It could be that you have dealt with weight issues for a long time, you just had a baby this year, or your health has just turned south… either way getting back into exercise can be a challenge. Let me help!
First, be easy on yourself. I am talking about being compassionate with yourself. Self-compassion is more important than self-esteem. In other words, its okay to recognize in a non-harsh manner that it hurts to exercise right now and that you might not be perfect. “Insanity,” “P-90X,” and/or running many miles each day might not be the most effective way to start. Instead, be kind to yourself know that small steps will absolutely lead to big improvements. You will not get the “runner high” yet and that’s ok. If you don’t slowly warm up your body to the idea of consistent exercise you will inevitably fail and hurt yourself both physically and psychologically. So, recognize that your physical weaknesses are nothing more than challenges. Blaming yourself for where you are at right now does you no good. Instead, I want you recognize where you are and accept that you can take one step forward today. Be okay with decimal change each day!
Second, focus on the short-term benefits. Going to the scale every day, waiting for pant size to decrease, or watching your belly shrink can be discouraging to wait for. Yes, you want the long-term reasons for exercise to be on your mind but you need to have short-term reasons for getting out there and moving! Think about what you notice when your are done with exercise. Do you feel more clear thinking? Do you feel grateful that you feel exhausted? After all, that exhaustion is temporary and turns into more energy. If you are someone who likes to check things off on a list then put it on a list and feel good checking it off. Or, are you just stressed and had a bad day? Then go sweat it out and release the stress. Maybe you want to write a blog post or share on social media?
In working with hundreds of people in this situation I have also found that part of short-term motivation has to do with finding the right exercise. In fact, it may not even need to be referred to as “exercise.” People seem to respond best when we call it “movement.” Find your movement that works for you! You don’t have to go to the gym. You can do what you want. It can be as simple as starting with every time someone asks you to meet for coffee or lunch you can respond with let’s meet for a walk. Find your movement… find what you like to do not just what you have to do!
Third, get others involved. Don’t go it alone! I once knew someone who started their workout by walking down the street to check on a neighbor friend who was in bad health. Then this person progressed to walking around the block before getting to the friends house. Then it elevated to more and more! You can also get people involved by sharing your plans and sharing your successes.
Fourth, recognize that exercise/movement is not only done in a gym. Sure, I love to run outside and on trails. I also love to climb trees. Nothing makes me feel more like a kid than climbing a tree. Setting a 30-minute timer and getting up and down as much as I can is a great way for movement… I love it! But just because that works for me doesn’t mean it works for you. Find your movement!
Fifth and last (for today), put it on a calendar. We put the important events on the calendar. Well, you are important… so put yourself on your calendar. Be easy on yourself. I have seen so many people try to be hard on themselves and punish themselves in the weight loss process and they all fail. I want you to accept where you are but not accept remaining there. Where you are today is a launch pad for where you’ll be tomorrow.
Find your movement!