How I’m celebrating my 37th birthday

I turn 37 today, which is by no means monumental. It’s not like 30 (been there, done that) or 40 (it’ll be here before I know it) or even 35. It’s just a random number in the middle of a decade, but every year that pushes me closer to a new decade is becoming significant. Don’t ask me why because I really don’t know.

Already, this year is changing me for the good as I work toward wholeness. And for my birthday, I want to add to that. So, I’m planning a year-long celebration. Sounds fun, right?

Well, I’m using the term celebration loosely. What I really want from my 37th year is better physical health. I don’t know if it’s feasible, but I’m setting myself a goal to lose 37 pounds in the next year. It totally won’t be fun, at least not all the time, but if I reached even half my goal, I’d be doing myself some good.

Why do I want to do this? Well, for starters, I’m embarrassed when I take the kids to the park and I can’t keep up. On scooters or bikes, they zoom ahead, and even if I lightly jog, I can’t keep up and I end up trying to catch my breath, legs and lungs burning. I want them to have an active life and I don’t want to sit on the sidelines.

Second, this whole back pain episode from last week scared me a little. I know that fitness alone won’t keep me from having pain or physical problems, but I can certainly do better for myself and my body.

Third, winter is the worst time for me to make a decision about increasing my physical activity because I don’t have a gym membership and I’d rather walk or run outside, anyway. So winter is the wrong time for me to set any kind of goal. May, however, is the perfect time. The weather is consistently nice. The downside of May is that mid-month, I lose my mid-week preschool mornings.

But a plan can help, so I’ve got one. And I’ll need to anticipate challenges and problems so I don’t get discouraged.

Jordan McQueen | Creative Commons | via unsplash

Jordan McQueen | Creative Commons | via unsplash

Here’s what I think it’s going to take for me to make progress toward this goal:

  • Meal planning and calorie tracking. I often dislike both of these things, but the meal planning keeps me from feeding my family and myself junk all the time and the calorie tracking helps me make better decisions about what I eat. If there is good stuff to eat in this house, then I will eat it. If there is not, then I make poor choices. I’d rather track calories than go on a diet that excludes something because I want to be in charge of my choices.

    Daria Nepriakhina | Creative Commons | via unsplash

    Daria Nepriakhina | Creative Commons | via unsplash

  • Exercise. (Duh.) But specifically, I need to plan it in my day. I’m hoping to get in a daily walk and eventually start the couch to 5K program again. I’ve been inactive long enough that I think walking will be best to start. Once I’m feeling better about making room in my day for a walk, I’ll start running again. And as motivation, I’ll sign up for a 5K for the fall. It’s been many years since I’ve run a 5K (it was just the one time) but I enjoy the challenge. Most of the time.
  • Weekly weigh-ins. I know numbers on a scale don’t tell the whole story, and I usually dread stepping on it once a week, but I need some kind of measure of progress.
  • Accountability and discipline. I’m going to need to plan exercise into my day because it won’t just happen on its own. And I will need the accountability of others asking me how it’s going or checking in with me. That’s partly why I’m blogging about it. I don’t like to admit that I’m not happy with my body or level of fitness, but if I don’t tell anyone that, I won’t make any changes. I’ve tried and failed before to make a good plan for weight loss, but it fizzled for whatever reason. Don’t let me fizzle, okay?

I know everyone has a different idea of what works, and I’d love to hear about your journey to get in better physical fitness or health. For now, this is my plan.

Do you have a health/fitness goal? How do you stick to a weight-loss plan or a fitness regime?

What are the challenges you face or have faced when making decisions for healthy living?

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5 thoughts on “How I’m celebrating my 37th birthday

  1. I love this post, and the concept of getting healthier as a way to celebrate your birthday! Like you, I struggle to keep up with my kids, and often wish I’d spent time getting in shape before I had them. I miss so many opportunities to play.

    Anyway, my big breakthrough the past few years (and by breakthrough I’m referring to the results on the inside, not the outside) has been abandoning the idea of losing weight and simply embracing the commitment to get healthy. Of course losing weight is a part of that, but when I focus on shedding pounds and getting smaller, I inevitably wind up defeated. Part of this is my metabolism, and part of it is my tendency to obsess about things.

    Losing weight is a short-term goal with short-term habits. It consumes every ounce of my focus and energy, only to leave me right back where I started, with the same nasty habits. (I’ve learned this the hard way, having lost 80 lbs. over 18 months in college, which I gained back, and then losing 60 lbs. in 5 months after having Annabell. I gained back most of that, too, and now my metabolism has shut down.) Getting healthy, on the other hand, involves retraining myself to form new, lifelong habits. The results, weight-wise, aren’t quick or dramatic, but the weight I do lose stays off, and I feel so much better to boot!

    For exercise, I focus on building my core muscles and doing strength training. Cardio is mixed in there, but I try to mix it up so I’m building new muscles in that area as well. Muscle burns calories, so I figure if I have more muscle, I’ll burn more calories. 🙂 I don’t weight myself anymore, or if I do, very rarely. Instead, if I’m feeling the need to track results, I measure myself in lots of places and keep a journal. I only measure once a month, because it takes a while for things to change.

    Can’t wait to see how your journey goes! Maybe we can walk together sometime. 🙂

    • These are great thoughts, Alison. Perhaps I will adjust my weigh-ins to monthly, instead of weekly. I don’t like to get discouraged when the numbers don’t move, but I do feel like I need some quantifiable/measurable way to keep on track. I do hope to make lifestyle adjustments as well that contribute to long-term health. Thank you for sharing about your methods and journey! And yes, let’s do that! I’m hoping to get the kids out on their bikes/scooters to a park regularly this summer. (Also, I sometimes wish we were neighbor types so we could walk together regularly.)

  2. Pingback: These are the shoes that remind me what I can do | Living Echoes

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