I still get a lot of emails and comments asking me how I started exercising and what motivates me. I've covered this many times before and I'll try to recap it here:
I was initially motivated by extreme desperation - I wanted so badly to lose weight and feel less huge and uncomfortable. I *hated* exercise or any movement. I hated sweating. And I hated being seen in less than my usual fancy attire. But my desire to change was stronger than all of those fears and I just started very, very slowly - like 5 minutes on the eliptical slowly. Over time I did a little more, tried new things, challenged myself. That's how it happens. I didn't become the person I am overnight, and I think it helped that I didn't have any expectations.
Now that I've been active for over 3 and a half years, my reasons for working out are completely different - I want the benefits. I want the amazing feeling that comes from activity. I want to see and be proud of my body.
If you are still reluctant to start, remember: I went from despising the simplest movement (walking, taking stairs, getting off the couch or out of my car) to LOVING and looking forward to physical activity - every aspect of it (well, except running, I'm still getting there) - I love walking, jumping rope, climbing the stairs, cycling, using weights - I've gone from a very lazy couch potato to a fitness enthusiast and it's one of the things I'm most proud of in my whole life. I can't even believe how I changed or who I have become as a result of activity. And you can change your life too. You just need to start.
Here are just some of the benefits I've had as a result of working out:
- Mood: My moods are better and far more stable than they used to be. (Anyone who has known me over 4 years will tell you that I was negative, moody, bitchy and kind of mean. A co-worker recently told me that she was afraid of me back then and can't believe how happy and positive I am now.)
- Confidence: I've impressed myself more times than I can count with what I realized I am physically capable of. And I intend to continue to do so. You can't buy confidence, you can only earn it, and the feeling is priceless.
- Self Esteem: I suffered from extremely low self esteem and depression for most of my life. Activity has changed my life in that I finally realized I am worth something. I matter. I am important. And you know what? I am pretty effing awesome.
- Energy: It may sound counter intuitive, but I assure you - energy breeds energy. I never feel run down or sluggish anymore. And I actually sleep less and sleep better, too. My whole body operates more efficiently now.
- PMS: I don't get cramps, wild mood swings or crazy cravings like I used to (I noticed the cramps disappeared after working out for about three months, but I attribute some of the cravings disappearing after I cut out artificial ingredients)
- Physical Appearance: I'm almost 39 and I have literally never looked this good in my life. I honestly am blown away by what I look like right now. Here I am this weekend - I weighed 141 and I think I look amazing:
- Saturday afternoon for the Punk Rope games:
- Saturday night:
- Sunday brunch:
- Monday night's bike ride:
We ended our meeting with a quote from a Weight Watchers scientist "When all else fails, anything is better than nothing" - and this is something I told a blog reader just this week: Any activity is better than no activity. Don't say you "only" did whatever (walked a mile, climbed a flight of stairs, etc). Say it proudly - you walked a mile! You climbed a flight of stairs! If that's not something you normally do, it's a huge accomplishment. Don't compare your activity to someone else's - compare it to your own - if it's more than you normally do or something you thought you would never try, that is an accomplishment! Remember, it's you vs YOU. Not you vs anyone else.
Activity will give you the confidence to believe in yourself, the desire to challenge yourself, the feeling of pride and accomplishment. Those will all happen pretty immediately. And if you continue to do those things, you will even eventually see significant changes in your body and your mood. And at that point, I assure you, you will be hooked and want to do more. That's exactly how it happened for me. And it can happen for you too. But you have to start somewhere - wherever you are right now - just challenge yourself to do a little more tomorrow than you did today. And let it build from there. It really is that simple.
Last week's accomplishments and great moments:
- In eTools, I changed the daily points back to reflect my current weight. I currently get 19 per day. I am mentioning this because I had set them artificially high when I was binging, hoping that maybe seeing a higher number (24) would get me to track and get back in control. It didn't, but it was worth a shot.
- That brings us to tracking. I tracked every day again! - even the tons of alcohol I drank this weekend (that explains the big numbers on Friday and Saturday)
- I had a lot of social events since last week's post - I went out with friends Thursday night (Amy, drinks), Friday night (Jaci, drinks), Saturday day (Punk Rope games and after party), Saturday night (birthday celebration at a bar in Manhattan) and Sunday (brunch at a friend's house). That's a LOT of socializing - way more than I'm used to - and I handled all the situations as I had planned. It went very well!
- I took my vitamins 6 out of 7 days, which is great. (Note: I get many helpful comments regarding my vitamin intake so let me address them here - I *do* have a daily vitamin organizer. That's not the issue. It's when I don't eat a conventional dinner that I forget to take them. And I can't take them in the morning because they make me very nauseous on an empty stomach.)
- I mentioned that last Friday was "Bike to Work Day" and I had my biking/commuting adventure. (You can see and read about it here.) I burned close to 1000 extra calories that day because of my biking.
- I worked out every day! Here's my activity spreadsheet:
- On Saturday, I missed my Total Body Conditioning class because of the Punk Rope games. (I love that class!) But since I missed it, I hit the treadmill for the first time in over a month (I still hate running!). The thing I look forward to most when I'm running is, well, stopping. But the second thing I look forward to is coming home and plugging in my iPod where it broadcasts to the world my stats. I always look forward to showing the world: Look! I actually ran!
- I like to take my measurements monthly but I hadn't done it in months - since before my mac crashed and I lost all my data. I *finally* pulled out my tape measure and took them last week. Measurements 38-26. 5-39, thigh = 24 That's the smallest I have ever been since keeping my measurements! (Note: My largest measurements ever were 46-35-48, thigh = 32". I was a size 16 in skirts.)
- I stopped eating dinner on Wednesday night when i realized I was no longer hungry. That was pretty significant. And the best part is the half I didn't eat became dinner on Thursday.
- I had a little contest with William last week - It was beautiful out and I wanted to walk to the gym (it's 3/4 mile from the office). Of course he won't walk (and he can't walk as fast as me anyway), so he drove. We left at the same time and I wore my heart rate monitor to time us. I actually beat him by 30 seconds. Woo hoo!
- In last week's pilates class, my instructor challenged us to a 90 second plank - and I did it!
- I realized that I started using the word 'awesome' again - for the last month or so, when people asked me how I was, I noticed the word "excellent" was popping out of my mouth. I really wasn't feeling awesome like I used to. And just this weekend when someone asked me, and the word 'awesome' escaped my lips, I thought "I DO feel awesome again!" It was great to realize that!
- As I mentioned last week, I really did work on my empowering beliefs (and positive self talk) - I can do it, I'm worth it, I deserve to be happy and loved.
Here's what I want to work towards this week:
- Plan for the weekend - it's Memorial Day! Again, I have a lot of social activities and want to make sure I have a strategy for each.
- Continue to track my food and take my vitamins - going for 3 weeks in a row.
- Keep up with my activity, of course, including a very rare bike adventure with a friend - Lainy! I can hardly wait to see her!
- Keep up with the empowering beliefs and positive self talk. They've been helping me all week.
Before I go, here's a shot for those of you that think I don't sweat when I work out - this is after my 120 flights of stairs yesterday -
Have a *great* week and holiday weekend, everyone! xo