13 things I’m doing to get out of a diet + exercise funk

People, it’s been a long winter. In the midst of the grey, dull, cold, snowy skies that just wouldn’t quit, a ridiculously long bout of sickness, and general winter funk, I feel like I’ve lost my exercise and healthy eating mojo. I wrote about it very briefly on here, but early this winter I took the big personal step of hiring a trainer to help me with my goals of losing weight and getting more fit. 

It’s been one of the best things I’ve done for myself. Ever. 

But even though my trainer is amazing and those two days with her are a highlight of my week, there’s still all those other hours of the week where I’m on my own.  If you are dieting to loose some weight, visit the Observer website.

For me, good decisions beget good decisions. So when we were missing sessions because of weather and illness and whatever else was getting in the way, I found the interruption of our schedule becoming an excuse to slack off. And eventually the slacking off sucked up all the enthusiasm that I’d had before. 

A few weeks ago, my trainer and I had a ‘come to Jesus’ talk. Yes, I may have cried standing in the middle of the club. But in my defense, she had too. I was sick of the funk and ready to get back on track again. I was feeling frustrated. Beat down. And pretty discouraged.

We talked through a few ideas but that night I came home and made a list in my moleskine (this is how I use my moleskine for journaling) of the things that I do that help me pull out of a funk. I’ve been sticking to this list pretty religiously that past few weeks and it’s really helping me feel back on track and moving in the right direction. 

I thought I’d share my list with you because I think it’s helpful to see how other people do things and most likely, I’m going to need to refer to this post over and over again when the hard days come. And because many of you have told me that you want to hear more about what I’m doing with my healthy goals. When I started down this path my dad said to me something along the lines of “say it out loud.” And I think there’s something to be said for letting people know what you’re going through, how you’re doing and having that accountability for change. 


  • Finishing the day well. Doing all the dinner dishes, tidying up the counters, taking a bath, figuring out where my exercise clothes are…all these little details help me both go to sleep and wake up the next morning feel organized and in control of the day ahead. Chaos and disorganization are two of my favorite excuses to fall off the wagon.  I make sure I make my ultimate home workout to lose some weight.
  • Living in workout clothes. Sometimes I don’t feel like that walk or time on the rowing machine, or trip to the gym because the thought of finding my workout clothes, putting them on and going out the door makes me tired.  Maybe if I had weight benches for home use, I wouldn’t have this problem. Anyway, if I get in my workout clothes,
  • I figure if I’m already dressed, it makes finding time to exercise that much easier.  And bonus, putting on jeans and a tee suddenly feels so “put together.” Also, taking Natural steroids in the morning to improve your stamina, performance and aid in weight loss. 
  • Becoming BFFs with my water bottle. I have this nifty one that was a kickstarter project of a friend of mine. I love it, which is good because I take it everywhere. 
  • Reading things that inspire me. I’m taking time in the evenings, or while I’m making dinner to read books that motivate and inspire me to keep on keeping on. Currently: Foodist, Eating Well mag, Tosca Reno (in moderation–she’s pretty intense, but the principles are good), The Perfect Recipe, Cooking Light. And this article with similar (and excellent) ideas.
  • Making lists (my List of 3), and writing down what I eat–a very enlightening experience.
  • Cleaning out my fridge. I love my fridge. It’s huge. And when it’s clean and organized it’s so motivating to me. Before (almost) every grocery shop, I wipe down shelves, deal with anything moldy and combine the 15 bags of shredded cheese that have been opened and partially used.
  • Freezing fruits and vegetables before they go off so they’re ready for smoothies. This was a lightbulb moment I had with a friend a few weeks ago when she told me that before her languishing kale, spinach or berries go bad in the fridge, she tosses them in ziploc baggies and freezes them for smoothies. I cannot tell you how many bags of stinky kale that never got finished have been tossed to the chickens. Freezing them? It changed my world.
  • Charging up my favorite fitness gadgets and getting all appy. I’ve had a JawboneUP band for awhile and after trying several different kinds, it is my current favorite. I love the app, love the data, but got out of the habit of wearing it. So I charged everything, updated my app and have been wearing it again. I’m also using My Fitness Pal for some food journaling and syncing it with the UP band app and getting a good idea of how I’m moving, sleeping, sitting, etc. (In fact, it just buzzed to tell me I’ve been sitting too long.)
  • Praying for my kids. So I know this doesn’t sound like it belongs in my list but let me explain. I have found that I am becoming a bit of a worrier. During Lent, I decided that instead of giving something up, I was going to spend solid time praying for my children. (This book [ugly cover warning] has been the perfect framework for me.) Obviously, worry is no good. And these quiet moments put me in such a healthier frame of mind. It has been a really powerful part of my day.
  • Making my bed every morning. Okay, I know most people do this already, but there are many (MANY) mornings when I slip out of the blankets and leave behind a child or two still snoozing in the sheets. We often get middle of the night and early morning visitors so the bed often goes unmade. Now, when I wake up, I dump the kids onto the floor so I can make the bed. Kidding. I don’t. But I do make a point to go back and make it. Makes everything feel a little more buttoned up.
  • Sharing the load. Speaking of kids, I’ve broken out the old chore chart again. I’ve realized that if I reach the end of the day and feel like my kids’ time hasn’t been productive that day, it puts me in a bad mood. Really, what’s probably happening is that I’m taking my guilt out on my kids–that’s another conversation. But organization, a good plan, and helping out the family is good for EVERYONE. Right now, as I type, there’s a small person setting the dinner table. It’s one of her chores. And sharing the load makes me happy. And that makes everyone happy, right?
  • Taking a new approach. Besides trying to do some intentional things to keep me on track, I’m also beginning spring with a new approach. I’m going to be focusing a lot harder and more intensely on nutrition and swapping out some of my training sessions to focus on this. I’m feeling really good about this new direction.
  • Talking about it. I swear, I won’t be so wordy in the future, but I think it’s going to be really good for me to keep talking about how I’m doing, what I’m working on and where things are going. So prepare for more. 

