Incredible difference-makers

I‘m a walkin’, talkin’, livin’, breathin’ cliché:

I joined a fitness boot camp for the first time in my life, AND began the Whole 30, shortly after the new year was born.

In my heart, neither of them have anything to do with resolutions or new years; I’d rather believe they’re a matter of coincidental timing. But I am an unashamed “resolutions girl” with a slew of “do-betters” and “improvements” in my periphery for this year, so maybe (likely) they’re tied to that mulligan we’re thrown after the big ball drops.

More than all other days of the year, I really, really feel like anything is possible on January 1st.

Regardless, weight loss is not my motive or primary concern for either commitment. Taking care of my body is.

Come August, my youngest will head to college and we’ll be empty nesters. Truer words may never have been spoken: “The days are long but the years are short.” From where I sit, it’s painful in some ways, but it’s the natural order of life and I’m more thankful than sad.

With view of that in mind, a hard reality hit me recently:

I’m closer to holding my grand babies than my own children as babies.

Whoa…sobering but beautiful.

Once that season arrives, I want to feel good. I want to be healthy enough to play with them on the floor and keep them for Grammy Camp (load ’em up on sugar and fun and send ’em back rotten and wild) (I kid – sorta).

But here’s the thing: while I have some really good qualities, resolve and follow-through are not my strong suits. I’m easily tempted to eat “just a bite” of junk food…which quickly escalates to a gallon bowl of chocolate ice cream, a squirt of Reddi-Wip (don’t judge), or a bowl of Dove Promises (dark chocolate with almonds–almonds are healthy, right??).

My husband and I went through the Whole 30 last April and my only known cheat was weighing twice over the course of 30 days. I wouldn’t even chew gum. The folks behind the Whole 30 know their plan is more about health and ending a dangerous love affair with sugar and high-calorie/low nutritional value foods than weight loss.  It’s science and physiology, logic and reason. Those qualities are appealing and motivating.

Almost three weeks into this Whole 30 and 2½ weeks into boot camp, there’s something you need to understand:

I’m the one who shouted louder than any of you, “I COULD NEVER DO THAT!”

I’m talking about this much restriction in my meal plan:

  • no sugar or sugar substitutes
  • no added sugar (read your labels–everything has added sugar in some form)
  • no grains (bread AND pasta, for the love…)
  • no dairy
  • no legumes (all beans, peanuts, soy, and their derivatives)
  • no alcohol
  • no MSG, sulfites, or carrageenan (which I’d never noticed, but now realize is in tons of processed foods)

And my boot camp?

  • 5:30-6:30 am, as in BEFORE THE SUN EVEN WAKES UP!
  • Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • With women 10…20…and even over 30 years YOUNGER than me.

I’ve always believed there was no point in even starting; I knew I was doomed to fail because I like a little coffee with my cream and sugar. Plus, I’m deathly allergic to 5:00am.

So why did I bother this time? What would compel me to try not one, but both, when I’ve always been so certain I couldn’t do either?

I discovered three things that are making THE difference this time. Though I have several weeks remaining for both, I believe I’m positioned to finish strong. Here’s what’s keeping me going and why I can make so bold a proclamation:

1. The Fun Factor

My neighbor attends Boot Camp with me. We’re both out of shape, in a class with 75% hardbodies. Neither of us are early morning people and we were intimidated to walk in the door. But we’re doing it; having a partner in crime is keeping us both going. We talk about our fears and hoped-for results on the drive to class; we process together afterwards and laugh at ourselves. A lot. While I can’t say I’m having fun in class, I’m having fun with my friend

On the Whole 30 side, I know I couldn’t make it without my husband joining me. For most people, a restricted diet is NOT going to be fun; but to have another person who is experiencing the same cravings and frustrations – and, more importantly, can make light of it with you – makes a gargantuan difference when what you really want is a roll of Toll House cookie dough.

2. My Choices Affect Others

I love Mandi’s post from last month, The Value of Accountability. We all already know that accountability will help us remain committed; but the thing is, until you’re tested in this area, you cannot fully realize its truth. Knowing something is not the same thing as putting it into practice.

My neighbor and I, my husband and I, we’re in each of these pursuits together. If I falter, they’ll suffer–I can’t have that on my shoulders! While I’m not responsible for their success or failure, I can help make a difference in their outcome.

And there’s another way my choices are affecting others, surprising to me: I’m inspiring them to try things they didn’t think they could do! “If Robin can do it, I can do it!” How’s that for a paycheck?

