For Things One, Two and Three, Click Here
Thing 4: Believing Exercise is Torture
I’ve heard many people over the years lament about how much they “hate” exercise. This tells me one of three things:
a) they have a physical condition that makes it painful to move
b) they are currently sedentary, meaning once they start exercising, they will stop hating it
c) they have not found an exercise they enjoy.
I will be the first one to tell you, I HATE running. I have tried it, numerous times. I remember running as a highschool student with my older brother (who is a runner) and hating it. I just went running the other day, as a matter of fact, and I still hate it. No matter how I dress it up, with better shoes or a prettier location, I hate it. It hurts my joints. I feel uncoordinated. I don’t like the pounding. It actually feels like torture to me. And this from the girl who works out 6 days a week. So, trust me, I get it when people tell me they hate exercise.
That’s why, when people ask me what exercise I recommend, I say, “the best form of exercise is the one YOU will do.”
If you currently hate exercise but want to love it, try this:
a. See a doctor. If you have a physical condition that is precluding you from being fit, talk to someone (not me…I’m not a doctor) about that. Sometimes trying a new medicine, taking a natural supplement or making changes in your diet will eliminate the pain enough for you to exercise. Also, your doctor may be able to recommend an exercise for you that won’t hurt. Swimming, for example, provides one of the best cardiovascular workouts with almost no impact on your joints. Interestingly enough, incorporating exercise into your life could actually eliminate the pain that precluded you from exercising in the first place! Weird. And if your doctor doesn’t give you some good suggestions, see a different doctor.
b. Try a new exercise. My husband is such a shining example of this. When I met him, he was all fit and buff. He lifted weights a lot, ran a little and played sports. Then, over the years, like many of us, he just sort of lost interest in exercise. Softball hurt his knees and ankles. The elliptical was ho-hum. Weights couldn’t hold his attention. He’d walk with me if I asked him to, but he wasn’t feeling the love. Then last year, he signed up to do the Ride to Conquer Cancer and started cycling. Not only did he discover that he liked cycling, but he found out he was good at it. So good at it, in fact, that he finished 3rd on the Ride! Suddenly, he was the talk of the little cycling community at his work, and he liked that, too. Then, he decided to try a triathlon (swim, bike, run). He completed two small races last year, while training for a Half Iron Man (1.2 mile Swim | 56 mile Bike | 13.1 mile Run), which he completed this past July. He’s looking for another one to complete next year. He’s in the groove and he’s in the best shape of his life, simply because he tried something new.
c. Think outside the box. Not all exercise has to be done wearing a sports bra in a gym. What about gardening? Or skiing? Or tennis? Or hiking? The important thing is to remember God created your body to move. Everything works better when you incorporate exercise into your life. Moving is as natural as eating and breathing. You aren’t supposed to hate it.
Thing 5: Setting a Weight-Loss Goal
Generally, I’m a goal-setting kind of girl. I set goals. I like goals. Yet, I am so stinkin’ conflicted about setting weight-loss goals, for three reasons:
a) Weight-loss goals imply that we have more control over our bodies than we really do (we can control what we eat and how much we exercise, but we cannot control how our bodies will react to that behavior—I am living this reality right now, with not being able to lose 18 pounds no matter what I do).
b) Weight loss goals suggest a beginning and an ending (this may tempt us to work hard and diet until we reach that goal and then resort back to previous bad behavior when it’s over).
c) Weight-loss goals may cause us to feel like we are failing because we aren’t losing enough weight or not losing it fast enough, when in fact, we may be doing great. (Maybe the goal is unrealistic for our body type, for our age or for the time-frame we’ve allowed.)
Setting in our minds “I am going to lose XX-pounds” or “I am going to exercise until I can fit into that dress for my cousin’s wedding” can completely backfire on us. If we don’t reach the goal, we could become discouraged and quit. Once we reach the goal, we could become overly confident and quit. If you find yourself eating well and exercising with a weight-loss goal in mind, here is a way to allow those goals to work for you, not against you:
Decide you are going to live a healthy life (not go on a diet) and let your body do what it is going to do. Focus on eating well and exercising, and your body will respond the way it is designed to respond—with fat reduction, increased muscle mass, more efficient circulation, and a million other things we cannot see. It requires a complete paradigm shift. It goes against everything The Biggest Loser has taught us, thus far. It is a biggie, even for me. My personal trainer suggested this approach to me last week (after watching me bust my butt at the gym for a year now without losing a pound and becoming very discouraged as a result), and I’ve been mulling over his words for days. What if, instead of setting weight goals or size goals, we simply changed the way we ate and moved (forever) and decided to be okay with the result?
Phew. That sounds sort of liberating, if you ask me.
What do you think about that? Let’s discuss.