The 31-day jumpstart is just about over and I feel fine

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life, Products & Classes42 Comments

I did it. I completed 31 days of healthy living. (Okay, today is Day 31, so there’s still a chance I won’t make it, but stay with me here.)

I didn’t freak out. I didn’t have a breakdown. I didn’t make excuses. I didn’t starve. And most importantly, I didn’t suffer, save for the sugar withdrawal headache on January 2.

I did what was needed.

Not only that, I did was was needed every single day. Some days, that meant taking it easy because I got hit with a cold. Some days, it meant hitting the treadmill and the pool. Some days, it meant taking an hour and planning meals for the whole week. Some days, it meant passing on that glass of wine and not going out for burgers and fries with Dan and the kids. Some days, it meant sitting with whatever was making me sad and letting it wash over me instead of deflecting it with junk food.

I did what was needed on every given day.

Now that’s a real change of pace for me.


You should know that in 2013, where my health and fitness was concerned, I mostly freaked out, broke down, made excuses and did the exact opposite of what was needed.

But it was my choice. That is all. There’s no judgment on it. It’s just a chunk of time I that I could have used to do a lot more for my health and fitness.

Of course, there are always going to be consequences to our choices. Some are positive. Some, not so positive.

One of the consequences of my choices last year? Weight gain and a spike in cholesterol numbers. Those generally don’t fall into the positive column.

So I took January as the opporunity to jumpstart the process again, and I’m really glad I did.

Gaining weight, losing weight, gaining it back, losing it again, and so on, might seem like a depressing cycle. Why bother? Why keep doing this? Why try? I mean, really?

I guess I’m thinking, “Why not?” What is the true loss in trying? Of continuing to try?


If I’m lucky, my life is half over. That’s if I get to live to be old, people. If anything, now is the time to keep trying. To keep being conscious of my health.

So what if I make mistakes. So what if I don’t have the clear cut path to optimum health. So what if it’s hard.

I’m showing up and I’m trying. A little here, a lot there.

That’s what January has been all about for me.

Reconnecting to the truths about why I choose to stop caring about my health for these stretches of time. Understanding my true strengths and my weaknesses. Focusing on what’s really going on and what can be done about it in a realistic and truthful way.

It’s been a much needed, well, jumpstart.

And okay, I lost 7 pounds this month, but I gained some real perspective on how I would like to live my life.

I think that’s more important than any number.

For sure.




The Move More, Eat Well Jumpstart is now available as a self-paced class. You have access to all the content started from the January class and you can start any time you like. You’ll still get the same 31 emails from me. The same questions, prompts and handouts with the hope that when you want to,  you too can jumpstart your healthier living.

For more information or to register, click here.

SAVE ON REGISTRATION: Save $5 by using the code FEBMOVECZ at checkout. Offer expires 2/28/14.


Cathy ZielskeThe 31-day jumpstart is just about over and I feel fine

42 Comments on “The 31-day jumpstart is just about over and I feel fine”

  1. #1

    I loved the class. I prefered the jumpstart over the monthly class last year. It kept me accountable every single day and I am down 8.2 pounds. I also have five great habits that I have been able to incorporate and keep up for the month. Thank you Cathy for another great class!

  2. #3

    Woo hoo, Laura! Testify! ; ) Glad you enjoyed it. I think the more focused, intense if you will, aspect of having something coming at you every day has its benefits!

  3. #4

    I loved this course. Thank you Cathy for the inspiration that got me started on this wellness journey. Your daily emails made a difference in keeping me on track. The biggest thing for me was the daily good habits card. I kept it beside my monitor so I saw it every day. It kept me focussed and made me realize that small changes can make a big difference (and they didn’t seem that hard to keep up). When I had to think about the prompts you gave us it really made me stop and consider what my triggers were and why I overindulged and that helped to steel my resolve. I’ve lost a couple of pounds and am so pleased that it’s almost February and I am still motivated.

  4. #7
    Karen Troup

    Didn’t take the class but have read your blog for years and have your books. I love your sense of humor and often will read one of your funny quips to my husband. Keep on inspiring us by keeping it real! BTW – I would love to know what you have been eating. You should post your meals for the week. 7 lbs – you go girl!

  5. #8

    Thank you. The statement why not try has hit home for me. I have spent the last ten years losing and gaining. I ran a marathon then sat down for three years. In that time I have had weeks or months where I have worked out hard and watched my diet only to just stop and not care. The last year I have not been able to make myself start again because my voice keeps saying..why try?
    It will never work, you will never be the thin person you were. Just seeing Why Not has woken me up to the thought that I should never stop trying. Thank you.

  6. #9

    Yep. Why not? There should be no shame in trying and failing. None. Its all part of life. Its all part of learning. Why not. : )

  7. #10

    My life is half over? If I’m lucky? Well isn’t that a healthy kick in the bum (and slap in th face) for this Friday morning. Pulled out my fingers and did some math and ouch that hurts. Guess I best get a move on.
    I’ll be noodling on that thought for a while.

