After a month or more of missing out on my gym time and writing columns lamenting the fact, I am finally getting back on track. I’m still not exactly where I want to be, but what the heck—at least I’m moving.
As frustrating as this hiatus has been, I can offer a few notes and suggestions that might help if you, like me, fall down on the job repeatedly and have to keep picking yourself up.
This morning an email came through my inbox with a subject line asking, “Is Fitness Worth It?” Okay, so that’s easy. Of course it’s worth it. I may have slacked off lately, but I know my health is important, and I know that the only person I can count on to take care of my health is me. No brainer.
I’ve learned how very common it is for people to start working out, say like at the beginning of the year after a New Year’s resolution, then start to slack off and revert to their (our) couch-potato-cake-and-candy-eating ways. Because sticking to lifestyle changes in diet and exercise is hard. Real hard.
Many moons ago now, my daughter told me I should stop complaining about how hard it all is and just do it anyway. “You do hard stuff every single day,” she said. It was true then and it is true now. I do hard stuff all the time, so doing this hard thing is just one more to add to the list. Those wise words have helped me every time I feel the “it’s hard” whine coming on.
Here’s another thing: having workout buddies really helps!
Find people to work out with. Find a group that supports your efforts. Find a way to make your exercise time social time, too. I suggest finding somebody more or less at your fitness level along with an activity you enjoy doing, then push it from there. Whether it’s simply going for a walk (my mom, at 70, walks miles at a time in the nature center near where she lives, with her walking buddy) or hitting the gym or a dance class, having somebody along to talk to or commiserate with is great, and it really makes working out easier.
The biggest benefit, to me at least, is having somebody to hold me accountable. Somebody who will call and say, “Still on for the gym today?” That really helps me, and I’m in favor of anything that helps me get this done.
Schedule your workouts, and make that time for yourself a priority. One of the things that happened in the past month is that I was either not putting my workouts in my calendar, or I put them in the calendar, but I was canceling my workouts right and left. This week I’m back to scheduling that time in—and making it stick.
Meal preparation ahead of time is a huge thing for me! When I prepare my lunches for the week on Sunday, during the week when I’m in a hurry, that becomes the easiest lunch to grab. When I don’t do my meal prep ahead of time, I find myself winging it day by day. Planning ahead really helps me stay away from processed food.
Ironically—or perhaps not—the thing that really got me back into my workout routine was my body. My legs started to feel jumpy. I noticed my ankles were more swollen than they had been. The longer I went without a good hard workout, the more I craved one. And when I got one Thursday at the hands of a personal trainer, it felt great. I mean really great.
And the next three or four days of waddling around sore—that also felt great.
I used to think those people who were happy about being sore were nuts. But what that felt like to me last week was accomplishment. It felt like follow-through and commitment. And it felt like I got off my butt at last, and that was really the best feeling of all.
What are the challenges you face in getting fit, and how do you deal with them? You can contact me at 505-286-1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or join the conversation in my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!” I’d love to hear from you.