Dragging yourself out of bed can be quite challenging, especially Monday mornings ugh..., no one likes those. At times I still find myself struggling but having a morning routine really helps me set the tone for the day, and lets me be so much more productive.
Studies show that a good morning routine and that feeling of being productive in our day, leads to a more peaceful evening and a better night's sleep.
"You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine." - John C. Maxwell
Take That Morning Walk
Stop snoozing and get your butt outside!
Studies show that getting outside first thing in the morning helps you stay focused, boosting your mood and helping you make healthier choices throughout the day. (healthline.com)
Usually I take my dogs out for a run, or just take them on a nice long walk to get rid of most their energy. Works perfect for them and for me since I also get my daily steps in.
So many health benefits when exercising, so let's get it done first thing in the morning and you don't have to worry about it for the rest of the day.
I always feel better physically and mentally and find that I start my day with so much more positive energy!
Have That Cup Of Coffee
After I get back from my morning run I usually go straight to the kitchen and make myself a delicious cup of coffee. Just the smell of that rich, strong aroma of brewed coffee hits the spot. Consuming around one to two cups of coffee a day really gives me that extra energy boost I need to get on with my day.
Satisfying my taste buds and filling me up, coffee goes along perfectly with my peanut butter and jelly sandwich I like to enjoy every morning for breakfast. Yum!
On another note coffee also boosts my metabolism and lets me take my regular morning poop. Eek! Quite nasty I know, but absolutely necessary.
Coffee is full of unique antioxidants, it reduces inflammation in your cells, helping to fight off conditions like cancer and arthritis, it also improves your gut health and reduces risk of depression. (https://projecthotmess.com/)
So go ahead and have that cup of coffee!
Gather Your Thoughts
Don't stress about jumping right into your day. In between drinking your coffee, and taking your morning shower you should really spend some time to just relax, breathe and gather your thoughts.
Planning my day keeps me organized and motivates me to actually get stuff done. Not every day is a good one, of course we all have off days, but especially when I'm feeling depressed or unmotivated I like to take my time to just think and get a perspective.
If you have a journal go ahead and take it out, plan that dream vacation you've been wanting to go on for so long. Write down your thoughts and goals you want to achieve, life lessons you have learned, things you have accomplished or want to in the future, the list goes on and on..
Studies show that taking the time to write down your thoughts in the morning will help you clear your mind, making you a more successful, happier and a healthier human being. (chriswinfield.com)
Set A Realistic Goal
Maybe trying to get up at 4 a.m. is not such a good idea when you are usually used to sleeping till 8 a.m. or longer. Set a realistic goal for yourself something you can stick to, you want it to be a lifestyle change so be smart about it.
Noticing how I'm lacking in confidence and positive attitude when I skip out on my routine, really makes my day way more stressful! Feeling like I'm always behind in time trying to catch up I get overwhelmed and discouraged easily.
Not a nice feeling, so I'm trying to avoid it at all costs!
You snooze you lose!
26.2 miles, that is the length of a full marathon. Can you imagine running that? It was quite challenging and I did cry a few times during training but I did it! What a life changing experience it was.
It's all in your mind. Doubt kills you, so don't let it get to you, be confident and believe in yourself if you really want to, you can accomplish anything!
You probably think "Yup that's easier said than done" but let me tell you, once I changed my mindset and really believed I could I was unstoppable.
My Running Buddy
I was always a more active person. I suppose playing a lot of soccer back in high school kept me on my toes. I was always more of a sprinter rather than a long distance runner, the longest run I ever did (when I did go out for a run) was maybe two miles. I honestly sucked at long distance running and never cared much for it.
My dog was actually the one who motivated me to commit to running. As a Siberian Husky breed she absolutely adores it and always has a ton of energy!
When I first got her she was just a pup, I took her on short runs but as she got older and my stamina improved, our runs became longer and longer. She loved it and I started loving it as well.
She was the one who motivated me, who pushed me to run, and that's what a running buddy is all about! When starting out its not a bad idea to have someone who keeps you inspired to run, in my case it was my dog, for other people it might be a friend or their significant other.
Why A Marathon?
Unemployed at the time and being in some sort of debacle with important life decisions to make I had no idea what my next step was going to be, I searched for answers looking for a way out; a path, guidance...
