Sometimes it’s a real pain to write about fitness and health—like when I’m slacking my face off on all of my goals.

I write these columns even though they are the hardest because I hate those always-peppy, never-discouraged, you-can-do-it type articles that inundate the internet and my email inbox daily.

(Sure, “just do it” is solid advice. Don’t agonize over why you can’t do something and find reasons and ways that you can do it. I’m all about that kind of thinking. But positive thinking is another habit that must be built, using baby steps and requiring every power of will and mind that I must apply to getting exercise and eating right. Like the whole process, it isn’t easy.)

What I come back to is having a plan. I have a plan. Remember my plan? It’s been so long since I really stuck to the plan it feels like a dim memory, but I’m reconstructing it, because I’ve fallen so far from my plan it essentially amounts to starting over.

So. The plan.

For a good while, my daughter and I had a weekly gym date. I loved our gym date, and we’re going to see if we can get that started up again, between the constraints of her classes and full-time job, and my more-than-full-time job. We’re thinking Sundays will be a nice quiet time. If there is anybody out there looking for a gym buddy, hit me up. I like going to the gym better with a companion (even though once we get there I won’t want to talk to you much—or at all) and I do a better job of keeping that commitment when I’m meeting somebody, too. Also I need to do some box jumps.

I have done a good job of jumping on my treadmill at work for 5 minutes at a time when my fitness tracker tells me to hop up and move my booty. And I’ve done a good job of continuing with portion control and keeping simple carbs (mostly) out of my diet.

The rock climbing gym is another place I haven’t been in awhile, but I’d like to hit the next ladies night there. It’s fun and I need to inject some fun back into my workouts.

There are also some super-fun classes offered around here. So far I haven’t really found one that fits into my schedule the way I want it to—so I either need to change my schedule, or perhaps change my expectations about my schedule. A class buddy might also help. If you have a class you’re in love with, let me know about it! I like to give classes a try and I never know what will stick.

Part of my plan is paying attention to what I eat, eating when I feel hungry, and planning ahead so that I don’t (for example) show up to work on my deadline, when I might work 16 hours, without lunch and snacks. There is no good ending to that scenario: Either I don’t eat, or I eat fast food, or I eat weird deli food. Not so hot. Far better to plan ahead, have my lunch and snacks ready to go in the morning, and head out the door with everything I need to succeed.

A huge part of my plan is my “no beating myself up” rule, and I’ve held to this rule better than I ever thought possible when I first started applying it. Beating myself up was my default position for pretty much my whole life, and learning to treat myself kindly and gently has been harder than it seems like it should be. Being kind to myself has led to results, though. Somehow it’s easier to continue if I don’t have a voice in my head telling me that everything I do is wrong. Go figure.

As I write today, I’ve lost 12 full inches from my waistline, and I feel stronger than I have in many years. I see slimming in my cheeks, and all of my clothes are loose. Everywhere I go people tell me they see the difference in not only my appearance, but in my confidence and even my posture. Because these changes have been incremental and internal, I’m basically taking your word for it.

So here we are, with the holiday season upon us, soon to be followed by the New Year’s Resolution season.

I find it difficult to stay on task with exercise when the weather is cold, wet and windy and my bed is warm, soft and snuggly. So my strategy during this “down time” is to keep taking baby steps. More importantly, I’ll keep celebrating those baby steps, even when it feels like I’ve reverted to the days when all I knew how to do was crawl. The truth is that now, I’m far more like a baby “cruiser,” hanging on to this and that as I navigate my way across a suddenly unfamiliar landscape. These are still baby steps—but the next thing that happens is that baby lets go, and about two seconds after taking her first steps, that child is off and running. I might still be tottering, but here I go!

Do you find that you have ups and downs in your exercise cycle? How do you stay on track? Contact me at 505-286-1212 or, or join the conversation in my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!”