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Warm Water w/Lemon Has Not Changed My Life

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I covered a Nike Women campaign for Adweek last spring, and unlike your typical fitness campaigns — you know, the kind where every person shown is sinewy and sexy — it showcased the average athlete and the sort-of gym goer.

There’s one moment where a cynical beginner thinks “Okay, yoga, change my life.”

I live for the life-changers. I’m a sucker for every article with titles like The One Thing Most Fortune 500 CEOs Do Every Day and Five Mistakes Creatives Make and Change Your Entire Morning With This One Trick. I am a clickbait title writer’s dream come true.

Oh, the Pomodoro technique? Lemme run to Target and buy a timer.

Oh my God, this timer ticks really loudly and I’m going to turn into a sociopath before I hit Minute 17.

Maybe it’s all in an effort to streamline things, become more productive, better myself, run faster, jump higher, but trying new things becomes exhausting.

For example, using a slow cooker changes your life only if you’re willing to “finely chop” (ugh) a million vegetables and declare, for the thirtieth time, that it’s time to replace your ten-year-old knives.

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Waking up at 5am only changes your life if you’re not injecting Diet Coke intravenously to stay awake by 2pm. In fact, I discovered that it only becomes life-changing and successful if I’m in bed by 9pm — a huge sacrifice for many parents, because it cuts down on that cushion of time between the kids’ bedtime and parents’ bedtime.

Other things that have actually changed my life: bralettes (no worrying about cup and band size!), buying four of the same shirt and rotating them (your mileage may vary on the people around you eye-rolling), and cleaning my car out every weekend. Easy enough.

Harder things. Getting a gym membership only changes your life if you actually go. (Apparently I’m really good at donating money to gyms because I am a generous benefactor who hasn’t stepped on an elliptical machine since circa 2007.)

I recently did a trial week and “got duped” (if you’re my husband) into signing up for an extra trial month at a local gym. It offered sessions right in the time-slot where I need it (around 5:30am), eliminating my excuse for being unable to “really, find anything at all, why aren’t there 5:30 am yoga classes?”

It’s an all-women’s gym where women of various ages and sizes lift heavy weights and amass an impressive amount of back sweat to a mix of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Missy Elliott.

“It only takes 21 days to make a habit, which is why they offered the discounted trial month beyond the trial week. They’re trying to hook you,” warned the sage vegan, as I body surfed on a foam roller on the kitchen floor and begged him to bring me Icy Hot.

“If I can drag my ass to the gym at 5:30 in the morning a few times a week for an entire month, that’s a habit I’m willing to pay for.” I’m not convinced I can make a habit of it, I who stay up late for deadlines and sleep in until forced to brush little-girl-hair at around 7:30 and bail on protein shakes a quarter of the way through.

Last night, by the time I got the girls in bed (7:00p), and puttered around, putting away dinner dishes and answering a couple of emails (8:00p), I looked at the clock and realized that I didn’t want to go to bed at 9:00p without having downtime. I wanted to hang out on the couch for a couple of hours and eat candy and watch the next Harry Potter film in my line-up (no spoilers; I’ve only just started watching them) and absolutely not wake up at 4:45am to be at the gym by 5:30am.

But I crankily went to bed, and — somehow, in spite of my steady relationship with the snooze button — made it to the gym, and somehow did more push-ups than I had the week before. Which is more than I could do the week before that.

Noticing improvements in what I can do is wildly more motivating than gauges I’ve used in the past — have I lost weight? am I any closer looking like an elder member of Taylor Swift’s squad in my swimsuit?

Instead it’s more like — I can lift that thing now! I am showered before my kids are up! I can totally have a chili dog and a Diet Coke at lunch today!

(Baby steps.)

