Week 36: Top 11 lessons of 2011. (So far.)

Alternate post title: “The run that almost wasn’t—that was—that probably shouldn’t have been—but I’m glad was.”

Does that make any sense? No? Well, that’s why I made it the alternate title.

The run I’m talking about that “almost wasn’t,” is the run I went on yesterday afternoon. While I ran, a lot of random thoughts went through my head (like usual) and turned into the premise for this post: Over these first two weeks of 2011, I have had a few lessons in weight loss and working out. This week, I want to impart a few tidbits of wisdom, in the hopes that you won’t have to learn these lessons the hard way, like I may have.

#1. s-NO-w problem. A little snow never hurt anyone. Watch your step, or get special spikes for your shoes for better traction, and you’ll be fine taking your workout outside. But, BE careful! During my run yesterday, it started to snow, so the sidewalks became slick. I ended up falling flat on my butt. I didn’t get hurt—but I will most definitely be more careful from now on. (And that is one reason my run probably “should not have been.”)

#2. Wear enough gear for the outdoors. Like I just said: It’s snowing, it’s cold, but you can still walk or run outside. Just make sure you wear the right gear, even if that means doubling up everything you put on. Running tights, sweatpants, a long-sleeved shirt, t-shirt, running jacket, ear warmers, a hat, and mittens have been my running attire during my last several runs. (I like to think that the extra five pounds of clothes I’m wearing means that I’m burning more calories.)

#3. But don’t wear the wrong gear. Yesterday, I tried wearing a scarf so my face wouldn’t be so cold during my run. All I could find was my scratchy wool scarf. Wrong choice. During the entire run all I could smell was a flock of dirty sheep.

#4. Laugh at the insanity of it all. During a snowstorm the other night, I was running on the back roads near my apartment so I could avoid traffic. I did not, however, avoid the incredulous gazes of everyone who was out shoveling their driveways or sidewalks. I just smiled and waved and continued on my way.

#5. When you’re the least motivated, be prepared to have your best workout. I had NO energy or ambition to run last night. I finally decided to suck it up and get outside. I ended up feeling great when I got going and ran 4.5 miles. So, next time you’re unmotivated, just get moving—you’ll surprise yourself.

#6. Slow & steady wins the weight loss race. I may have only lost half a pound this week, but, I have also not deprived myself of a crazy chocolatey brownie on Sunday, tacos, a nice dinner out with a friend, and a couple birthday drinks this week. By not depriving myself, but still eating smart 90% of the time, I have been able to continue my slow, steady weight loss—and will continue to keep it off.

#7. Eat a workout for lunch. Have you ever had things pop up that make it impossible to do your normal fitness routine after work? Tonight, for instance, I’m heading into the city with my roommate to celebrate our birthday. In order to fit in today’s workout, I came into work extra-early and then took a long lunch so I could run & shower, and then still leave work at my normal time. Squeezing in the workout during lunch allowed me to get in my scheduled run without ruining my plans for later.

#8. Love your sleep. Okay, it’s not hard to love sleep—but most of you probably don’t get enough. I used to stay up late at night and suffer when getting up early in the morning. Now that I work out every day, I make myself go to bed early. (There is no drawback—I just watch less bad reality television.) Being more active means your body needs more sleep, or else you’ll become run down or injured. Embrace your longer sleeping hours & know they’re giving your body time to recover.

#9. Make sure you check your serving sizes. Keeping track of calories and nutrients is important when you’re trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight and diet. I tried some new frozen ravioli last week, and I was stoked that they were so low in calories for so much food, especially pasta… It wasn’t ‘til after I ate them that I realized I had actually eaten two servings instead of one. Watch those labels!

#10. Keep an eye on your goals. I have a calendar where I chart the workouts that I want to do every week for my training, and then I write under those workouts what I actually did. As the calendar fills up, it keeps me motivated to complete my next day’s workout. It also motivates me to see how far I’ve come over the last weeks or months.

#11. Never give up! Cliché, but true. I already told you how I fell on my butt yesterday during my run. There was definitely a car in the driveway next to where I fell, with people inside. They probably thought I was (1) crazy for running in the snow, (2) laughed when I fell down, and (3) thought I was even crazier when I got up, brushed the snow off my butt, and took off running again. But, I’m proud that I just got up and kept going, instead of turning around and walking back home (which I thought about doing for a split second). Whether you fall down literally, or let your diet fall into an unhealthy state, you always have the choice to get back up again.

What have you learned so far in 2011?

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 147 pounds
This week: 146.5 pounds (Only 1.5 pounds away – WOW!)
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Happy birthday to me! :)
Amanda
@jockey_amanda