I’m about to get REAL up in here about weight gain and exercise. I’ve fallen way off the wagon on caring for myself, and it’s catching up with me. I like cream and sugar in my coffee, I can’t seem to live without sweets, we eat more takeout than we should, and nothing goes better with a Pats game than an ice-cold beer. I have a million excuses for my lifestyle choices, and they’re good ones — I swear! I commute, I work long hours, I have two small children, gym memberships are expensive, I could go on and on. I generally feel good about myself and haven’t worried too much about gaining close to 20 pounds (gulp), but it’s time to get moving! So what’s holding me back?
Making a lifestyle change takes time. I certainly didn’t gain weight overnight, so it won’t come off that quickly, either. Short-term fad diets don’t work for me, and I want to eat real food! Raising kids is a constant state of change — each week or month in their first years seems to bring something new. Just being me seems to be the only constant I’ve had, so I suppose I’ve hung on to that to feel stable in the midst of chaos. But change is healthy and necessary, and I’m overdue. My boys are growing up and playing on their own, and my current part-time work schedule does afford some “me time.” It feels like the right time to start making myself a priority again.
While my kids are a great reason to get in shape, they aren’t my only motivator. I would like to look better and, more importantly, feel better. My clothes are a little snug, I feel sluggish, and it’s starting to bother me. It’s been longer than I care to admit since I’ve had an exercise routine, and I’m not even sure what kind of exercise I like to do! I do know that I have an elliptical machine collecting dust in my basement and a YouTube app on my television, and I’m running out of reasons why I can’t fit in a workout. Ultimately, I have to want to. I have to make the choice to take the first step. So what am I doing to get this party started?
1. Bring coffee from home!
This is a huge one. When I make my own coffee, I control what goes in it. I use far less sugar, and 1% milk over half-and-half can really reduce the caloric intake.
2. Bring my own lunch!
When I bring my own food, I make a conscious choice ahead of time to bring healthy options. When I’m rushed, it’s very easy to grab a bag of chips and a sandwich. Wait, how many slices of ham did I just eat???
3. Walk more!
As a commuter, I’m forced to walk from the train station, and while the weather is cold and snowy I tend to pick the closest stop to my office. As the days get lighter and the air warms up, I’ll start choosing a stop further away. Not only is it a wonderful way to start the day, walking is great exercise and there’s nothing like a stroll through Boston before the city wakes up!
What motivates you to stay in shape? What’s your favorite exercise routine?