Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Heading into 2014, Healthy

Merry Christmas, everyone! Today is Christmas Eve and I hope you are all enjoying family and friends, as well as lots of delicious food! I know I will be.

Last week I described my system for Reading through the Bible in a Year, the EASY way. This was one of two 2013 goals I had. Yesterday, on December 23, 2013, I am excited to announce that I finished reading the entire Bible! Let me tell you, if you would like a rewarding 2014 goal, prayerfully consider choosing to read through the Bible. You will not be disappointed.

I created a tab (above) with the entire plan I followed all set up for you. Today, I'd like to give you a FREE printable copy of the same plan.

Here is a section of the reading plan

Bible in a Year plan

I designed this printable so you can put it in a 3-ring binder, or cut it down the middle for a half sized planner, like my own Day Runner. The design is also perfect for simply folding or cutting in half or quarters and using as a bookmark in your Bible. I do hope this inspires and encourages you to read through the Bible- if I can do it, you can too!

Speaking of the holidays and all of the yummy goodies that come with this time of year, I want to share what my other 2013 goal was: exercising. You can read about the beginning of my journey, back in February, here.

I have never been what you call, athletic. Sweat revolted me. I seriously thought there was something psychologically wrong with anyone who enjoyed running. It turns out I was really missing something wonderful: good health. My own words from back in February really sum things up:

This has always been a detestable subject for me; I hate movement of any kind. My idea of a good day involves the same spot on the couch (I am sitting in it now) and not moving from that spot unless I absolutely have to. But I know (we all know) the benefits of regular exercise and I was convicted to add this to my life. I am not aiming for a goal weight, looking for six-pack abs, or trying to fit into a specific pants size (although these secondary benefits are appealing!), my reasons are: health and longevity. I want more energy to play with my kids, more muscle strength for daily life, to make healthy food and portion size choices, to stabilize hormones, and to improve overall health.

So how did a former lazy-bones change her lifestyle? I just did it. I know it sounds like a non-answer, but this is the truth. I realized that I could make excuses, or I could see "excuses" as challenges to overcome. Instead of saying "I'm too busy" I said, "Where can I fit exercise into my busy schedule?" Rather than seeing my children as a reason I could not exercise, I asked myself "How can I entertain/distract my kids while I work out?" I did this little activity with every excuse I could come up with, including "I hate exercising" which became "I may hate it for 20 minutes, but I will love it the other 23 hours and 40 minutes of my day". Seeing each excuse as a challenge has been key to adding daily exercise to my life!

From January until about April or May of last year I spent 4-6 days a week using 20 minute videos to exercise at home. When the weather turned nicer, I began jogging outside- maybe I would make it a mile (start small). The point was that I was doing something. And it was changing my body (baby weight from two pregnancies anyone?), giving me more energy, and improving my mood. I really became hooked on exercise and enjoyed my 20-30 minutes each day!

When the summer reached higher temperatures, I stopped running in the mornings because even they were steamy. But because of the fresh air, I took the kids on a lot of walks in the double stroller for exercise (mine is the old model with one kid in front of the other, and let me tell you, pushing that thing is definitely a work out!) We don't have central air, so I stopped working out with videos. By the end of August, I was afraid I would stop exercising all together if I didn't get another plan of some kind. I talked with my husband and we were able to join our local YMCA in September.

Today, I'm at the point where I can enjoy an hour at the gym doing various cardio and strength training exercises. I know that's not for everyone, but for me it's a peaceful time by myself. It's clear to me, as well as friends and family, that I have lost weight, and that I do have more strength and stamina than ever before. I love this! Now I can run around with my kids and wear them out instead of the other way around. I'm no longer a couch potato that is always disgruntled. I have so much more energy and I can see an improvement in (oddly enough) my house cleaning this past year because I exercise. Now I'm one of the psychologically impaired running-types, and I love it!

Perhaps you would like to make exercise a 2014 goal? I would like to offer some of the tools that really helped me along this past year in hopes they'll encourage you as well.

Lose it! app
This app is a great way to ensure that you are eating well. I keep track of my exercises and food consumed each day. It helps me with long-termed goal tracking, and even stores my own frequently used recipes for logging purposes. You can also get accountability with this app by finding your friends. I'm awifenmother@gmail.com and I would be happy to go on this journey with you.

20 minute DVD's
Jillian Michaels is amazing in her 31 Day Shred video. You get an intense workout in only 20 minutes; as you read in my February post, this makes "I don't have time to exercise" obsolete. Win, win! There are a ton of 20 minute videos by other great instructors, in fact, please take a moment to mention your favorites in the comments section so we can help each other find great resources.

Exercise Tracker
I used various types of trackers for exercising, but I wished I'd had a simple calendar-type where I could check off the days I did exercise. Then I could see at a glance if I was slacking off one week, or if I was holding steady. Since I did not have a form to do this last year, I created my own for all of us to share.This tracker follows the 2014 calendar year. It's meant to be minimalist; merely mark the days you exercise so at a glance you can watch a habit form or continue. I did add a spot to track your weight because I know this can be a good tracker for many. Please just hear my heart when I say that meeting a popular or particular weight should not be your main goal. Rather fitness and consistency should be your aim. That said, many of us are shedding extra pounds, and it is valid to track weight loss. Again, I just love you and wish for you to maintain a healthy (not necessarily "skinny") body. I actually did not step on a scale once until about 4-5 months into exercising because weight loss was not my expectation, health was. Please take these words as my opinion and do what is best for you as approved by your doctor.

2014 Exercise Tracker Color
2014 Exercise Tracker B&W

Seriously, if anyone knows the proper way to post photos of documents, I'm all ears

I hope these tools give you a push towards better health in 2014. I probably won't be back until after the New Year, so God Bless and Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all your encouragement! I've been able to stick to daily Bible reading and regular exercise thanks to your example! What are your goals for next year? Want to run the Indianapolis mini marathon with me? :)