  8. #11

    Believe me, I try to keep this in mind and not act like I have all the time in the world. : ) Make the most of it, right. ; )

  9. #12

    Last year, when I read your blog and saw your instagram pictures I ALWAYS heard U2 song “I haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” As an ICU nurse too many people decide to change after a major health event. Sometimes it is a little too late. I see 40,50, 60 years with bodies of 80 and 90 years. It is not the years it is the milage. Loosing weight is easy Move more and Eat Well. A simple formula. Mentally it was the hardest thing I have ever done’. I hope YOU have found the motivation for health. Thanks for introducing me to Dishing Up Nutrition a couple of years ago. They helped me keep my 60 lbs off.

  10. #14

    Congrats to you. I just wanted to thank you for your constant inspiration. I’ve made a couple of little changes in my life and it’s amazing the difference it makes.

  11. #15

    I’m inspired. Now I wished I had tackled it along with you. January is always a difficult month, then comes February with Valentines (and the candy that goes with it) being my favorite holiday. But I started two years ago with a trainer, and did well – I was stronger than ever before, I felt awesome and confident. Then financially, I could no longer afford the trainer in Oct. Nov, work became overwhelming and stressful, followed by December with two weeks of vacation and then Christmas. I gave in on the second week of vacation and slide downhill from there. Time to quit excuses and get back on track for me!! I’m signing up!!

  12. #16

    Good for you! Ill tell you, Barbara… last year, I had the whole, but next month is Halloween, and next is Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I just kind of gave up the junk food fight, you know? I dont think there is ever an ideal time. I mean, January is just another month. Right? Enjoy the process and if you have any questions, let me know.

  13. #17

    Good Job Cathy. It ain’t easy and I’m always shaking my head ‘yes, yes I feel/do/act the same’…It’s good to know we are not alone.

    Lets keep it going.

  14. #18
    Kristi Sikora-Blankenship

    We are always walking a similar path my friend…. similar sizes, similar nice drop a few years ago, similar, sad regain….. I have had a strong month overall. Ran a half marathon in about negative 10 weather and did not die. Did not go fast, but my only goal was honestly to keep running and NOT DIE! Done! Starting to swim in the wee early morning hours on Monday….. again, short term goal, not DIE or freeze to death going back and forth. Longer term goal. Complete a sprint triathlon on May 11th….. the goal of the tri….. not die! Baby steps…..

  15. #19

    Thank you so much for doing this class. I was curious, so I signed up. And as of today I’m 10 lbs lighter. I’m eating smarter every day, exercising 5 or 6 times a week, and I’m putting extra effort into seeing the lighter side of life. I really needed this jumpstart. I found out last spring that I had really high blood pressure. And I really just felt crappy. A change in diet was suggested, but for months the only change I’d succeeded in making was giving up caffeine. With an occasional glass of sweet tea tossed in when I was stressed. Which eventually escalated to an almost daily large halfcut sweet tea from McDonalds!! Yikes! Plus my massive addiction to potato chips. The weird thing is I always thought if I had some type of diagnosis, some health risk, I would be able to change my diet to save myself. But I didn’t. I kept making excuses. After summer I would be more structured. But in the fall there was no point in starting because the holidays would be here. So as of today, I’m 31 days into doing what I should have been long ago. Not going to beat myself up about taking so long. I just wanted you to know how much this class has meant to me. I’m remaining cautious because I know that I’m prone to falling off the wagon at any moment. But I’ve got a plan, and my plan is to keep up my album, keep checking in with myself, stay determined.

  16. #20

    I’m so happy for you Cathy, great job!! I enjoyed this class so much!! Great format and the daily emails are a perfect jumpstart to each day. THANK YOU!!!

  17. #21

    I am a personal trainer who loves to scrapbook, and I have loved reading about your Move More Eat Well journey. I think Cathy you have hit the nail on the head with the idea that being healthy is a journey. Making healthy choices for food and exercising are like a muscle, the more you use them and work them the stronger they get. So we all make bad choices sometimes, but you get up the next day and start again because that’s what we do. Strive to be better and do better. At least I do…every single day.

  18. #22

    Shereen, that is a great testimonial! Are you going to join our private Facebook group? Let me know if you want to. We figured itd be another place for past and present students to touch base. : ) Email me!

  19. #23

    Yep, Kristi, I think we have been on a very similar path. Ive seen that youve been knocking out some great runs! And good for you for getting into the tri mode! Let me know if you want to join the MMEW facebook group!

  20. #26

    Seven pounds in one month is HUGE!! Wow. Just Wow.
    I did this with you in 2010 and lost a bunch…and then gained it back. This past September I put my foot down with myself vs go on insulin for my diabetes. I had been super anemic and tired the year before that. With that under control it was time to focus. My goal is to lose a pound a week. I am at 44 lbs so far and I still work and run kids way more than I take care of myself but my Nike Fuel band and My Fitness Pal keep me honest. Each day is a challenge. My next doctor weigh in is March. I have my fingers crossed he will be happy and my A1C will decrease a little more.

