I used to love to walk…if it was between 68-72 degrees with no wind and no rain. That came out to about 10 days a year. It wasn’t a very effective exercise program. If I did anything else – treadmill, elliptical, exercise bike – I would talk to myself about how much I hated it. I was completely self-defeating.
If you tell yourself you hate something enough times, you will eventually truly hate it and quit doing it. Another way I would sabotage myself is to pretend I was eighteen again and exercise for an hour after years of being sedentary. I’d be so sore for days – too sore to exercise for sure!
I wish I could tell you that you never have to exercise: that you just have to take a magic pill and it will have all the beneficial effects of exercise on your skeletal system, your pulmonary system, your cardiovascular system, your skin, your hair, and your BRAIN. That sentence alone should clinch it for you. That should turn on the “lightbulb.” The fact that exercise affects ALL of those things in a dramatic way is what should move us all.
Sure, there are pills you can take to lose weight. You can have one of the weight-loss surgeries. You can eat only cabbage soup or grapefruit. You can do the South Beach Diet or the Mediterranean Diet or go Paleo. You can do Weight Watchers, Jennie Craig, Nutrisystem or the HCG diet. Any of them, if you stick to them, will help you lose weight. But, losing weight doesn’t fix everything.
You need strength to endure the effects of aging, to have good balance, to maintain your emotional well-being and to keep that weight off. You need it to avoid cardiovascular disease and to build muscles to support your bones and joints. You need some good weight-bearing activity to prevent osteoporosis. All of this is a pretty big deal. So you have to. You have to do something.
One of the things I do now is repeat in my head (even if I happen to think I’m dying), things like:
- “You’re doing a great job!”
- “You’re getting so strong.”
- “This is a priority for me.”
- “I’m so glad I’m doing this.”
- “I enjoy the feeling of my muscles working hard.”
This way, there’s less of a chance my mind is going to find ways to get out of a work-out. I truly do enjoy it. I enjoy it mostly when it’s done. But, I enjoy it. I scarcely miss a day because it is so vital to the way I look and feel.
Since I do it every day, I work-out for 30 minutes and nothing more. I work really hard in those 30 minutes – improving something every day. And then I’m done. Until tomorrow. So, change the recording in your head – even if you have to lie a little. First, pick something you can at least tolerate doing (you don’t have to run), then, tell yourself you enjoy it. If you’re exercising outdoors, look around for things you’re grateful you were able to see while you were out there. Listen to some great music. Treat yourself to some new music downloads and make different playlists so you don’t get sick of the same old music.
Don’t let the old, worn-out recording of your own voice in your head (saying how much you hate exercise) derail your best efforts. Allow your subconscious to be on your team and rather than what you’ve done in the past, this time, create the self-fulfilling prophecy you intend.