30 Days of Health and Contentment: Day 10

maltese cross

Sometimes, you fail.

It’s so hard to keep going when you backslide. That’s the way I feel today.  I’ve tried to make good choices, and I’ve gotten myself outside on my skis, stoking up the metabolism and caloric burn, and still I’ve gained weight. Bah!

The problem with using the scale to monitor you progress is that there are so many variables that can make your weight fluctuate from day-to-day.  How much fiber did you eat yesterday? How much water did you drink? Did you eat beef? (It takes longer to digest.) Did you get enough sleep? Are you stressed? You get the idea.

It is necessary to measure our weight sometimes. How often depends on you. Try and reflect on your own psychology and use your knowledge to make your habits work for you.

Do you get discouraged when you gain? Are you encouraged when you lose? Or, does weight gain motivate you, while weight loss makes you slack off? Answers to these questions can tell you how often to weigh yourself.

Still, you must remember that it isn’t about weight as much as about health. If you are getting healthy and exercising, the weight loss will come.

What do you do when you backslide? How do you handle your efforts to sabotage yourself? What can you do differently? This series is called “health and contentment” for a reason. It isn’t just about losing weight. It’s about gaining quality of life.

Mixing It Up

What if you do aerobic exercise two days in a row? Is that okay?

Sure! The important part of the equation is to get three 40-minute sessions of target heart-rate workouts in per week. If you can do more, go for it!  Just don’t forget that the balance and meditation time that is worked into a yoga session is important not just for your body, but also for your mind.

Outdoor Exercise Is Better

One reason you may want to do two consecutive days of aerobic exercise is because the weather is right.  We had a lot of snow during the first week of January. This week, it is warming up, and we’re expecting rain on Thursday. Now is the time to take advantage of cross-country skiing before the snow melts.

Outdoor exercise brings a plethora of benefits, not the least of which is stress and anxiety reduction. A recent scholarly study reported in Frontiers in Psychology concluded that “physical activity in nature and feelings of connection to nature enhance psychological health and well-being.”

Not only that, but those who exercise outdoors tend to exercise for longer periods and get a better work out. See “The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors,” by Gretchen Reynolds for the New York Times.

The sunlight (even if it isn’t sunny) is a mood enhancer; the fresh air can clear your mind and help you to sleep better. We all know that being tired puts you on the fast track to making poor food choices.

The lesson here is to look at your habits holistically. Just because you gained a pound doesn’t mean you’re doing it all wrong, or that the lifestyle changes have failed. Keep seeking the positive, keep trying to make the best choices you can, keep on going!

We’re all cheering for you!

This post is not intended as medical advice. Consult with your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.

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