So, you want to work out. But, oh no! You’re feeling a little unmotivated? You don’t know where to start? It isn’t always helpful to hear “just do it,” even if it’s a little bit true. There are times where we all feel unmotivated and that’s why we need to be dedicated, let out a deep sigh, and just do it.
It’s more mental than physical. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I know exactly what you’re thinking.
How do we become dedicated? It can take weeks to months for a habit to solidify so how do we break down a few of these mental barriers to even get there in the first place?
You don’t need a gym: A lot of people get stuck on “where” before “how” and there are a number of reasons why a gym membership is actually an inconvenience or out of budget for many individuals. There are also people who find the gym absolutely boring. That’s fine! Our bodies already come equipped with cardiovascular machinery and can be used as a resistance tool. Our own homes, parks, and backyards are perfect places to workout and with the addition of a few small, affordable tools you can even up to ante without ever setting foot inside a gym.
Small steps before big leaps: If you’ve never worked out before or simply need to get more active in general; then don’t worry too much with whipping your ass into a protoplasmic pile of goo quite yet. We’re all beginners at some point in time, and you need to let yourself be a beginner. The risk of injury is high for a beginner and that’s the biggest mood killer of them all. Don’t pop in a “Maximum Hardcore Power Shred 9000X²” DVD and expect to come out of that experience with a positive outlook on the days and weeks to come. You probably have some idea of where your fitness level is at, so be generous and be forgiving. For some people, fitness starts simply at taking more stairs and walking longer distances around town and that’s absolutely great.
Write out a plan for the day: At night, I often write in my phone’s little “sticky note” application what I want to do at the gym tomorrow morning and what weight, sets, and reps I may want to attempt them at. Not only will it help you zone in and focus on the task, but you’ll be thinking about your workout in advance as well. Having a plan will reduce the number of “unknown variables” so you can just get started and stop second guessing yourself, a life-saver for the anxious.
Set out your workout clothes and supplies the night before: No matter when you’re planning to workout, just be ready well in advance. Don’t get stuck in a situation where you’re frantically trying to slap things together, getting stressed out, and only to discover your shorts are dirty and your water bottle has mysteriously been stolen by gremlins.
Try a different time of day if you’re stumbling with your current one: This one is dependant a lot on personality and the mercy of your schedule and home life. Understandably, some people have less flexibility so it’s not always possible to switch time slots around. This was personally my biggest game changer, though. I used to workout in the evening but by the end of a day my “introvert battery” was clocked and more times than not I said, “it’s blanket time.” Morning is my favorite time of day and I’m fresh when I wake up, so I started going in the morning. It sounds obvious but it honestly was the best thing I ever did.
Find an exercise that genuinely excites you: The best workout is one that is fun for you to do, not the one that burns the most calories. Don’t waste too much time on running if you’d rather have your toenails ripped out with a pair of rusty pliers. There are a million ways to get a workout, so shop around!
Switch it up and be open to trying something new: Having a game plan in place certainly is a pillar of success, but a good dose of spontaneity can give you that twinge of excitement you’re looking for and even introduce you to new workouts you never guessed you’d like. Personally, I’d love to try a Zumba class sometime!
Try a podcast or audiobook instead of music: Only continue your playthrough a little before a workout, while working out, and a little after a workout. If you’re getting somewhere juicy, guess what? Gotta workout.
Do something if you’re not up for everything: Making a good habit and becoming dedicated isn’t about having all cylinders firing at max 24/7. That is the key difference between motivation and dedication. If you don’t feel like challenging your personal records today, that’s fine. Pick a comfortable intensity, pick a nice small chunk of time. Also, going for a walk is an absolutely marvelous workout. It counts. It all counts. Feeling like a shut in today? Keep a jump rope and a yoga mat around. Build a list of Youtube videos you could do on that rainy day. Get some bodyweight routines in or jog in place a little. If you’re sore, just stretch. Doing a little bit of anything will uphold your habit and your dedication. Some days we achieve, other days we survive.
Sometimes rest days are announced, not planned: If you’ve been getting into the swing of things but wake up feeling sick, exhausted, or have unexplained pain take the rest if you really think you need it. You’re not “skipping the gym,” if you seriously need the rest. Try as we might to have a super tight plan, sometimes we have unexpected issues. Rest is also necessary.
@unfcking Ask and you shall receive! I hope you find something helpful here.
The first picture was taken a little over a year ago, I wasn’t quite at my biggest here as I was too embarrassed with myself to take a before pic. My starting weight was about 224 pounds and the second pic that I took last week on vacation I am 178lbs. I’ve lost 46lbs in total and gained about 6lbs in muscle but still have more to go. At first it was unbelievably tough but now I have made a lifestyle change and feel so much better about myself physically and mentally. Just figured I would post my progress here as I remember going through other people’s post of their weight loss and fitness journey’s and it really inspired me!
I try not to focus too hard on the numbers with my blog, but I thought I’d answer this since I get asked it a lot. What I’d call the “main” portion of my weight loss journey occurred over 4 college semesters (you know, back when life was measured in semesters instead of years). So, about 2 years. Between the summer of 2009 and the fall semester of 2011, I went from 312 lbs to 173 lbs.