    Oh and I did this run for the second year in a row…go me!!

  21. #27
    Pilbara Pink

    Gretchen Rubin (Happiness at Home etc) has some interesting thoughts on her blog on the idea of loopholes – how we look for and create them after committing to change and why. Interesting and maybe relevant for those who have completed the month and are now looking forward? I just signed up for the self-paced class. I am going to be living alone for part of this year and think this will help me focus on staying on track while just feeding myself. I fear it may become easy to slip into some really bad habits when there is no one else around (bored, lonely, etc) and no reason to cook proper meals? Really? Apparently (in my mind)I am not worth cooking for?? Hmmm …. I see a loophole looming …. Luckily I will have an album to build and some really good prompts to guide me to looking after myself! Thanks for the discount Cathy 🙂

  22. #28

    Hi Cathy! I just read a new book that you might find interesting. It’s called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It is a study of habits and how we are wired to follow them personally, corporately and culturally. It is written like a novel, with so many interesting examples. It shows why it feels hard to kick old habits and what you need to do to set up new ones. I found it to be fascinating! I tried not to buy it, but once I started reading the first page…It had me hooked. I not only loved the habit info, but also the many examples (well known people, corps and non- known people as we’ll.) it has both personal and business things to consider. Congrats on your success this month. Don’t you love the feeling of integrity that acting consistently on your thoughts and words brings? Love it!

  23. #30

    You know, I would almost think it would be easier living alone and planning meals. Why? Well, you dont have to take anyone else into consideration, so you could really just say: this is what Im eating on a regular basis, these the meals…. then boom! follow that plan. I wish you luck! If youre interested in joining our private Facebook group, let me know!

  24. #31
    Pilbara Pink

    I agree with the meal planning – only my preference and nothing extra to tempt me. I am happy to eat the same thing over and over so prepping ahead isn’t a big deal for me. However, it is the whole eating for reasons other than hunger that I am super aware of and really want to tackle head on. Loved you comment in the message boards regarding self-pity. I have copied and saved it for future contemplation. I currently do not have a Facebook page but given the option of a private page may change my mind. Will email you if I do create one 🙂

  25. #32

    Thank you. I am only half way to my goal so many days feel like day one. I am going to sign up for your class to help me out. Wierd to think there is an actual fear of completely falling backwards…..

  26. #33
    Nicole Geiger

    I miss our class! I just loved the support and the risks that it stretched me to take, even if they were just in my own mind. I ended up feeling good about lots of things, not just the weight I lost in the month. My word “fresh” is my One Little Word for this year, and I’m trying to use “why not?” and “what can be the worst thing that could happen?” as I contemplate decisions. I used it when I signed up for the class. 🙂 And look how much it brought me!! And will continue to bring me in the coming months as I move towards fresh, healthy choices! Thanks again Cathy!

  27. #35
    Elle A

    As you’ve been doing your Move More, Eat Well or just your whole health documentation in general, I have been wishing I had the motivation to do something with myself. No motivation came. Until I had a couple colds over the holidays and then finally had to go to the instant care doctor, thinking I had the flu. I thought I was going to be given some Tamiflu, be sent home and call it a day. Nope. I had mild pneumonia in one lung and the doctor said my blood pressure was “critically high” and I had to get to my regular doctor within the next week. Well, what better motivation than being told your health is in a bit of jeopardy. Motivation comes quick. I’ve been using the DASH diet guidelines and been working out 30 minutes a day for a month now. My blood pressure is coming down, I’m losing weight and I’ve bought smaller pants!

    You’ve probably posted this several times but can we hop into MMEW (stuttering cat or a chilly one – lol) at anytime?

    THANK YOU for sharing your story!!

  28. #36

    Elle, that sounds GREAT! Good for you. And yes, you can take the class anytime. Its 31 days and youll start getting daily emails right after you sign up. : ) Then, of course as with all Big Picture classes, you have forever access to the materials. : )

  29. #37
    Paper and Glam

    Beautiful post, Cathy. I’ve read everything you’ve written and published for the last decade and this is my favorite. Cheers to trying and learning, never losing.

  30. #39

    I actually just found your blog on January 31 and this was the first post I read! My husband is deploying to Afghanistan on 2/25 for 9 months and I promised him I would focus on myself and get my health in order while he is gone. In addition, I have been looking for projects to keep me and our son busy while he’s gone and this will kill 2 birds with 1 stone! I plan to start your self paced class on March 1 and look forward to creating something fun while getting back on track with my health. Thanks so much for the opportunity!!

  31. #40

    Hey Amanda, sounds great! When you join, theres a thread titled Self Paced Students and a link to join our private Facebook group. By all means, join once youre registered!

  32. #41

    Hey Cathy, I love the idea of putting together an album for self-motivation as I try to take care of myself more. I’d love to get a set of the printable cards, but it isn’t feasible for me to do the month-long workshop at this point…are they available for separate purchase?

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