In previous posts, I’ve shared how I gained 20 lbs fast and couldn’t get them off, and I’ve told you about the book and app that I used to get my eating in check.
Now we’ve arrived at the sweaty portion of our story.
I mentioned previously that I was having a horrible time making a priority of my own fitness. Having a busy, busy job, a husband and 4 kids, including a toddler, it made me feel guilty to spend any part of my ridiculously busy day exercising. I could use that time elsewhere! Problem was, not getting enough exercise was contributing to my weight gain, but also to my overall anxiety and bad mood. I needed to move and move regularly.
This is another place where the “Look Better Naked” book came into play. Part of “The Plan” is a workout schedule. They ask you to work out just 4 days a week for 30 minutes per workout. Totally do-able. The reality is, I’m never going to be a P90X kind of girl. I don’t have the time or discipline to devote to exercising.
But I could certainly do 30 minutes, 4 days a week. Especially if that’s what “The Plan” told me to do. Again, this is another place where I enjoyed giving over control. Instead of me having to have the discipline to tell myself to work out, I let “The Plan” do it. As in “Well, The Plan says I have to work out this morning, so that’s what I’ll do.” No decision-making, just rule-following. And I’m VERY good at following rules.
The book includes comprehensive information on workouts you can do at home or in a gym. Tons of great info there. They also have a DVD that goes with the book and I used that for the first 6 weeks. I loved it. The workouts were just my speed: challenging enough to get a good sweat, but not so much that they made me sick or terribly sore. I also loved the combination of weights and cardio for a super efficient workout. And, the instructor in these workouts actually sweats and breathes heavily. I can’t stand DVDs where the person leading the workout looks like she’s just breezing through, while I’m a sweaty mess.
Since then, I’ve started doing other kinds of workouts, but I make sure to work out 4 days a week for 30 minutes. Sometimes I do a hill walk, sometimes I do yoga. I just need to move for 30 minutes, 4 days a week.
Lately, I’ve been using another app called Get Running’s “Couch to 5k” to try to go from being a run/walker to being a runner. Thanks to Penelope Kerstin for that recommendation, by the way. I’m absolutely loving this app. It’s another one of those tools that enables me to cede control to something else. The app tells me to do a certain workout that day, so, I do it. No thinking, no forcing myself to use discipline. Just program-following.
But, the take home here is that I have seen in the last 5 months that when I get a workout in in the morning, I am clearer, sharper and more able to focus all day. Where I’d previously felt guilty when I took time to exercise instead of working, I now know I’m actually giving my work and my family a gift: a better, smarter, more emotionally-balanced Meredith all day long. I’m not taking from them by working out, I’m giving to them. This really changed things for me and I now hold that morning workout sacred. I rarely let anything get in the way of that time. Not just for my body, but for my mind, too.
None of this is groundbreaking, people. I totally, 100% get that. But, for me, these pieces all came together to create a whole lifestyle change (and I hate hate hate that phrase) that truly made me feel like the best version of myself.
Next post: my “after” photo, along with some thoughts on how I plan to maintain a healthy weight going forward.