Well, what happened between then and now?
2012-2013 was my (second, lol) senior year. Not going to lie, I just maintained. Which, I’m happy about! That’s real life! Between classes, exams, graduation, being a lab technician, planning a relocation, and more I’m 100% absolutely jazzed that I maintained that weight loss with only a few up here and a few down there. What that means is my lifestyle change was successful! It stuck!
What about after, after that?
I moved to Michigan, which was super exciting. My boyfriend had a great job locked in, and while I was lagging a bit I picked up a grocery job right down the street to occupy my time and get at least a little cash flowing. It was a pretty labor intensive job in the produce section where it wasn’t uncommon for me to walk 8 miles by the end of my day all whilst lifting 40 lb sacks of potatoes all day. Surely I lost some weight then?
A little. I went down to 165 lbs in 2014. Even with all that movement? Well, I had a problem. Retail is really stressful. People are batshit insane and ultra-entitled. What was my problem?
Pretty frequently after an 8-hour shift, I’d shimmy up to the register on my way out with some chocolates and a tipple of wine. It’s sobering how little it takes, but this little ritual a few times a week was enough to take my daily moderate labor to -8lbs over a whole year. And, that’s nothing to really get upset about. Surely the hoisting of potatoes for 18 months did something great for my body? I had only really walked, biked, and done simple (light) weight exercises up until this point. I got a lot stronger on this job.
2015-2016 was my year for getting revved up again, though. We moved to a new apartment, I started doing freelance, and we signed up for a gym and a half marathon. I got down to my current weight. I started weight lifting and we’ve kept running. That brings us to today where I’m going to the gym 5 times a week now, lifting significantly heavier things, meal prepping like a BAMF, and training for a second half marathon.
I know this post may beg a few more questions, but this is the “very long” version of my answer to “how long did it take to lose the weight?”
Any pace is a good pace. Always remember that both the good and bad parts of life happen. We have fun, vacations, and holidays. We have losses and upsets. You’re not racing. You’re not “locking” yourself away in a box that can only be opened later. This is real life, and it’s now. It’s not paused until you lose weight.
Porridge with banana
Tomato pasta with popchips and an apple
A mcdonald’s sweet chilli chicken wrap and fries
A digestive caramel slice
15 minutes of strength training at home
Not the healthiest day food wise yesterday but we had no other choice for dinner. We were up in Aberdeen seeing Russell Howard and we only had a short time to grab something and this was the closest. It all fit into my calories though 😛.
Had a great day yesterday, up early to fit in a quick workout before placement. Then after an 8 hour shift ran home to get ready to drive up to Aberdeen. Russell howard was hilarious, literally cried with laughter. Then got home just after midnight.
Sooo tired this morning but the plan is to hit the gym and the meet up with my bestie for dinner for her birthday 😊
I need more fitblrs to follow!! If you post things that aren’t pictures of half naked muscly people, Nike products, green smoothies, or granola AND if you track your own progress and keep it real, reblog and I’ll follow!!!
I like writing stuff like this. I always get a bit nervous, though. You can only base it off your own experiences and we’re so different. Oh, and because of anxiety but that’s off-topic! I’m motivated by the thought of helping even just one person. Getting a good deal and shopping cheaply is always going to be a miniature obsession of mine. Even if I got hit by a truck of money I’d still want to optimize my grocery cart.
Now, that said. I live in a metropolitan area in the Midwestern USA. Urban and rural dwellers face different challenges with food prices and food accessibility, and that variation becomes even more widespread by region and by country. Some of these are applicable to most people, but I’d really encourage anyone with experience in different locales, regions, and countries to flesh out their own tips as well.
Base recipes around many of the same ingredients: Notice how a lot of recipes start the same way? Onion, garlic, celery, carrot? Potato? Diced tomatoes? If you write out your meal plan to share common ingredients each given week, you won’t be buying a million different ingredients.
Make a shopping list and a meal plan: It isn’t everyone’s style, but I find having a decently clear idea of what I want for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks stops a lot of impulse buying and “what the Hell do I do with this now?” when I get it all home. It also gets me out of the store faster and I’m all about the lifestyle. Time is money.
Keep bulk cooking recipes in your repertoire and embrace leftovers: I’m planning to write an in-depth guide on bulk cooking in the future. There are tons of stews, chilis, curries, and casseroles that can be made in excessive quantities for around $20 or less. Keep some in the fridge fresh to eat right away, and freeze the rest! You can pull them down for lunch or dinner whenever you need them. Also, leftovers. I know some people struggle to eat the same food many times in a row, but it definitely adds up quickly to prepare new meals for every day. Having your freezer stocked with these bulk cooked foods can provide the relief you need from any monotony in your meal plan that week.
Make classic and common ingredients the staples of your meals: We’re often enticed to try out the hot new foods trending in the blogosphere and news reports, but personally I find they’re mostly convoluted marketing terms and tangent reminders to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You don’t need goji berries, pomegranates, pre-made green smoothies, chia seeds, or any of the nonsense the computer screen is screaming at you to eat. Many common foods of yore are often just as, and sometimes more, beneficial as trendy foods. Cabbage, spinach, potatoes, carrots, apples, bananas, peanut butter, eggs, dried beans, rolled oats, and dried brown rice are some of the major workhorse foods that are extremely cheap.