So obviously, I’m not doing all these things, every single day. I mean, let’s be realistic. But I’m trying my darnedest to stay on top of these little things that have a big pay off for me. If you see me out in my jeans, not carrying my water bottle, you may want to ask me if my bed is made. (No, people who see me in real life. Please don’t. I’m already wincing at the thought of publishing this, and the people who will read it.) But for now, finding the things that help this absolutely chock-full life feel slightly balanced and in control are just what this journey needs. 

Thanks for listening to my lengthy list of to-do’s. More soon…xo.

12 comments on “13 things I’m doing to get out of a diet + exercise funk”

  1. I’m lovin’ the new ‘lengthy’ post. And I totally agree, it’s good to discuss things and share ideas (of course, it’s also good to march to the beat of your own drum). Trudge on my girl! And keep the updates coming! xoxo

  2. Hi Molly! I LOVE this list!! Thank you for sharing! Please keep these posts coming :)) I hope you have a delightful spring and that the funk soon subsides! xoxo

  3. I love this list. I am trying to get myself out of a funk as well so hearing about your journey is super helpful. I am particularly exciting about the idea to freeze ‘about to go bad’ spinach, kale etc… We don’t have chickens so you can imagine (and cringe!) where my bad veggies have been going!

  4. It’s all good Molly! You’re good! A day at a time… but believe me when a training appointment gets cancelled there used to be a tiny [ok not so tiny] squeal in me that would celebrate it… but now, instead, I get myself to workout at that time anyway! It helps! 🙂

  5. This is a great post! I almost want to ask, "Did I write that list recently, or did you?" as I what I am doing mirrors your list (except I drink a lot of tea w/o sugar as opposed to water)!! I had an epiphany recently and am on the same track as you.

    I’ve been in a funk on and off for the last few years. I have one child, not four, but every time I got into a project she had the flu, or an ear-ache or whatever and then my husband and I would get the flu and it went on and on to where I just got tired (and embarrassed) of canceling appointments or making plans or even getting out of my own sweat-suit.

    "That funk" multiplied by 4 children plus a farm to take care of, well, kudos to you!!!

    This post totally resonated with me and came to me serendipitously as I have just begun to turn a new leaf; it is great to know that you have too! Thank you!

  6. Fantastic list! It’s helpful for all of us. I already kind of "live" in my workout clothes makes it easy to head out for a run as soon as I get the chance. LOVE the idea of having my girls help with more around the house. I too get frustrated when they are lounging around at the end of the day while I stress to get everything picked up. The bed makingthat’s a tough one! 🙂

  7. molly, this post stayed with me throughout the day!! like you and others, i have found it time to re-prioritize and shift my thinking along these exact same lines!! i love your ideas and have been thinking about how one part of life trickles into other parts of life. what you said about making your bed and praying for your kids is part of this larger picture of prioritizing and changing your mindset to an ‘i can’ one. i love it.

    i have found a couple things helpful to me this week.

    1. i started a private ig account during lent as a journal of sorts – i love pairing an image with words that is for me alone… not to worry about what anyone thinks but to try and connect with my inner voice. i started using it for this food/exercise journey and have found that useful for me. a journal (moleskin!!) would work, too.
      2. i found a couple great tips for prepping food at the beginning of the week. + there are other great ideas for healthy eating, snacks and otherwise.
      3. i found ‘eat, sleep, move’ at the library and find is easy to read with really good reminders about how much these three things matter and how little changes add up.

    thanks for a great post!! xo

  8. I just came back to your list to print it out. I thought "heck, why write it when Molly already has written it". Going over "it", the "new me" list (your list), I just read "clean out my fridge" which I actually did yesterday!!! I don’t remember reading that one on your list. Anyway, I cleaned out and cleaned up the fridge (and parts) as well as our pantry. Today, I’ve opened the fridge several times, not to get food but just to admire how clean and organized it is 😉 No moldy, outdated food. The endless number of opened shredded-cheese bags must be universal as we had 3 open (exact same cheese …and I made a sausage and green pepper+onion pizza with them last night) and 2 unopened bags .

    This post is simply one of the best posts I have read in a long time. Why? Because you don’t pretend to be perfect. I am so tired of reading perfect lists from… uhmm…. people who make themselves out as perfect.

    Something as simple as making a bed everyday becomes a chore if you have more than one to make (and you have 5) yet there is something purifying in making one’s bed every morning. My Dad is 81 and he makes his bed every day, as best he can. Having a comforter makes making a bed a lot faster (IKEA has winter+summer comforters in one that snap together so that for winter you have two layers (1 thick + 1 thin) and for summer you snap off the thick layer).

    Please keep writing about this list from time to time: the progress, the pitfalls. Again, thank you!

    1. Kim! Thank you so much for coming back to share this with me. The ‘love’ this post is getting has really been encouraging to me, and it encourages me to keep sharing and being open about the process. And I’m so grateful for YOUR words, too.
      Wishing you a wonderful weekend of good things, clean refrigerators and peace. xo!!

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