13 things I'm doing to get out of a diet + exercise funk


People, it's been a long winter. In the midst of the grey, dull, cold, snowy skies that just wouldn't quit, a ridiculously long bout of sickness, and general winter funk, I feel like I've lost my exercise and healthy eating mojo. I wrote about it very briefly on here, but early this winter I took the big personal step of hiring a trainer to help me with my goals of losing weight and getting more fit. 

It's been one of the best things I've done for myself. Ever. 

But even though my trainer is amazing and those two days with her are a highlight of my week, there's still all those other hours of the week where I'm on my own. 

For me, good decisions beget good decisions. So when we were missing sessions because of weather and illness and whatever else was getting in the way, I found the interruption of our schedule becoming an excuse to slack off. And eventually the slacking off sucked up all the enthusiasm that I'd had before. 

A few weeks ago, my trainer and I had a 'come to Jesus' talk. Yes, I may have cried standing in the middle of the club. But in my defense, she had too. I was sick of the funk and ready to get back on track again. I was feeling frustrated. Beat down. And pretty discouraged.

We talked through a few ideas but that night I came home and made a list in my moleskine (this is how I use my moleskine for journaling) of the things that I do that help me pull out of a funk. I've been sticking to this list pretty religiously that past few weeks and it's really helping me feel back on track and moving in the right direction. 

I thought I'd share my list with you because I think it's helpful to see how other people do things and most likely, I'm going to need to refer to this post over and over again when the hard days come. And because many of you have told me that you want to hear more about what I'm doing with my healthy goals. When I started down this path my dad said to me something along the lines of "say it out loud." And I think there's something to be said for letting people know what you're going through, how you're doing and having that accountability for change. 


  • Finishing the day well. Doing all the dinner dishes, tidying up the counters, taking a bath, figuring out where my exercise clothes are...all these little details help me both go to sleep and wake up the next morning feel organized and in control of the day ahead. Chaos and disorganization are two of my favorite excuses to fall off the wagon.

  • Living in workout clothes. Sometimes I don't feel like that walk or time on the rowing machine, or trip to the gym because the thought of finding my workout clothes, putting them on and going out the door makes me tired. I figure if I'm already dressed, it makes finding time to exercise that much easier. And bonus, putting on jeans and a tee suddenly feels so "put together."

  • Becoming BFFs with my water bottle. I have this nifty one that was a kickstarter project of a friend of mine. I love it, which is good because I take it everywhere. 

  • Reading things that inspire me. I'm taking time in the evenings, or while I'm making dinner to read books that motivate and inspire me to keep on keeping on. Currently: Foodist, Eating Well mag, Tosca Reno (in moderation--she's pretty intense, but the principles are good), The Perfect Recipe, Cooking Light. And this article with similar (and excellent) ideas.

  • Making lists (my List of 3), and writing down what I eat--a very enlightening experience.

  • Cleaning out my fridge. I love my fridge. It's huge. And when it's clean and organized it's so motivating to me. Before (almost) every grocery shop, I wipe down shelves, deal with anything moldy and combine the 15 bags of shredded cheese that have been opened and partially used.

  • Freezing fruits and vegetables before they go off so they're ready for smoothies. This was a lightbulb moment I had with a friend a few weeks ago when she told me that before her languishing kale, spinach or berries go bad in the fridge, she tosses them in ziploc baggies and freezes them for smoothies. I cannot tell you how many bags of stinky kale that never got finished have been tossed to the chickens. Freezing them? It changed my world.

  • Charging up my favorite fitness gadgets and getting all appy. I've had a JawboneUP band for awhile and after trying several different kinds, it is my current favorite. I love the app, love the data, but got out of the habit of wearing it. So I charged everything, updated my app and have been wearing it again. I'm also using My Fitness Pal for some food journaling and syncing it with the UP band app and getting a good idea of how I'm moving, sleeping, sitting, etc. (In fact, it just buzzed to tell me I've been sitting too long.)

  • Praying for my kids. So I know this doesn't sound like it belongs in my list but let me explain. I have found that I am becoming a bit of a worrier. During Lent, I decided that instead of giving something up, I was going to spend solid time praying for my children. (This book [ugly cover warning] has been the perfect framework for me.) Obviously, worry is no good. And these quiet moments put me in such a healthier frame of mind. It has been a really powerful part of my day.

  • Making my bed every morning. Okay, I know most people do this already, but there are many (MANY) mornings when I slip out of the blankets and leave behind a child or two still snoozing in the sheets. We often get middle of the night and early morning visitors so the bed often goes unmade. Now, when I wake up, I dump the kids onto the floor so I can make the bed. Kidding. I don't. But I do make a point to go back and make it. Makes everything feel a little more buttoned up.

  • Sharing the load. Speaking of kids, I've broken out the old chore chart again. I've realized that if I reach the end of the day and feel like my kids' time hasn't been productive that day, it puts me in a bad mood. Really, what's probably happening is that I'm taking my guilt out on my kids--that's another conversation. But organization, a good plan, and helping out the family is good for EVERYONE. Right now, as I type, there's a small person setting the dinner table. It's one of her chores. And sharing the load makes me happy. And that makes everyone happy, right?

  • Taking a new approach. Besides trying to do some intentional things to keep me on track, I'm also beginning spring with a new approach. I'm going to be focusing a lot harder and more intensely on nutrition and swapping out some of my training sessions to focus on this. I'm feeling really good about this new direction.

  • Talking about it. I swear, I won't be so wordy in the future, but I think it's going to be really good for me to keep talking about how I'm doing, what I'm working on and where things are going. So prepare for more. 

So obviously, I'm not doing all these things, every single day. I mean, let's be realistic. But I'm trying my darnedest to stay on top of these little things that have a big pay off for me. If you see me out in my jeans, not carrying my water bottle, you may want to ask me if my bed is made. (No, people who see me in real life. Please don't. I'm already wincing at the thought of publishing this, and the people who will read it.) But for now, finding the things that help this absolutely chock-full life feel slightly balanced and in control are just what this journey needs. 

Thanks for listening to my lengthy list of to-do's. More soon...xo.