How I trick Myself Into Working Out

 
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Was it the fact I was closing in on 40? The dysfunctional thyroid I didn’t know about? The pregnancy where I could barely eat and yet somehow gained 35 lbs? Was it my husband who loves me unconditionally, and would tell me “I looked fine” and hand me yet another taco?

I’m fairly confident that all the above factors played a roll, but just to tip the scale in favor of major weight gain, I also stopped working out a few years ago. (I’m pretty sure that was the thyroid no longer working - I had become so incredibly demotivated and fatigued for what seemed like no reason - oh and my appetite went waaaay up).

I FINALLY got on top of the hypothyroidism and feel like a million dollars. My appetite is back under control, my mood has improved, and I have so much more energy! (Seriously, get a check up done before making a get-into-shape-plan. You might be surprised at what simple blood work might uncover).

Now the hard work of getting back into exercise can begin. And, oh yes, I really need it. I present you with a dramatization of Thursday’s events:

I need a treadmill for my jumbo bumbo STAT.

I need a treadmill for my jumbo bumbo STAT.

For a minute I was in abject terror that I’d lost my daughter. The neighbor I was was with (who Could see her) thought I had lost my mind as I continued to shriek “WHERE’s the baby?!!”

Sigh. No, not lost. Just in a blind spot. Under my BUTT.

So it’s time to bust this booty and get in shape!!

As it’s been a while so I’ve had to really draw on my inner motivation to get out the door. As such I’m whipping out my old list of tricks - a formula for the escape velocity needed to break free of the couch’s gravitational pull. Here they are:


1.Mind Games: Instead of saying I have to work out i say I “get” to work out, but this only works if I think it with actual enthusiasm. This can take practice as it often sounds like total sarcasm. (I get to work out. Yay.) All kidding aside, this actually does work at times. And you can get creative. As long as it “sounds” enthusiastic when you say it to yourself in your head. You can go the Ralph Wiggums route (Yay! I’ll pretend i’m a rocket!), or Inigo Montoya: (Hello fat, my name is Allegra. You killed my favorite pants. Prepare to die) or just go plain bad-ass and chanel Samuel L Jackson: (“and you will know my name is the lord, when i lay my vengeance upon thee!!!” *I’m looking at YOU, cankles)!

2. Use Psychology: Ask yourself “What could I keep doing right now to keep feeling crappy?” Don’t ask my why this works, but it does. Asking myself what I could do right now to feel good just doesn’t have the same conscious-shifting power. Also “good” is complicated. Sitting on my booty watching Santa Clarita Diet feels good in a way (love you Drew!), but also kind of…not good. Being overly sedentary starts effecting my quality of happiness because I know I’m mortgaging future good health.

*When my husband’s Grandma was in the hospital a few years back for surgery her doctor’s told her that for every day she was in bed she’d have to do another hour of physio-therapy. This really put things into perspective for me about my love affair with the sofa.

The point is, when I ask myself what I could I keep doing to keep feeling crappy and I can only answer “by continuing to sit here, dodging salads and feeling my skin slowly graft to the couch” I suddenly find i don’t want to keep doing it.

3.Change My focus: I can’t motivate myself to work out to look good. First, i’ve never felt good enough, fit enough (Anything enough) even when I was 70 lbs lighter and my skin was firmer. And though i know i’ll look a little better if i lose weight by society’s standards, it’s not going to get me out the door. This is because I know my appearance won’t have changed (size-wise) by the time I’m done, and it won’t for a long time. So I try to focus on what WILL change:

  • My skin will look healthier

  • My head will feel clearer

  • I’ll get to see how my neighborhood is doing (this is especially interesting since Hurricane Michael).

  • I’ll get out of the little boxy-cave that my home becomes when I never leave it.

  • I’ll get some Vitamin D.

  • I’ll be able to sit around all I want for the rest of the day without guilt.

  • I’ll be able to mentally get on with other tasks of the day because I did the thing.

  • I’ll have peace of mind that my muscles are getting strengthened which will help me prevent all the many injuries I now get in my poor ankles and feet from supporting all this weight.

(BTW: I’m thrilled society is beginning to accept slightly curvier people - when I was growing up ‘heroin chic’ was all the rage and you were only attractive if you were a bag of bones. It really messed with my head, and 115-120 lbs I was considered ‘fat’ by certain people who were around me at the time and I believed it. I’m not promoting morbid OBESITY, but it’s a PRIVILEGE to live in a time when you can be an actual person. With the gift of some basic dignity I’m actually more inclined to go out the door and run without the fear of being humiliated).

4. Remind myself it will get the creative juices flowing. When I’m out there, working out without the same technological distractions and without staring at the same furniture arranged in the same way, when I’m seeing new things and experiencing a different state of mind it’s like someone is power-washing the gunk out my mind. With all those typical thoughts on loop all day it’s no wonder I have a hard time solving plot-holes in my writing etc. when i’ve left my cocoon of sameness i’ll suddenly figure out how re-capitate a character’s head or come up with new comic ideas. Sometimes if I’m lucky I’ll get the Bubble Guppies out of my head.

5. Take baby steps. If i really have a case of the “I-don’t-wannas” I’ll Do it for 5 minutes. Sometimes just a walk. Then if I feel like continuing, I continue. If I feel like picking up into a run, then I run. This takes the pressure and magnitude of my exercise plan way down and makes it seem so much easier when I’m facing this huge task at the end of an already tiring work day. And if I DO just walk for 10 or 15 minutes - that’s great! I had an experience I otherwise wouldn’t have, Saw things I would have missed. But most importantly I made strides to normalize the act of getting out of my house for exercise, and we all know the hardest part of exercise is making it a pattern and a routine. I’ve already spent decades normalizing sitting. Hell, I’ve made it an Olympic sport.

6. Promise myself a reward of some sort, like Set up a congratulatory health-shake for when I’m done, or Get chris to massage my legs or take over a task for me that would normally be my responsibility. I used to Write in an exercise journal about how I felt to reinforce the good feelings but i just don’t have a whole lot of time these days. it worked, though, so if the above motivators don’t work, i might just get my journaling on.

How about you? Do you have any tips to motivate yourself? The more, the better!