Things that haven’t changed my life include the Whole 30, Konmari (yet), running (ugh), lukewarm water w/lemon (Gwyneth loves it), and Making a Murderer. Because it makes me really anxious and angry for an hour at a clip when I could be misunderstanding every plot theme in Harry Potter instead. ⚡️

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29 Comments

  • Reply Leigh Ann February 1, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    GAH this just reminded me that I was supposed to drop by the YMCA today to…cancel our membership. Just goes to show that a calendar isn’t going to change my life, even if I set alerts, if I’m not willing to pay attention to it.

    • Reply Roo February 1, 2016 at 1:19 pm

      I was months behind on canceling our YMCA membership, too.

      Turns out, they accept cancellations by email. (Mine does, anyway!)

      • Reply Lindsey February 1, 2016 at 1:48 pm

        UM…. tell me how I do that by EMAIL! I am behind too!

        • Reply Roo February 1, 2016 at 6:23 pm

          I called and they just said to send a note to a particular person who handles membership. It was remarkably easy; bless them.

  • Reply Heather Laura Clarke February 1, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    Things that have totally changed my life: KonMari method, Google calendar, “The Fringe Hours,” finding the perfect combination of laundry baskets for my elaborate system, and setting an alarm for my bedtime (as well as many, many alarms throughout the day for various things).

    • Reply Roo February 1, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      I will get into KonMari once I have like … a day and a half to devote to it. Maybe after I do my taxes, haha!

  • Reply Elizabeth February 1, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Ugh, I want to KonMari the ish out of my house but then I’m all “What if I MISS IT?!” Whatever.

    Things that have changed my life: Running at 6a with running buddies and meal planning, though the latter took months to really get behind but now we do it like bosses.

    I’m a health coach. I work with people on the regular when it comes to making and achieving health goals. I just need my own coach so that I can stop eating chocolate chunks from Trader Joe’s out of the bag.

  • Reply Tiffany February 1, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Gwyneth.

    • Reply Roo February 1, 2016 at 6:24 pm

      ????

  • Reply Leah Butler February 1, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Let me say personally that nothing would get me out of bed at 530am – unless my house was on fire. But props to you for not throwing the alarm clock across the room and then cheerfully wrapping your leg over your ear in the name of fitness and health.

    Forget lukewarm water with lemon. Blech – that’s like the worst Airborne ever.

    Instead brew your favorite green tea, and add a slice of lemon and tablespoon honey. Voila – it tastes yummy, is hot and gives you the bennies of lemon, honey and green tea in one shot.

    • Reply Lindsay Durrenberger February 1, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      That green tea concoction sounds like the most delicious start to my tomorrow morning.

  • Reply Nicole February 1, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Ha, love this. Missed you!
    Changed my life: A job in the city that forces me to get up early (to avoid the mass chaos on mass transit during rush hour) which gives me the opportunity to hit the gym every morning because there’s no way I’m actually going to work that early. Audiobooks. Friends & fam who are flexi on talking and meeting up. Shared Google calendar so I can figure out what my husband has already signed us up for prior to making my own plans.

    Hasn’t changed my life: Every single clickbait article that I’ve clicked… Green tea. Kale. Fitbit (suuuuuper fun charts until I realize all the crazy stats they now have on me – anonymous or not…).

    • Reply MichelleLG February 1, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      +1 for audio books
      +100 our library’s digital media website which let’s me browse and download mp3s of audio books and then auto deletes them after two weeks (holla at no late fees AND never actually having to go to the brick and mortar library). Winning.
      +1 for Google cal. How I love thee, let me count the ways.

  • Reply Lindsey February 1, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Changed my life: making the decision to promise low (even to myself) and then always deliver higher.

    • Reply Lindsay Durrenberger February 1, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      THIS.

  • Reply Kristi February 1, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Reading everyone’s “changed/hasn’t changed my life” is the bomb. Here are mine. Changed my life: daily vitamin/supplement regimen, using a backpack to commute with instead of a heavy over the shoulder bag, slip on leather Vans. Hasn’t changed my life: Kale (tastes like trees, hurt my stomach) Any sort of electronic fitness/habit/whatever tracker. Buying smaller plates so you eat less (hello, this one just begs you to go back for seconds and thirds…)

    • Reply Roo February 1, 2016 at 6:35 pm

      Kristi, I have been sweating those slip-on leather Vans for the longest time and I think this comment might actually make me pull the trigger.

