Two steps forward, one step back. Two steps forward, three steps back. One step forward, two steps back.

My efforts toward self-care—making a change from a couch potato to an active lifestyle—come in fits and spurts. I spend a lot of time spinning my wheels and wishing I was doing it all better.

I’ve been challenged on writing my column on those days when all of my carefully laid plans fall apart. It’s not as much fun to read, I suppose, but to me, this is the part where the rubber hits the road. This is the part where it’s hard to get motivated and keep on going. It’s easy to be motivated when everything is going perfectly, all my workout clothes are clean, my gym back with clean socks and a full water bottle is in my car, and I have free time to spare.

Here’s why I want to write about failure to live up to my own expectations—again.

My natural tendency is to throw in the towel when I’m trying to do something really hard, and I’m not doing it well and getting frustrated. To hell with it, I think to myself, sometimes very consciously, and other times not so much. There’s a part of me that just wants this process to be easy, and it’s not.

What typically happens to me is that my schedule blows up—and that’s what happened this past week, too. With events to cover and photograph around the area, finding the time to go shopping and do meal prep was a challenge this weekend. Or to put it more accurately, that didn’t happen, leaving me doing meal prep day-to-day. As if that wasn’t enough, I attended a tea party which featured all kinds of delightful nibbly dibblies that were not part of my portion-controlled meal plan for October. I ate them anyway, and enjoyed every bite, but it was a perfect storm of dropping the plan and not having enough time for maintaining the plan.

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Couple this with a computer glitch that means I haven’t gotten the dance workout done in about alosing-it-20161013_082225 week and a half and the aforementioned schedule constraints. It’s been about a month since I made it to the gym. I haven’t made the track in I don’t know how long. Most of my exercise recently has come through the encouragement of my 5-year old grandson. With him, I’ve done many bouts of crazy dancing, played basketball, and generally chased him around. It’s not much exercise, but it was fun, and that counts for a lot with me.

I come back to this over and over because giving up isn’t an option, and because that desire to give up nips at my heels daily.

Wouldn’t it be easier to go back to the way I used to eat, and not worrying about getting exercise? Yes, it would obviously be easier. Unless my lifestyle leads to one of the illnesses a sedentary lifestyle is famous for—then all bets on “easy” are off.

And, once again, I notice when I pay close attention that things are not as dark as they seem. In October, I’ve lost 3 inches from my waistline so far. Almost all of my meals have been portion-controlled and prepared ahead of time. It’s the exercise that has slipped, but even that has not slipped away—I’m just not working out hard four or five days a week, which is my goal. Even as I’m writing this, I’m battling my tendency to criticize my own efforts. Sheesh. Once again, I’ll remind myself to go back to my plan, lather, rinse, repeat.

Two steps forward, two steps back? That is still taking steps—maybe even dance steps if I want to get creative. I’m counting that as a workout today.

Do you struggle in meeting your health goals? How do you manage it? You can reach me at leota@lobo.net or 505-286-1212, or join the conversation in my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!

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