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Small Steps, Big Changes

The start of 2017 has been . . . rough. Boise has been covered with snow and ice for much of the last two weeks. And when our street has been drivable, I've often chosen to stay home rather than expose my little ones to the freezing temperatures. It's been challenging to do things that make me feel strong, connected, creative, and joyful when I've been stuck at home, reading Is Your Mama a Llama? and watching episodes of Daniel Tiger over and over and over again. I'm struggling (and often failing) to reach my step goal and I can't seem to stop myself from sneaking into the pantry every twenty minutes for a handful of chocolate chips. I haven't seen nearly enough of my family or friends, and I am experiencing a bad case of writer's block. But today is a new day. And it is a day particularly filled with hope and possibility because it is the first day of Body Back Transformation.

I originally started blogging during my first Body Back session, two and a half years ago. To say that the experience changed my life is an understatement. I went from feeling like I should exercise and eat well to wanting to make healthy choices. I also started writing again after quite a long hiatus. With the support of some amazing ladies, I transformed my body and my attitude. Even more significantly, my spirit was nurtured as I became part of a wonderful village of moms. I felt strong, connected, creative, and joyful throughout the eight-week session and beyond.

Despite that incredible experience, I was conflicted about whether to enroll in this session. Whereas I undoubtedly need to refocus on eating healthy food, kick-start my exercise routine, and reincorporate meditation into my daily practice in order to feel my best, I didn't want to set myself up for disappointment. What if planning and preparing healthy meals gives way to ordering pizza? What if I stop meditating as soon as the session is over? What if I don't shave any time off my mile? What if the workouts are just too much for me?

After living with these worries for a few days, I realized that I could create a handful of totally doable goals that would help me feel strong, connected, creative, and joyful. And even though these small steps are far from earth-shattering, I am confident that they will be game changers for me. Sleep, hydration, exercise, and good nutrition are the foundation of a healthy life, so making small changes to improve each of these areas will add up to a major transformation. I'm sure I will have set backs, but that's where my village comes into play. From my previous experience with the program, I know that I will have a whole group of women to support and encourage me. Together, we can do hard things.

In order to feel strong, connected, creative, and joyful . . .

#1: I will sleep from 11pm - 6am each night. Even though I have always had terrible sleep habits, I've never made a sleep goal for myself. I am a total night owl, but I always feel so much better when I've had a good seven or eight hours of sleep. And since my days of sleeping in are pretty much over, I need to make it a priority to get to bed early enough so I'm not cursing when my kids wake me up in the morning.

#2: I will drink 100 ounces of water each day. I've struggled with an addiction to Diet Coke for as long as I can remember. For the last couple of months I have gotten down to just having one (or sometimes two) a day. I think I can completely cut it out if I really focus on drinking enough water. I came up with 100 ounces because one recommendation I often hear is to divide your weight by half and drink that many ounces. Water you drink during exercise and meals doesn't count, though. One hundred ounces should be more than enough for me to meet this standard. Plus, it's a cool number!

#3: I will exercise 6 days a week. This will probably be the easiest goal for me to accomplish. I love going to Stroller Strides and other exercise classes. Doing at-home workouts is also fun, especially when my family joins in. It's been more challenging to go for runs. With the sidewalks of my neighborhood covered in ice, I've had to rely on the treadmill. Normally, I would just focus on high intensity interval training until spring, but Curt and I signed up for a 10K in the middle of February. To prepare for that race, I need to put the miles in. Plus, it's a great chance to catch up on podcasts and audio books. So I have incorporated three runs into my weekly exercise schedule.

#4: I will plan and prepare healthy meals each Sunday. Now this step is going to be the hardest for me. I've done lots of meal planning and preparing in the past, but it takes me so long. I often just don't make the time for it. And when I don't, my family ends up eating Firehouse subs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and pizza way too often. So for the next eight weeks I'm going to try something new. I am going to pretty much eat the same 21 meals each week. Actually, I am going to eat the same 8 meals each week. Every morning I will eat the same breakfast, and then I will make enough of each dinner that we can have leftovers for lunch the following day. This isn't super exciting, but it is going to dramatically simplify the planning, shopping, and preparing process. Once I get comfortable with these healthy meals, I can start making adjustments and slowly incorporate new recipes into the mix.

With this plan in place, I am excited to begin my Winter 2017 Body Back Transformation journey. I know that I won't "get my body back" -- it's been forever transformed by the miracle of pregnancy and birth -- but I am confident that I will feel stronger and more connected, creative, and joyful each step of the way.