For almost 19 years, I’ve been working on my body. I’ve lost and maintained a 100 pound loss with the help of healthy eating, exercise, and endless support from loved ones.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever fully processed what I accomplished, and truthfully I don’t know that I ever well, either. The truth is, when you have a lot to lose, the mental side of weight loss feels more challenging than the physical… at least most days.
My loose skin will never allow me to sport a “tight, toned” anything. And sometimes I’m OK with that, despite the fact that so much of the media out there tells me that I need to take care of that problem- there’s a pill/exercise/program/surgery for that. I’d be lying if I told you I haven’t seriously considered some of these options. I always imagined that when I reached my “goal weight,” I’d finally be just like all the others- skinny, tan, perfect hair, clear skin, and a fast metabolism…
I hate to tell you this, but it doesn’t ALWAYS work out that way. I’ve been told 1000+ times to lift weights so my skin will firm. To do crunches so I will finally have abs.
And I’ve tried, to no avail. To be honest, lifting weight and crunches haven’t ever been attractive to me. I’ve given them their fair shot, and they still make my workout routine on a yearly basis, but I find myself bored and unable to stick with it. I like my walking and elliptical time- and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about exercising, it’s that I MUST listen to my body/mind when I’m struggling to get into any sort of exercise. If you’re stuck, I encourage you to find what you enjoy and go with that- it’ll keep you going much stronger/longer. Some people like to torture themselves with exercise… but that’s just not for me.
I used to apologize for my routine, but I’m realizing more and more that the best thing to hear is : You’re doing it right. You are moving, so you are doing it right. Change when you’re ready, but for now love what you do and most importantly… love YOU!
I am a creature of habit, and a craver of routine.
I find ways to make peace and feel balanced in my day-to-day, and when it “works,” I stick to it.
I’ve heard over and over that it’s better to “mix it up” at the gym, but I was hesitant. I like my elliptical- it’s safe, it’s predictable, and I can watch all of my crappy reality TV shows while working out.
This winter brought a few “bubbles” in my routine- via blizzards, vacations, and boredom.
The first time the Wellness Center closed because of weather, my heart dropped. It was totally throwing off my routine and I had no clue what to do. (I realize that this sounds totally ridiculous now, but I’m not known for always being real “mellow.”) I decided to dust on my Zumba DVDs and get my groove on.
AND IT WAS FUN!
I’ve made a commitment to staying healthy, and until it’s nice enough to hit the ski trails or go for a walk outdoors, I have to continue finding ways to keep my word.
As this seemingly-never-ending winter continues, my elliptical boredom is starting to set in. I decided to dust off another set of DVDs I had yet to even open after purchasing them over a year ago. Well, the new DVDs KICKED.MY.BUTT (and I like to think I’m in pretty good shape)! We’re talking dripping sweat in 1/2 the time of my machine routine. Not only that, but I was hurting the next morning- a great indication that I was effectively working out.
I started thinking about why it took me so long to open the package of those new workout DVDs. The answer rang loud and clear:
I struggle with it. It might be uncomfortable, or hard, or not as safe, or unsuccessful…
But seriously, who cares? If I fail, I will just have to find another way. And if you never try, you’ll never know.
So tell me, how are YOU going to shake up your healthy lifestyle routine this month?
Let’s face it;
sometimes you just.don’t.want.to.go.
You know- to the gym.
The thought of changing your clothes, tying your shoes, putting your hair in a ponytail, driving/walking to the building… it’s all too much. And sitting on your couch watching the latest episode of Real Housewives seems way easier and probably more fun.
I recently suffered a “don’t-want-to-go” day. The weather is changing, and it’s borderline perfect for outdoor activity/must go back indoors to work out. What’s a person to do?
When I get into a rut, I try a few different things to get unstuck:
- Change into gym clothes as soon as I get home. No in-between sweats. Straight for the real stuff.
- Pick a time you’re going to leave. And then STICK to it. No excuses, even if it means setting an alarm. Sometimes I’ll plan for a time that will get me there just in time to tune into a favorite show.
- Switch up your routine. Do you always run on the treadmill for 1/2 hour regardless? Maybe you need to add a little biking, weight lifting, or even some intervals to the mix. You can really go on a ledge and take a class (Zumba is one of my favorites) or join intramural team or even try your hand at the rock wall.
- Call a friend and make a gym date. If you cannot go at the same time, just let them know when you’re going to keep each other accountable.
- Get some new music and save it for the gym.
- Psych yourself up! Dance around the house as you are leaving for the gym. It’s time to CELEBRATE GOOD HEALTH!
- … and finally, remember how good you feel after you finish a workout. If you go with a friend, end with a high five. ESPECIALLY on the toughest days. Every bit of effort is something! (Full disclosure: on more than one instance I’ve been tempted to run around and high five people at the gym who look like they would like to be anywhere else but at the gym. So if I ever run up to you with my hand in the air, you know why.)
As the weather gets colder, it’ll get easier and easier to talk yourself out of a workout. Start your mental training TODAY by developing an exciting routine; and keep it fun, fresh, and full of HIGH FIVES!
Leading a rigid lifestyle based on severe routine puts you in a jail cell. When you learn to live in a jail cell for a significant amount of time, you begin to forget how great life was outside of the bars. Stepping out into the unknown is… suffocating, and borderline unimaginable.
It’s not that I didn’t want to be with my friends more, make lasting memories, try new things, etc… it’s that I literally couldn’t. I was trapped.