Don’t shun frozen and canned ingredients: You know what’s kind of expensive? Buying enough fresh tomatoes to make pasta sauce or tomato based stews. Berries, for much of the year. And, several more. Depending on how old the produce on your store shelf is, it’s not uncommon for flash-frozen fruits and vegetables to actually have retained more of the nutrition, too.
Shop sales: This sounds a little obvious, but flip open the ad for your favorite shop and see what specials they’re running. Plan some meals that pull in some of the items your store is offering up for cheap that week!
Buy produce that is in-season: Take a clue of what to buy based on what the Earth is currently providing your location. It will be fresher, taste better, and have traveled shorter distances, too. There are good lists out there about what’s seasonal and when. It will vary by climate, of course. There are also some fruits and vegetables that are always available at decent prices. Ahem, another plug for bananas.
Buy in bulk when possible: Understandably, this isn’t always an option. However, if the stars align and you find yourself with a few extra bucks and chicken quarters are on sale for something crazy like $.49/lb, load ‘em up. Freeze ‘em up. I also find that canned tomatoes or cooking stock will go on great sales and I’ll snatch a few extra up to shave a few dollars off in the long run.
Check if your favorite grocery spot does e-coupons and rewards: Coupons for stuff I actually eat is a bit of a rarity. Seriously, 80% of them are junk food and plastic bags. Boo. Oh, how much I’d love it you got coupons for produce. However, many stores offer digital coupons and rewards for shopping at their store. On occasion, I’ll snatch one up for an actual food item I want, but the real hook and sinker is my store of choice has a rewards program. Spend $200 in four weeks? Bam, $5 off your next basket. Uhm, yes please? It usually means you’ll have to become loyal to that store but if you’re already besties, why not?
Water is now your favorite beverage: There are a million reasons to drink water. I’m not saying you can never have your favorite refreshments, but supporting a serious coffee, juice, or soda habit can really add up. If you’re fortunate enough to have great tap water, it’s almost free. If you need filtered water or water bottles, it’s still less money over time when you make it your main squeeze.
Eat a little less meat: This sometimes gets people’s panties in a twist but you know what? Meat’s expensive, fam. Sometimes absolutely nothing I care for is on sale, either. We usually only eat it for dinner, but occasionally the divination of my holy document, the sales ad, imparts the words “vegetarian week.” Do what works for you, but I think it’s always very valid advice when trying to get a grocery bill down.
It’s no secret that my pregnancy did NOT go as planned.
I had high hopes to exercise continually throughout the process of growing my girl. I wanted to progress (or at least not digress!). I wanted to be a “fit mom” and a good role model. A success story!
It’s frustrating how things can turn into something completely different.
Ten weeks into our pregnancy, I started bleeding. A month after that, I was diagnosed with Chronic Placental Abruptions and was classified as a “high-risk” pregnancy. The bleeding and cramping only progressed. It was so bad, that I was bedridden for the entire month of September.
The cramping slowed down (thankfully), but the bleeding only continued to get worse. My baby was unharmed, but my body was a mess. I was forbidden to do anything active besides light walking. No exercise of any kind. No sex. No fun!
I was constantly tired and weak from the loss of blood. A flight of stairs would knock me out, and I spent most of my days in bed.
On December 8th, I stood up and a huge rush of blood poured out my body. I rushed to labor and delivery, where they discovered I was dilated to 2cm and 75% effaced. They immediately threw me into an ambulance and sent me to a hospital that was better equipped to handle premature babies.
I was barely 24 weeks along.
The goal was to keep baby girl inside for as long as possible. Each passing day brought huge developmental milestones, so every moment was critical to her survival.
On December 16th, she decided to jump into the world. I was rushed into surgery for an emergency c-section at 8:50 am. She joined our family at 9:26 am- 25 weeks & 5 days along, 2 lbs, 13 inches long, and as beautiful as could be.
The months following were just as frightening as that terrifying Friday. Each day brought on new challenges and medical hurdles.
Thankfully, our girl has fought through each one.
We hope to have her home with us by the end of this month- an anxiously anticipated homecoming! Alas, only time will tell.
With all the stress of the NICU life, it’s no surprise that my routines were completely shattered. My life was in survival mode, and my health was tossed aside. Now that things are relatively stable, it’s time to put my health back into focus and take care of ME.
Eating is still good. Mental & emotional health have been on point. Gym’s been happening and I had a KILLER workout today!
I know not all days on this journey will feel this good but after the slump I was having, I’m on cloud 9.
Just a little, gentle reminder that the Internet; including Tumblr, is completely chock full of misleading, incredibly wrong, and even dangerous “information” about health and fitness. If it sounds completely alarmist or too good to be true, at the very least you should become skeptical. I’d really hate to hear about anyone beginning to struggle with their progress or even developing dangerous habits due to some of these silly infographics and materials out there. OK. Off my soapbox again!