3. Re-framed Motive

Both of these choices are lifestyle choices, not dieting or hoping to drop a dress size. This is about my long-term health, feeling better, stewarding my body well. I’m finding a sense of accomplishment because I’m actually doing something I’ve often said I could never do.

In one sense, dieting is about what “you” think about me; me trying to follow culture’s Supermodel Skinny mandate. But, suddenly, when my motive shifts to a concern for my health and future with an eye toward playing on the floor with imaginary grand babies, everything changes.

Imagine that.

Does this change your perspective about the way you eat? Might you re-consider fitness as a lifestyle changes to improve your health and wellbeing? If you’ve set out to accomplish lifestyle change in the past, to what do you owe your success or short-comings?

Have a good day,
again and again.

If you feel in your bones the need to simplify so you can live the life you're meant to live...

↓ This is for you.

14 Comments

  1. Sarah

    This is SO inspiring to me, Robin. I’ve been in a constant state of I-need-to-take-better-care-of-myself-but-this-chocolate-is-so-good since around Thanksgiving. My life circumstances do not make it easy to fit in workouts, but I know it CAN be done. I just need to do it already.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective shift!

    • Robin Dance

      Sarah,

      On one hand, I DO feel like such a cliche; but on the other, more important hand, I’M DOING THIS and, to me, for all the RIGHT reasons. I think it’s the only reason I CAN do it, honestly. Before, motive was flawed, but I’m genuinely interested in feeling well and functioning independently for the long haul (God willing 🙂 ).

      It makes me so happy to know that this might have inspired you to JUST DO IT! Please keep me posted; I’m sincerely interested. xo

  2. Katie Harding

    You go girl! I am so impressed with your self control. I am trying to tone up and cut back this year as well but I’m taking it slowly. 🙂 I’m not ready to give up my wine…….yet.

    • Robin Dance

      Katie,

      I promise, I’ve been right where you are :). There’s always a thing (or in my case 3 or 4) that convinced me I couldn’t do either of those.

      And I’m STILL convinced I could never run/do a 5K. People who run, laugh at the idea of a “baby” 5K; but to me, who’s never run a mile (except when I had to in high school), it’s a big deal. I’m NOT a runner. But now I’m wondering, with the right motive, COULD I do it? I don’t know. Right now I’m concentrating on these few things.

      And listen, ANY moderation toward good health IS a great thing. Don’t be deceived into thinking a little cutting back doesn’t matter. It does! 🙂

  3. Kelly

    I’m right there with you! Except, I don’t do my work-outs in the early AM. Although I commend you for that. I started an exercise routine in October twice a week, remained consistent minus a trip that was much more important than my work outs (and those are very important!). When January came, I switched to 3 days a week. It’s amazing how great I feel after these workouts and how I don’t have to convince myself to go anymore, it’s just a part of my routine. I’m sure you can relate!

    • Robin Dance

      Kelly,

      Maybe the difference with an early morning class is I DO have to convince myself to go :). Getting up at 4:50 am isn’t my favorite thing to do 😉 :).

  4. Helene

    I have been blessed with a large family. But I am now at a time in my life where I am realizing that my last baby is probably……my last. I, too, want to be healthy for my grandchildren, but also for my children! A mother’s role is never “over” and I plan to be here for any future support or encouragement they may need. Thanks for the inspiration! I’m off to do my in-house exercise routine……

    • Robin Dance

      Helene,

      Yes!! Healthy for my children, too!! (They just don’t need me to get on the floor to play anymore 😉 ).

  5. Elizabeth

    Thank you for sharing, I needed the encouragement.

    • Robin Dance

      You go, girl!! 🙂

  6. Katherine

    I have all the respect for people who can make it through a Whole30! Waking up early to exercise – that, I can do… and have to do, to keep up with all the ice cream and bread I eat! 🙂

    • Robin Dance

      Katherine,

      HA! A monster bowl of chocolate is what I’m now craving. And I’m making homemade sourdough…and NOT eating it!! Making toast for my son every morning is its own form of torture :).

  7. Veronica

    This is so great! I just started a blog on health and wellness and I talk about many of the same things!

  8. Jo-Lynne Shane

    This is awesome. I did a 21 Day Sugar Detox last summer, and having my husband doing it with me helped a lot. Although he didn’t finish and I did… lol. I never felt better, though. You’re gonna be one fit grandma if you keep it up!! xo

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