Last year, I spent the 40 days before Easter dieting and exercising. It all started when a publicist asked if I wanted to try the DDP Yoga system. I like yoga so I agreed to test it out for a review for this blog. It wasn’t supposed to be a serious and intense project but it just started to evolve that way. Since I knew how hard it was to get motivated to stick with a diet and exercise program, I decided to seize on my burst of enthusiasm and see if I could make it the full 40 days.
Well, I did! I posted my results and they were great.
Phase One: Getting Started
I sometimes ask myself, “What made you want to do this?” As I think back, I think it was a confluence of two events:
1) I was fed up with not being able to lose the last pregnancy pounds from my son. I was at the point where I needed to either go out and buy clothes in larger sizes or find a way to get back into the clothes in my closet.
2) I was flattered by the offer to test out an exercise program featuring a real fitness celebrity and wanted to do a good job. Even though the publicist making the offer likely blast posted this to a thousand bloggers, it felt like a personal invitation. It was like someone saying, “Hey, we see the potential in you. If you will only try, you could be great at this!”
So, you start with that enthusiasm and that belief that you are about to change your life. If you are currently pursuing a diet and exercise New Year’s Resolution, you might be in that phase right now.
Phase Two: Maintenance
After my 40 days were up, though, the challenges changed. It was now no longer about changing my life and losing weight, it was about doing the hard work to maintain what I had achieved.
This is not the glamorous or exciting part of diet and exercise. This is a bit like housework. You have to stay on top of it but even when you are working really hard, no one really notices or congratulates you. You look exactly the same. You are supposed to maintain your weight. Why should anyone care?
This is also the difficult time when your weight will creep up slightly from your lowest point. It has to really because that’s the way a healthy, functioning body works. I also had lost a little more than I needed to in my initial phase so I had some margin to gain.
This is the phase when they turn the cameras off on shows like The Biggest Loser but these are the exact moments that we wish they kept the cameras rolling. What happens to those contestants the first 30 days they are home?
It’s hard to see those numbers climb on the scale, and hard motivationally. You are still glad to be in the right weight range but you know that you were once skinnier than you are now and it is hard to feel great about now when you remember then.
So, what kept me going during this first maintenance phase? Swimming lessons! I was starting my weight maintenance phase just about the time my children were headed to summer swim lessons. My son and I were in the “Mommy and Me” class and I would have to wear a bathing suit for a month. I knew I had to keep up my goals at least until swim lessons were over.
And with experimentation and switching things up, I managed to stay put for a month.
And what happened after swimming lessons? I’ll let you know tomorrow. 🙂