I remember feeling this way as early as high school. Again, what started as a harmless and healthy habit developed in to a full-blown jail cell. I began with walking to relieve stress. It was a 2-fold blessing because I had finally found a method of physical activity that I was actually “good enough” to complete. I mean, almost anyone can walk (without tripping? that’s another story. GUILTY!)… and with a little practice, most can walk REALLY fast or for a REALLY long time. That was me.
Another teacher and I were known for our “power walks.” People would joke about the MPH that we were clocked at. On the days when we weren’t zipping through the streets, I would walk the length of the town and then some.
I know at some point it was out of enjoyment. It always is. When I “get” to walk in a new place, it’s something that brings me such… peace. (My creativity ROCKS while I am working out. Someday I will own a computer attached directly to my brain to capture my thoughts in real time.) It never takes long until my competitive side comes out…
Suddenly I feel the urge to walk just one more block. or just five more minutes. And each night it compounds, until I’ve absolutely maxed out my time available. This includes the time I’m choosing to give up with family and friends in order to fill a daily quota.
I’m known for being a distance walker, and I’ve taken it very seriously. Unfortunately, that’s not the only extreme I’ve taken in the last 10 years of my weight loss journey.
I knew that at some point I was crossing that realistic line. But I just didn’t know how to stop. I would almost give thanks for the times that someone would visit me so I was unable to workout as long. It also gave me tremendous anxiety. Something in my head screamed “FATTY!” whenever I happened to miss a workout. I irrationally believed that one slip-up would result in an instant regain of nearly every ounce.
I’m working on being OK with taking a day or two (or even three) off in a week. When I do workout, I tend to push. And I want to enjoy exercise again. Things like Zumba certainly help in that… but I mean I want to do it because I like how it makes me feel, not because the clock says I still have to torture myself for another hour… OR ELSE.
A new year, season, or even week can be really challenging on many levels for people. On the one hand, you have those people who really and truly do need to start adding exercise and healthy eating into their lifestyle. Then you also have people like me, who are also bombarded with the messages of diet and exercise and feel obligated (aka TRAPPED) to step up our game as well.
I’m learning about balance. And sanity. And the importance of treating myself right. Exercise is a beneficial activity on so many levels… within reason.
I’m learning that a day off doesn’t result in 100 pounds. It means being a little more careful about what I consume in the day and enjoying the time off. After all, our bodies do, at some point need a break to work optimally.
Small breaks don’t make you weak.
They make you stronger.
No need to beat yourself up.
I feel like taking a trip down memory lane in this post.
Before I joined Weight Watchers, I fought the idea tooth and nail (what does that expression even mean?!). I figured it was a room of gossipy old women who’d go around town and tell other people that I was fat. And desperate. Not only that, but when I didn’t have a successful week, I was surethey would stare at me and spread that around, too.
Let me tell you what REALLY happened. From the moment I stepped into the first meeting, I felt tremendous support. Every single person in that room had the same goal: a healthier lifestyle. We were a team. And no one was allowed to just sit on the bench. We held each other accountable, laughed and cried our way through struggles, and celebrated successes!
At one of the meetings, we were asked to write goals. I willingly admit that I’m hesitant to write goals down, because I tend to only say what I KNOW I can/will do. (I have a hard time letting people down.) But, it was part of the meeting, so I thought long and hard and wrote 2 things down:
- end up on the cover of Weight Watchers magazine and
- be at my “goal weight” by my high school graduation.
Although I wasn’t quite sure the first one was realistic, I needed something to strive for. After I told a few of the other members, it was no longer an “option,” it was a MUST. While I’ll fast forward through several of the struggles/triumphs of the weight loss journey today
for the sake of my time and yours, I promise I’ll share more down the road. (I know you’re excited about that!!) So, we’ll pick up at the last Monday meeting before my high school graduation ceremony.
I worked hard to reach my goal weight. Really hard. And when I showed up to weigh in that night, I was confident that my efforts would pay off. I only had to lose 0.6 pounds.
I removed every last ounce of extra clothing I could… stepped on the scale… and… ugh. It said I had lost 0.4. I.was.DEVASTED. I tried shifting my weight and completely eliminating the air from my body but the scale didn’t move.
Everyone in the room knew how much that night meant to me, and they could read the disappointment on my face. One of the women said honestly and frankly: “Go in the bathroom and get naked! We won’t look!” She wasn’t kidding. After she repeated herself, a few others chimed in with the same suggestion. They were so behind me that they were willing to let me get naked to help me reach my goals.
I didn’t get naked. That’s NOT my style. I did change into shorts and a tank top, and reached my goal that night. (By the way, that’s against the rules in WW. Once you weigh in, that’s it. I know this because I also worked for them. So if you’re in the program, you won’t be this fortunate.)
Anyway, when you find the right people to surround yourself with, it’s amazing to realize what you
can do accomplish. A good support system can mean the difference between pushing yourself out of that “safe bubble” and into bigger and better things.
It can also make a boring and monotonous workout routine fun and exciting again. I find myself in a “rut” a few times a year that makes working out seem boring, unattractive, and nearly impossible. That’s usually my cue to start looking for workout buddies.
Do you have one? Do you know where you can find one?
If you answer no to both of those questions, ask me. I’ll try to help you out.
“Gym time” is meant to be fun, energizing, and positive; not feared and dreaded. Make it happen!