was ready. After 21 days I took my “after” pictures and it was my proud moment!!! I finally saw and felt the results I had been looking for.
The important take away is I SET A GOAL AND I GOT STARTED. I didn’t do everything right, but never lost sight of that goal. The most challenging part was getting started.
So many people have a fitness ideal and never quite make it to the goal stage. Anyone can get started and quickly lose interest because they don’t see immediate results. What so many of us don’t realize right away is that it’s not really the goal that matters. It’s the journey. Before you set your goal, you need to know WHERE you are going and WHY. Why do you want to achieve this? When that is established, the character-building process (the HOW) begins.
You cannot expect to change everything all at once. That’s a sure-fire way to lose interest. They say it takes 21 days to develop a habit. I don’t know who “they” are or if that’s true, but I do know change doesn’t happen overnight. Focus on the next thing. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a big task when all you can see is the end. Break it down, piece by piece, bit by bit. Do the next thing. And then do the next thing. Keep looking forward. So, you slip up one day. Tomorrow’s goal is to do better.
Ask yourself these questions:
What is holding you back?
What if I fail?
If you quit, you can guarantee it will never happen.
Instead ask yourself: What if I don’t fail?
It is okay to get outside of your comfort zone. Actually, it is absolutely necessary. START SMALL! Do a little bit today. Do a little bit more tomorrow. Next thing you know, you will have done something pretty amazing. I recommend keeping a journal. You don’t need to keep track of everything, but it is helpful to write down 3 daily “wins” every day. This helps you realize how far you’ve come.
Wake up with a plan. Before you get out of bed, plan for the day ahead. Be grateful for the opportunity, thankful for the day and hopeful for optimism to make every minute count. Ask God for help! Pray about it! Everyone’s process is a little different. Play around with it until you figure out what works for YOU.
Now that you have a goal, break it down into monthly/daily/hourly goals, check them off and set new ones. A goal is lots of small steps strung together to get you somewhere big.
It’s okay for you to succeed. For example, if your goal is to lose 15 pounds, great! However, I caution you on how to go about that. Sure, you can lose 15 pounds, but remember when you burn fat, you also develop muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat, so while you are improving your fitness, you may not see the results you were focused on achieving on the scale. The scale is a handy measurement tool, but not necessarily the best one for the example I provided. Instead of having a goal to lose 15 pounds, modify that goal to losing and inch or two off your waistline. Instead of putting so much merit into a number on a scale, try focusing on self-awareness when your goal relates to health and well-being. Self-awareness is the conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires. Awareness of these things can serve as a guide to what is working and what isn’t. A food journal will help you keep track of what you eat and when. You may discover certain foods that trigger undesirable feelings such as indigestion, lethargy, etc. Use that information and build on it.
Don’t let anyone stand in your way. It’s YOUR goal. Surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed. Control the things you can and hold the vision to trust the process. One day it will just click. You will realize what is important to you. You will learn to care less about what other people think and care more about how you think of yourself.
I signed up to be a Beachbody coach after the first round of the 21 Day Fix. At first, I thought it might be a good side hustle. I quickly learned that’s not me. Sales is not my gig. I’m programmed to be helpful. If I can help one person make a change in their lifestyle, I have achieved what I set out to do. That’s my WHY. I’ve made so many mistakes in my life, my fitness journey, my relationships….and that’s okay. I have a direction and continue to learn more every day. Our brains are wired to find things we’re looking for – if you’re always waiting for things to go wrong, they probably will. We always find the things we are looking for. Keep a positive outlook and your life will reflect that. You will find inspiration when you least expect it. Remember, getting in shape and eating healthy is not a fad or a diet. It’s a lifestyle change! And that’s a change worth making because you are worth it!
Jackie and her husband Tyler have a teenage daughter, Sidney and live near Almont, ND. If you are interested in getting in contact with Jackie, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or email this website.
- What is my goal and why?
- What is holding me back from achieving that goal?
- What if I succeed??
- What steps will I take every day toward achieving this goal?
- What are my “wins” for today?
Get rid of the “all or nothing” mindset when it comes to fitness and nutrition, this is one of those situations where something is really better than nothing. Start the journey and do your best, and you just might find yourself feeling the best you ever have, both physically and emotionally!!