      Also my FitBit is lost … somewhere … in my office … I think.

    • Reply Lindsay March 15, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      Looking up leather Vans on Amazon as we speak….

  • Reply Liz February 1, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Hasn’t changed my life:
    Kon Mari method. The MOST repetitive book ever. “Does this bring me joy?” Boo. My house would be Oreos and wine. It doesn’t work for humans without “the feels” software installed.
    Periscope. Just not for me.

    Has changed my life:
    Whole30. Despite my dermatologist’s insistence, dairy and grains are definitely behind my adult acne. This reset worked for me.
    Deleting Facebook off my phone. Mindless habit gone.
    Prepping the coffee maker before bed.
    Instant Pot. For those of us who can’t remember to fill the slow cooker in the morning, just fill the pressure cooker in the evening!
    Podcasts. Boring mindless work is now entertaining.
    Ezee Fit Booties. Eliminates the need for shoe break-in periods. NO MORE BLISTERS.

    • Reply MichelleLG February 1, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      “Deleting Facebook off my phone. Mindless habit gone.” BALZY. I like it.

  • Reply Cassandra February 1, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    YAY! I love your posts!
    Changed my life: Allowing myself to have days where I do nothing but make sure we are all fed. It really makes me feel motivated to do more the next day. Making time to connect with people on Facebook, actual messages instead of just scrolling and liking. People bash Facebook for being shallow, but I have found how to make it more for me, and it is wonderful. Teaching my kids to help with chores. They are FINALLY getting it,and they can do more than I usually think they can. Cleaning in 15 minute bursts. It goes by super fast and I can do SO MUCH in that time.
    Things that haven’t: Green drinks, as easy as they are I NEVER make them…. So I have tons and tons of frozen fruit in my freezer…

  • Reply ellen February 1, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    These are great to read. (I’m delurking, by the way! Hi, I’m Ellen and I love your blog long time) I’ll just share the positives-Has changed my life: Yoga with Adriene videos (Roo, you can totes do these at home and thus avoid the judgey sexy yoga models at the gym), making my own yogurt (store-bought ain’t got nothing on homemade raw whole milk yogurt), using cleaner beauty products (hello, no eye irritation), the Happier podcast for long car trips, switching to fair-trade chocolate and cocoa powder (no slave labor!), and daily online devotionals like She Reads Truth and the Lent Project from Biola University (preventing me from feeling guilty for not wanting to just read random passages in Scripture by myself).

    • Reply MichelleLG February 1, 2016 at 9:00 pm

      +2000 for yoga with Adrien!!!! All the heart emojis for her. :D loves. After my now almost 2yo was born, yoga was one of the only things that felt “right” and made me feel strong but was gentle enough to allow my body to heal. My girl s’ quiet times/nap times became yoga with Adrien time. Right thing at the right time all the way around. :D

  • Reply Erin February 1, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    I got up at 5:00 am to work out this morning too. And managed to have my kindle off by 9:30 last night, so I’m not totally drained, yet. I started last week, it was significantly easier this week.

    I can say that “flexi-konmari” has been slowly changing my life for the past 9 months or so. It’s the idea of Konmari on a slow-but-steady, doing-it-as-i-go-along pace. The areas that I have done (clothes and parts of my kitchen) are amazing. Other life changers: the Curly Girl method, the Dogspotting group on Facebook, cleaning my kitchen every night and my house every weekend-ish.

    Good luck with the gym! You can do this. Just remember, “You can do anything for 10 seconds at a time” (Kimmy Schmidt).

