It snowed. Just last week, Maine taunted us with temperatures in the 80’s and now? Snow. I find my motivation very tied to the weather. When it is cold and snowy, I want to snuggle up in blankets and watch Disney movies all day. Or the whole entire series of Friends. The last thing on my mind is sweating my ass off on the elliptical or in the living room. When the weather is nice, I have no problem doing a workout DVD and then going for a 2 mile walk outside and horse back riding – ALL IN ONE DAY. It is quite crazy how I can be at such two extremes just depending on the temperature. Yet I cannot just wait for the weather to be nice to actually exercise, I would be waiting quite awhile (why winter must you be so long? Don’t you know that Spring started last week?). So I have to find ways to motivate myself to at least do some form of exercises. The best thing about working out is you feel so much better afterwards — it’s just getting to that point that feels like you have to travel through the circles of Hell.
So I trick myself into thinking I am not going to do much working out that day. “I will just do 10 minutes on the elliptical,” I think to myself, “Yeah, 10 minutes will do the trick today.” And I feel my body instantly relax. It’s like “YES! Only 10 minutes. Hardly work up a sweat. That sounds AWESOME.” So, I make sure I am hydrated and well-fed an hour or so before working out (this is key — my body works against me if it hasn’t eaten enough or I am thirsty). Then I hop on the elliptical, listen to some music or listen to a Jillian Michael’s podcast (look it up on iTunes. I love her), and I start slow, feeling the muscles in my legs work better than they did just a month ago and start realizing how easy this has become. Next thing I know, I have upped the resistance to 7 – 8 and going much faster. I hit my stride. 10 minutes go by, but that didn’t even leave time for a cool down. So I keep going. 20 minutes go by and I am finally starting my cool down. A 10 minute work out becomes a 25 minute one, and I feel great! I accomplished more than I planned to do today, and that’s a lot better than putting too much on your plate and then letting yourself down because you just can’t hit your stride that day.
Bad days happen. Sometimes, I don’t even make it to the elliptical. Sometimes, I don’t exercise at all. Then when I do not exercise, and I do not watch my eating, I feel absolutely horrible because the scale reflects it. Oh how I hate the scale sometimes. Knowing all my secrets. That 2 pound gain… and it is so hard to work it off again. I started the beginning of March, throwing caution to the wind one night and eating out and drinking. Now normally I am pretty good about eating out, and I am pretty good at going for the lower calorie options — but not this night. I was so frustrated (oh, emotional eating) by events and people in my life that I cannot control that I ate way more than I should have. Instant 4 pound gain. Some of it was from salt but the rest of it? Overeating. It took me 3 weeks to work off that weight. 3 weeks. One night of bad judgement and it took 3 weeks of work to fix it. Now that has definitely been an eyeopener for me. I could have eaten something that tasted just as good and would not have affected me that badly. I keep this memory in mind in times I do not want to care about what I want to eat because I want to be healthy more than I want a night of carelessness.
One big thing is when you are trying to be mindful of calories, exercise and losing weight is not to do too much at once. If you are just starting out on your journey, do not try to fix all your problems at once. Start with one trouble area at a time. People become burnt out too easily if they force too many changes at once, and then they bounce back and end up gaining weight they have lost. I started by just walking around the block. I did that every morning for about 2 weeks. Then I slowly added jogging down one of the streets and then walking the rest of the block. I kept adding and adding as I got more comfortable. I never forced “I am going to run a mile by the end of next week.” I let my body grow gradually and waited until it wanted to run a mile. Listen to your body. If it is absolutely exhausted or becoming easily injured, that’s your body signaling that it is time to rest or take a step down. When you are feeling good and energetic, those are the days you push yourself more — run that extra street, block, mile. Just remember, it’s a slow process. You lose motivation when you become discouraged. Have realistic goals and motivation will come a lot easier.
Here are some more motivational tips:
1. Listen to upbeat music that makes you want to dance. Dancing around the house burns calories and makes you happier.
2. When your legs burn and sweat is pouring down your face, envision those jeans that you want to be able to fit into.
3. Getting bored of the same routine? Try other forms of exercise that may not feel like exercising. Bike riding down along a scenic route. Horseback riding. Swimming. Have a snowball fight.
4. Take a day off. You do not have to have that high impact exercise every single day. Give your body time to rebuild muscle (just try not to take 3 days off in a row — that’s when getting back into exercising becomes harder)
5. Have a weight loss “buddy.” Someone who can push you to go the distance and also keep you accountable.
6. When everyone is drinking and eating foods that make you drool, think about how much exercise it would take to burn off those calories. (Nothing tastes as good as victory when you reach a goal. Promise.)
7. Reward yourself with non-food rewards. When I reach 225 pounds, I am treating myself to two new shirts. Come up with something that you would like. When I lost 30 pounds, I rewarded myself with a workout DVD to add variety to my exercise. This reward could be anything from a weekend trip, a shopping spree, a color of nail polish that you have been wanting.
8. As stated above, trick yourself. Plan to do less until you hit that stride. You will feel much better afterwards knowing you did more than what you set out to do!
9. Set realistic goals so you do not come easily discouraged (losing 2 pounds a week is more realistic than losing 20 pounds in a month).
10. Remember you are worth it. You are worth putting in this time and energy. You deserve to kick some serious butt and feel good about yourself. So what’s stopping you?!
If you have any other motivational wisdom, I would love to hear it. I am always searching for new ways to make me work for that extra mile.
Also, I have lost another pound! So I am now officially down 36 pounds. Only 4 more pounds to go before I hit 40! Yee haw!