Running a Marathon was the perfect answer to all of my problems! Doing some research and getting some positive feedback from people who finished one, I was determined to try it out and challenge myself.
To accomplish something that most people haven't, to find a purpose in life, to gain confidence and prove to myself that I am not a failure!
Eagerly searching, I found the perfect marathon which was a 24 hour drive from where I lived. The majority of my marathon route was alongside the ocean which I was extremely excited about!
Being my own coach with eight months of intense training ahead, I found help from online sites to create my very own training plan. Researching training techniques, and finding key tips for first time marathon runners, I spend a lot of time preparing. ( runnersworld.com has some great training tips)
When others went out partying, I stayed home being very strict with myself. Desperately clinging to my goal I was not about to quit!
How did I stay motivated?
You see, running is like a drug. When you exercise your brain reduces endorphins, its a chemical in the brain that act as natural painkillers, reducing stress and making you more relaxed. Getting addicted to that feeling I wanted it back as much as possible!
Combining it with traveling also helped me commit, since I have never been that far out to the West Coast before and I was excited to run in such beautiful nature. From the pictures online I could tell it was absolutely stunning out there!
Power Of Mind
Training was brutal. It took a lot of self discipline to stick to my training schedule.
Thoughts are energy. So whenever I hit a wall mentally I really had to dig deep to stop my negative thoughts, identify them and control them. Deciding what you think plays a huge role when training! Its all about staying positive and looking ahead.
12 miles was the longest run I did during training, it took me around three hours to complete. Being frustrated with my time, I was feeling depressed and unmotivated. "How on earth will I be able to run 26 miles? Maybe this wasn't a good idea after all? What if I fail?" Doubt and fear of failing made me weak and running a marathon didn't sound like a good idea after all.
Picking myself up every time I crashed and realizing that I'm the only one who can get me through this and the only one I can depend on made me stronger. Believing in myself, and trusting myself I gained confidence.
Running Through The Finish Line
Starting off from scratch, not having any experience at all, it was the willpower and determination, believing that I can, that made this possible.
With a time of 4 hours and 50 minutes I completed my very first marathon! Feeling emotional and unbelievable proud of myself I knew that whatever life would throw at me next I would be ready!
Running made such a huge impact on my life, I can't imagine ever stopping! Having that extra confidence and that positive outlook on life, I feel stronger than ever before.
Planning on running a few more marathons in the near future I want to keep pushing myself, to keep growing stronger mentally, and to remind myself that there really are no limits! The whole process of training, learning to have self discipline and to not give up is what got me to where I am now.
Its a saying that "The person who starts a marathon is not the same person who finishes a marathon" I cannot argue with that.
Belly rumpling, feeling tired and light headed I could not take it anymore. I was starving and needed food fast!
Stumbling into the kitchen I thought to myself — “Just something small, just a little snack to settle my hunger a bit.”
Let me tell you, once I started eating I could not stop!
Before I realized what had happened, I already demolished three peanut butter sandwiches, six chocolate chip cookies, and spooned empty half of an entire nutella jar. Yikes!
Instead of stopping though, I continued eating. I failed anyways so why not just indulge in more food, right?
Feeling guilty and so terribly unhappy after, I told myself — “I’ll get right back on track tomorrow and eat absolutely nothing to make up for it”
Wow! What an unhealthy mindset! I can’t believe I did this to myself.
Growing up I never had a problem with food, since I have always been active I never struggled with weight gain. I suppose the pressure of social media, and the unrealistic body images triggered me. I got upset with the way I looked and to think I wasn’t good enough and attractive enough was absolutely absurd!
Learning To Love And Accept Myself
Starving myself pretty much all week with less than 1200 calories per day, I was feeling weak and became extremely food focused. Counting every single calorie that went into my mouth I thought the less I eat, the faster results will show.
The amount of calories you should eat in a day depends on your height, weight, age, and activity level. Obviously there are safe ways to loose weight and you can find a lot of useful information online. (livestrong.com)
I however, was clueless and had no idea how much I was hurting my body. Being intensely active and burning a lot of calories every day, my body was screaming for more food and vitamins to consume!
After a few months of barely eating anything, I started to experience side symptoms; frequent dizzy spells, terrible mood swings, always feeling tired with no energy I was a wreck.