  • Reply Amanda February 1, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    I was already pretty good at getting rid of stuff, but Konmari was a game changer with respect to storing your clothes in a dresser (hello rolled socks and underwear!) I do a weekly meal plan every Sunday on a dry erase board that lives on the fridge. Less food goes bad and we don’t go out as often, so that’s a win. Finding time to exercise continues to elude me though. I refuse to get out of bed any earlier, and I’m too wiped out by the time I leave the office, sooooooo.

  • Reply MichelleLG February 1, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    This year’s big, life changing revelation was: a simple schedule makes me free. I have always felt chaffed or stiffled by the idea of a schedule, but its the freaking bomb. Here’s why: when things are scheduled at given times, I dont have to deice “what will I do for that?” Or “when will I do it” I only have to decide if I will or won’t do it.

    Ie: I have been going to a free mom’s co-op workout class for almost 5 years. Its the most consistently I have ever worked out I’m my life. I realized the reason I can keep it up is that its only offered M/W/F at 9:30am. There are NO CHOICES other than “am I going or not.”

    So….I started applying that concept to other areas of my life and its WORKING. (What?!?!?! I am still in disbelief.) I made an embarrassingly simple cleaning schedule (like the only thing for Tuesday is grocery shop and put groceries away. That’s literally it.). But its working! I don’t think my house is any cleaner, but I’m WAY LESS overwhelmed at it because, when I have a free 5mins on a Wednesday I don’t have to look around my trashed house and think “where do I even start?” – I can just look at my schedule and be like “ok, clean toilets and sweep downstairs” done.
    For reals, LIFE CHANGING.

  • Reply Katie February 2, 2016 at 8:23 am

    These two things really have changed my life (I’d love to include links but that will probably send me to your spam folder):

    1. The Wusthof 4183-7 Classic 7-inch Santoku knife, $79.95 on Amazon. Yes, that’s ~$80 for a knife, but I’ve had mine for probably 7-8 years, it’s still going strong, and it makes me happy every day. EVERY DAY. Think about that.

    2. Yoga with Adriene. Look her up on Youtube, then go to her playlists and do the 30 days of yoga challenge and try not to fall in love. I dare you. (Not Yoga Camp – that’s the more recent challenge. Start with the 30 Days of Yoga.)

    Do those two things, and you’ll never have to leave your house again. Except, you know, for food and stuff.

  • Reply Gretchen K February 2, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    I have tried the Kon Mari method, and it really helped us when we moved from our 70’s style house to a newer built home in a new town (storage is just shaped completely different between the 30 or so years those two houses were built!). I looked at a lot of the things we were packing and was like – “Nope! This brings me so much more guilt than joy! Yard Sale Box!” My closet and kitchen thank me, probably bathroom stuff too because we downsized from two to one, but kids toys – SMH. There is no hope for that room until they are teenagers and obsessed with their electronic devices – a solid 10 years away with Baby #3 on the way! We have Baby stuff and I have maternity clothes and Christmas stuff that is going to get the axe after this use too because I am going to “Let It GO!” The only other thing to change my life recently is flavored water – I gave up soda for Baby #3 (so hard!) and it helps me drink more liquids each day and I don’t have to Force myself to drink ice cold water all the time…that gets old. I don’t own a Fit Bit and I’m a crafter, so that pile will never be reduced – but maybe I can think of a few better ways to organize it at least! Thanks Roo! It was nice to hear from you this week!

  • Reply Lauren B February 5, 2016 at 2:15 am

    Whoooo Rooooo!
    What can I say, I love when you post.

    Life changers:
    -Being able to check out kindle books from my library (that does not have the convenient drive-thru drop off box. !!!! I have a two year old, please don’t make me get out of the car). No returns, no late fees.
    -My daily vitamin/supplements. My PCP is huge on these. I had NO IDEA how awesome a probiotic is. I love my vitamin D and probiotic!

    Yet to change:
    -Working out. I can’t find anything that I like enough + is easy enough to do. (darn those toddlers and their needs)

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