Two weeks ago, I hurt my back at work and had to sit out because the pain was too intense. Seriously. The doctor gave me all kinds of pills, which upset my stomach, so I decided that I would just rest. Strangely enough, I felt calm and peaceful. I did not freak out like I used to thinking, OMG! I can’t work out to make up for all the food I want to eat and I don’t want to stop eating, so now I’m going to gain a bunch of weight.
I was SO excited to get back to the gym, not for all of the calories I could burn, but because I just felt funny, like I wanted and NEEDED to move my body.
How many of you use exercise to “make up for” the food you eat?
That got me to thinking about what I did to get to this place which is what I want to share with you today: the 7 steps to falling in love with your workouts.
1. Forget about doing it for weight loss
There is a big ole lie going around that says, if you don’t sweat, it doesn’t count. Studies have shown that walking for just 5-10 minutes helps increase blood flow and boost your mood. When we get caught up in wanting to do it for calorie burn it makes us obsessive, crazy almost about trying to create a calorie deficit. When I was doing Weight Watchers, I did my very best every week to earn as many activity points as they gave us to eat so I could “lose weight faster.” I was working out all the time and losing weight very slowly. When I started relaxing about it and making it a point to be active 3-4 times a week at a minimum and more if I had time, I actually started to have better results and have time for other activities in my life.2
2. Find something you actually like doing
This is the second mistake I think a lot of women make when it comes to exercise. They want to pick running or boot camp because it has the highest calorie burn. Doesn’t matter that they hate running and pushups. They just want the weight gone like yesterday. The problem with that is when the scale doesn’t move fast enough (and it never will) you feel discouraged and quit leading to…you guessed it. No more weight loss or even the weight coming back. It is so much better for your health and self-esteem to do something less intense that you actually enjoy doing and will stick to than something you hate for quick results.
3. Be willing to suck at it
Let’s face it, if you haven’t worked out in a while, you will probably not be able to do as much as the person who has been at it for a while. Be on the lookout for evil thoughts like “I should be faster, I used to be able to run a 9 minute mile” or “I used to be able to lift 20 pounds…I suck.” Muscles have memory. You will be able to get back to that level probably faster than it took you to get there the first time, but you will have to put some work in .
4. Create a minimum baseline
This is my secret weapon for staying consistent. If you are doing this to be healthy for the rest of your life, you will need to move for the rest of your life. So, you want to pick a minimum movement goal that you can stick to. It should be something that is so easy you know you will be able to do it forever. How to set your baseline: choose a minimum # of days per week: I will walk/run/yoga/salsa/etc. 3x/week for 5-10 minutes. I recommend no more than 4 days per week and a max of 15 minutes until you really get a routine going because when you have had a long day and you’re tired and everyone has gotten on your nerves, you’re not going to want to do it, so if you start with 5-10 minutes, you can still get that in. Yes, you can keep moving if you start your workout and feel like doing more. 🙂
5. Be prepared
You’ll want to quit-remember the minimum you promised to yourself. You’re not going to feel like it some days. Just put your shoes on and start anyway-remember it’s only 5-10 minutes. Make it easy on yourself. I have found it helpful to put my gym clothes on before leaving work. It is much more difficult to drive past the gym if you’ve taken the time to change your clothes-especially at work once people have seen you. Think about any other obstacles to getting your minimum in and come up with a strategy BEFOREHAND. It’s too easy to say forget it in the heat of the moment.
6. Make it a special occasion
I have a favorite podcast I like to listen to when I run and I ONLY listen to the podcast during my runs, so it’s like a treat. If I notice them piling up, it’s time to go for a long run. Oh! And don’t forget your cute workout gear! I have found that treating myself to some cute workout clothes gets me excited. What things can you think of to make your workout time special?
7. Look forward to being proud of yourself
It’s really easy to get discouraged when we are looking at exercise as a tool for weight loss, but when you look at where you started from and what you want to achieve, it’s easier to keep pushing. Envision yourself being proud about running a mile or two or three without stopping or doing 20 pushups without going to your knees or climbing the stairs without getting out of breath. These are the things that will help you keep going when you feel like quitting.
Have you been working out like a maniac or avoiding exercise because you haven’t been seeing the results you want? Which of these tactics do you think you will incorporate?