Back to Basics: 9 Things That Worked (an argument against creativity)

I want it so bad. And I bet you know what I mean.

I want that feeling of effervescence. Of pleasure after pain. Of demanding to be given challenges, then overcoming them.

Like most addicts eventually do, I’ve slipped, and slipped hard. My days are spent hunched over my phone or staring into my computer screen, and shoving food into my face hole like we’re about to have some kind of food shortage beginning tomorrow.

And I get so mad! So mad at myself! I loved that feeling of looking a little slimmer and stronger today than yesterday, all due to impressing myself with extremely hard work and truly excellent food choices.

I find myself casting about for new ideas. What can I do? What can I dooooo?

For some reason tonight, a quiet voice spoke in my ear. It was probably my sanity, but I’m not totally sure I’d recognize her voice. Anyway, the voice said to me: You already know how to do this.

And she’s right.

I don’t need a new plan. No need to be creative or think outside the box. Just, for the love of Pete, remember what you did last time, Rebecca. And do that. So, for your consideration, and in case it helps anyone else,  here’s what worked.


Selfies. Part of what worked.

1. No carbs except sweet potatoes and whatever are found in fruits and vegetables. Oh, except sugar in my coffee and maple syrup on stuff when it needs it. And mini chocolate chips in my yogurt sometimes. But seriously, that’s it.

2. Thirty day challenges. You can find them on the Internet if you search. What worked best for me was to create events and invite folks from the online health club I belong to, as well as my “civilian” friends. I’d usually not be content with doing one at a time – one month I participated in four. I’d often get more than 100 people to join me, and being the leader was incredibly motivating on a daily basis. By the last week or two, these challenges seriously kicked my ass.

lbd challenge

An example.

3. Extremely planned and well-justified cheats. I remember in particular a trip to my favorite Mexican restaurant. I put so much thought into that meal, and felt completely at peace with my choices. I didn’t eat healthy that night, but I ate well, and I can still recall that meal. It meant something in a way that the junk I ate tonight (I had a Super Bowl party for one – and didn’t even remotely plan to watch the Super Bowl) will not.

4. Religiously posting “#PWSs” (post-workout selfies) on the wall of my Facebook health club group. I’d often work harder during a workout, wanting to be able to post a truly sweaty, endorphin-eyed, grinning selfie. For whatever reasons, the psychology of PWSs works for me.

5. Like/comment challenges. In the health club, it’s become a tradition for people to put their fitness into the hands of others. Typically, a member will throw out a challenge for themselves that goes something like, “For every “like” this post gets, I’ll do a crunch, and for every comment, I’ll do a burpee,” or what have you. Only the brave or foolish don’t include a time limit, because, as I learned from my 6-1/2 minute plank, those folks (us!) are a little bit sadistic. And I love them (us!) for it! Like/comment challenges create accountability in an atmosphere of camaraderie. No wonder they work!

6. Eating five-plus (seven is better!) fruit and vegetable servings per day. This once took the form of a monthly challenge, with which I grew bored after a couple of weeks, but it was still helpful. ‘Nuff said.

7. Participating in “Transformation Tuesdays” in the health club – posting (usually full-length) pictures showing real progress on an occasional basis. Similarly, regular posting #NSVs (non-scale victories) such as fitting into a smaller size, running a personal best, etc was helpful. And participating in “Flex Fridays,” which are what they sound like. Selfies! Of new muscles!

8. Supporting others in the health club. Giving back what I got and creating connections in the process was extremely important. It kept my own energy up and made me an important part of a massive group of positive, health-conscious individuals. And frequently posting encouragement kept my own goals at the forefront of my mind.

9. Health club challenges. Most weeks, the organizers of the health club post challenges for the group. They may include recording yourself doing a silly dance, trying a new skill, or taking a funny picture. They are meant to push members out of their comfort zone in a fun way, again with the spirit of camaraderie and accountability – two of the aspects of the health club that have been the most life-changing for me.

So…That’s what’s worked, and you can bet I’m going back to basics.

Stay tuned for more too about the new actions I’m putting into play, as well as other ideas for a bit further down the road.

In the meantime, here’s to a healthy, back to basics kind of week!

Oh, and for more info on that kick-ass online health club, go here. Join us! I promise to “like” your PWSs!



This entry was posted in Fitness, Health, Tough Mudder, Work and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Back to Basics: 9 Things That Worked (an argument against creativity)

  1. Pingback: Five Other ThingsWha | five.minutes.til.midnight

  2. Pingback: Five Other Things | five.minutes.til.midnight

  3. Pingback: Five Other Things | Working It Out Together

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