Monday, February 21, 2011

The Exercise Issue.

Through speaking with others, as well as through my own experience, I've found that the most daunting aspect of striving for a healthier lifestyle is exercising.  A variety of issues come along with said obstacle.  I, for one, simply just hated exercising.  When you live the majority of your life as an overweight person, it is entirely possible that you've developed an aversion to the idea.  For others it may simply be that they fear being judged.  Then there's the most common dilemma, just lacking the time.

From the start of this diet, I was rather concerned that daily exercise was recommended.  I knew myself, and I knew it wasn't going to happen.  When you've been conditioned since childhood to feel that exercise is always accompanied by discomfort and or humiliation, it's not something you look upon positively.  So how did I conquer this unpleasant foe?  I more or less ignored it for many months.  Now I realize that this isn't the best advice necessarily.  If you have the willpower and determination to exercise from the start, then you are going to transform your body even more quickly.  You'll reap the benefits from day one.  But if the thought of exercise intimidates you so much that you'd otherwise be discouraged from trying to lose weight entirely, then this may be the best option for you as it was for me.

Once the weight began falling off, both my energy and confidence skyrocketed.  Now exercise doesn't scare me nearly as much.  Now this isn't to say that I'm little miss fitness or that I passionately love exercising.  It is still a mental battle for me to make myself do it.  I still have this ingrained dislike of the thought of exercising.  I very likely always will, but I have found ways to overcome it.  Some ways in which you can do this are to keep an exercise journal.  You can do it the oldfashioned way with a notepad and pencil or you can download a fitness tracking app on your smartphone. also offers an amazing online fitness tracker for free.  Being able to journal your exercise not only motivates you through seeing the results, it helps remind you that you actually did enjoy exercising eventhough the old you would never believe this!  Another option is to get your closest friends and family to act as support for you.  When you forget to feel ashamed and you begin to take pride in the journey you're embarking on, it isn't a big deal to tell someone, "Hey, I want to exercise, but I have trouble making myself do it...Would you mind holding me accountable or reminding me how good it makes me feel?"

This brings us to the next dilemma, finding the confidence required to get out there and not care what others think.  Just the other night a girl asked how I overcame the inevitable self-consciousness that comes along with exercising as a less than fit girl.  It was then that I realized it's quite common to be concerned about how and where to exercise comfortably without feeling judged.  At first you may have to find alternatives to more public fitness options.  If feeling judged by others is enough to make you not want to exercise, then you won't.  So instead do what I did and find a fitness DVD with fitness level appropriate workouts and do them in your own home.  Also, if you live in an area that is conducive to it, take late night walks.  You'll feel less exposed, plus it's entirely enjoyable.

I do want to make one point however.  So much of the insecurity that accompanies being overweight is rooted in our own minds.  In retrospect I see this.  I'm not denying that judgements are made here and there by cruel people, but I think it happens far less than it feels like it does.  When you feel like you are being stared at or labeled, remember who you are.  You are a beautiful person.  Not only that, but you are a strong and determined individual.  You are someone who is fighting a battle that so many perceive as impossible, and you are winning!  In this present moment, you may not be as proud of your appearance as you would like to be, but you are actively changing that.  There are few things that should fill you with more pride.  So be proud!

The third problem that many face when it comes to exercise is more or less universal.  Even if you don't have issues with confidence or the exercise itself, you may very well find yourself wondering how you will possibly have the time to exercise.  I struggle with this as well.  Eventhough I don't spend extensive amounts of time exercising, it is still difficult at times to make myself exercise when I know there's laundry to be folded or errands to do.  You simply have to begin prioritizing differently.  It is worth the hassle.  Folding that laundry is not a lifelong investment, but exercising is.  The healthier you get, the more energy and stamina you'll have, so the endless list of life's obligations becomes more and more doable.  Many times you'll find that exercising, even for a short time, will give you that second wind you need to make the most of your day even.  Also, whatever amount of exercise you can manage is worth it.  Many times I only do pilates for 20 minutes, but that's infinitely better than not exercising at all.  You can do it.  You're worth it, and when you start seeing results this will become even more apparent.

Remember that you are completely in control of your body.  You choose how many calories to consume and you choose how many you wish to burn.  There are so many psychological things entangled with dieting though, that sometimes it's hard to recognize that it truly is simple mathematics.  Exercising is very much like saving money.  You may wish you could save more and do so more frequently, but not doing it at all is far worse than saving even a little over a longer amount of time.  It adds up!

One last note of inspiration I would like to make is that when I began this diet I had no idea just what a difference it would make.  It doesn't simply transform what you see in the mirror.  It transforms what you're capable of and what possibilities the world holds for you.  It's hard to realize just how much being unhealthy hampers the level of enjoyment you can get out of life.  This isn't to say being unhealthy means you're entirely unhappy, but the world opens up to you when you become healthier.  The list of things you can't do grows shorter by the day until it very nearly vanishes!  Personally, it's as though someone unlocked a door for me.  I feel like the possibilities for enjoying the simple pleasures in life are innumerable, and it's a truly beautiful feeling.

Here's wishing you the best of luck this week as you all continue on your journey.  I'm currently once again a bit plateaued, but I know it will end, as they always do.  Feel free to comment with any questions you might have, and as always you can message me on Facebook with whatever you like whether that be personal triumphs, concerns, or anything you wish.

If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” - Albert Einstein


  1. That is a great post and actually motivated me to get out of my chair, Keep up the good writing. I look forward to more....

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. The inspiration and encouragement actually brought me to tears, because sometimes I forget that I'm worth the effort. You are an angel!

  3. You are worth the effort anon! We all are. It's when we realize this that we'll finally begin doing ourselves justice. Sometimes we get so lost in taking care of others that we forget that taking care of ourselves is just as important. :)

  4. You write so beautifully... I just started Ducan diet and feel like the only one who lacks motivation but this post made me realize i am far from alone.
    I got a bit discouraged as on my 4th day of attack phase i already gained back half a pound from the 3 i lost so far, but after reading this post i see that that shouldnt stop me from continuing this diet and i will keep losing weight!