Aware that something had to change and that I could not go on living like this I knew I had to stop my unhealthy diet. But how could I? Gaining weight scared me and I was striving, aiming to look top notch with “the perfect” body.
Getting quite a lot of attention and compliments from coworkers, friends, and even strangers on how thin and good I looked motivated me even more to continue my unhealthy diet.
How did I start loving and accepting myself for who I was?Opening up to family members and close friends helped a lot! Waking up every morning looking in the mirror and telling myself — “ I am beautiful just the way I am!” Starting to appreciate my body and what it does for me on a daily basis. Being thankful and happy to be healthy, and learning that no opinion matters but my own! No More Food Restricting
Trying to eat extremely healthy ended up not being healthy at all.
Cutting out all chocolates, fats, and carbs from my diet I had some intense cravings! When others ate donuts and burgers, I would eat salads and fruits, and even then I was aware of my calorie intake.
Obviously the cravings took the better of me and when they did, I could not stop binging on all things sweet. The amount I was eating was insane! I felt guilty and embarrassed so I was eating secretly, hiding, so no one would see.
Starting to not restrict any food groups helped me find my balance. No more cravings because I learned to listen to my body. I still eat pretty healthy, but if I want a piece of chocolate after lunch, or if I’m craving ice cream after dinner I won’t say no.
Now that my mind knows I can have anything I want, my cravings are almost non existent.
Treat yourself and don’t feel guilty doing so. You are feeding your precious body so learn to love and enjoy the food you are consuming!I Stopped Weighing Myself
Being obsessed with the scale, I weight myself multiple times a day.
Having this particular number in mind on what my ideal weight should be, I was devastated whenever I had gained a few extra pounds overnight. I’d make up for it by eating next to nothing the entire day to get back to my “normal” weight.
Unhappy and fed up with the constant pressure of maintaining a certain weight, I started asking myself if it was really worth sacrificing my happiness for. After all, why should a number on the scale have a such a huge impact on my life?
Knowing how much it mattered to me and that I got triggered every time I did step on that damn scale, I stopped weighing myself for good.
Weight can fluctuate by as much as ten pounds everyday, which is totally normal. Reason for that would be hydration and fluid balance, depending how much water you consume a day and how often you go to the bathroom. Hormones, as well as muscle mass are all so critical to weight gain. (healthysimplelife.com)
Understanding all this by doing my research, helped me forget the scale and I focused more on how I felt, rather than a stupid number that really means nothing.Getting My Perspectives Straight
As I mentioned earlier, I have always been extremely active, running was and will always be my passion. Yet, when I was in a calorie deficit it was hard for me to keep up with my daily training, do to lack of energy.
Starting to dread going for my runs I felt like poop!
Slacking off and not being able to run half as long as I usually did, I did not nourish my body like I should have, and still expecting to have the same results in my training was absolutely nuts!
Running was too important for me to give up, and seeing that my body could not keep up with my training I had to get my perspectives straight!
After changing my eating habits and increasing my calorie intake, my training improved and I felt healthier again. Focusing on my happiness and keeping myself occupied with the things I love to do (like running) I stopped focusing so much on my “looks” and started to enjoy life by just being myself.
No more calorie counting, no more starving myself to look a certain way, no more binge eating, no more food restricting!
When I’m hungry I eat, period.
I drank a bottle of wine tonight — and that’s ok.
My feelings are damp, and foggy, exactly why tonight is a good night.
I feel good, refreshed, and at peace with myself. It’s been so long…too long.
I’m sitting out on the porch—alone, just me thinking, or not, whatever I prefer doing because tonight I’m living in the moment.
Gazing at the stars, I’m blessed with the perfect view.
A cold gushing breeze touching my face, whirling strays of locks in my face, leaving me in shivers in my light silky fabric pajamas — I feel ok. My mind and body are at ease.
I had trouble relaxing these couple of days, too busy worrying about life I kept stressing myself out, feeling overwhelmed, and anxious— but not tonight. No, tonight I can relax, I can breathe, I can shut off.
I can feel my lungs bursting in my chest, soaking up every bit of oxygen this summer night has to offer while listening to insects buzzing in the night sky, and crickets singing their lullabies to one another, enjoying their company is all I need — because tonight I feel ok.