Maintenance 101

Maintenance 101: Fitness Should Be Fun

Maintenance 101: Fitness Should Be Fun

I think one of the reasons a lot of people struggle with keep the weight off long term is because they didn’t change their mentality. Perhaps they thought they didn’t need to continue doing what worked to lose the weight. Perhaps they went back to their old habits that put the weight on to begin with. And perhaps they stopped working out.

There are a lot of reasons why people quit working out: injury, illness, boredom, drudgery….the list can go on and on. The truth is: it’s easy to burn out. Recently I wrote about taking a few extra rest days one week because I was just burned out mentally and physically. The reset did wonders for me. But it also reminded me that working out shouldn’t be a CHORE. When it becomes a chore, it’s time to change something.

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The only way we’re going to stick to exercising on a regular basis is if it’s enjoyable. Sure, in the beginning on your weight loss journey it’s going to be a struggle. I went from being a couch potato to a gym rat but that didn’t happen overnight. It took time. I got used to it. My body adapted. I got better at swimming and I was losing weight, which obviously made fitness so much easier. I wasn’t lugging around 100 extra pounds, my joints didn’t hurt, my back didn’t hurt, I wasn’t out of breathe. So give it some time!

I chose swimming as the activity to help me lose 100 pounds because it was something I always loved. I knew I didn’t like tennis, or (at the time) running, so I picked an activity I liked. That’s so important!

The trick to sticking to your workouts is to make them fun. When it becomes routine and boring, you’re gonna want to quit. So don’t set yourself up for failure, set yourself up for a long term success. (And check out this post:¬†Too Busy to Exercise.)

Keep Fitness Fun

There have been a bunch of things I’ve discovered along the path to health that have helped me stick with it. I found that I really loved hiking and biking and snowshoeing. I never thought I’d be the type of person that was way into sports and fitness because I spent most of my life hating it. Being picked last for a team sucked. Being embarrassed because I was uncoordinated wasn’t fun.

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Hiking is a great workout and it’s a lot more fun than staring at a wall on a treadmill in the gym. Plus, hiking is something you can do anywhere. Snowshoeing is basically hiking, just in snow. ūüôā

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If you’re on vacation somewhere warm, trying canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling or scuba diving. When we went to Hawaii, one of my favorite memories is swimming in the ocean. I’d never done it before and it was magical. I loved it. It made working out a joy, not a chore.

Signing up for a race of some kind is a great way to stay motivated, the change things up, and to experience something exciting–especially if you sign up to race with a group. If you’re not a runner, what about walking? Or biking? Biking the Portland Century with Michael was such a fun experience and a happy memory. Also, having a specific goal in mind helped me stay on track with training.

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Make your workout a social event. My suggestions: join a hiking club like Mazamas, ¬†check your local running store for a free running group to join, check websites like MeetIn and Meetup for other fitness related groups. At the very least, find a friend. Maybe a neighbor who will go on walks with you after dinner a few times a week. Having a partner do an activity with you makes it more enjoyable and more likely you’ll stick to it.

Change It Often

This is somewhere I fall short. I tend to get stuck in routines and habits and don’t deviate and this leads to burnout and boredom. Getting stuck in a fitness rut is the quickest way to STOP seeing results. I know this. And yet I still commit this sin! I’m “married to my workout.”

The way to change things up is to simply CHANGE. Try a new machine at the gym. If you lift weights on machines, try the free weights. If you run on the treadmill, try climbing the stairmaster. Do HIIT workouts.

I think one of the reasons¬†cross-fit¬†is so popular and so successful for weight loss is because the workouts are different each time. The body never gets used to it and therefore it’s easier to get ripped quickly. Seeing fast results is intoxicating and motivating.

Another way to change things up is to take a class. I’ve mentioned many times I’m not a fan of classes, for a lot of reasons, but they do offer something positive: motivation and change. If you go to spin class every week, the routines are usually different each time but to change things up even more, try switching to another instructor once in awhile. A minor change like that can refresh your outlook and routine.

I recently started going to Body Pump at my gym. Even though the classes are always really full and I’m not a fan of classes, I really like Body Pump. It’s different than anything I’ve done. I felt the benefits of the class after only a few sessions. I also found that I was looking forward to it!

Challenge Yourself

Maybe you’re burned out on your routine because it’s too easy. Too easy = boring. I need a challenge. The Body Pump classes have been a challenge for me and I am enjoying that. It was a nice change from lifting weights on my own at my own pace.

Take a class you’ve always wanted to try but thought it might be too hard. Just listen to your body and don’t injure yourself. (And check out this old post:¬†Mistakes You‚Äôre Making in Fitness Classes.)

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Fun Fun Fun!

One thing I’m willing to admit: I am terrified of the idea of getting a dog. I’m a cat person. Cats are easy. Dogs seem hard, especially since I’ve never had one. They are a much bigger responsibility. But the volunteering I’ve been doing walking dogs at the¬†Pixie Project¬†has opened my eyes. It was SO MUCH FUN walking the dogs! I had a blast. It opened my eyes to things around me instead of being so focused on what was going on in my brain. I want a dog that I can take hiking and running with me. That sounds like such a fun way to spend time with a pet and get exercise in.

So that’s what I think about this whole topic of fitness and fun.

What do you think?

Maintenance 101: How to Eat  *  Maintenance 101: Challenges  *  Five Truths of Maintenance  *  Maintenance 101:  Self- Love  * Maintenance 101: Beware of Food Creep *

Maintenance 101: Self-Love

Maintenance 101: Self- Love

‚ÄúSelf-love seems so often unrequited.‚Ä̬†– Anthony Powell

I‚Äôm resuming the series of posts entitled ‚ÄúMaintenance 101.‚ÄĚ In this series, I‚Äôll be addressing some of the issues¬†I’ve¬†found in my four+ years of weight loss maintenance. My goal for this series is to be uplifting, supportive and honest. Maintenance¬†isn’t¬†always easy as many of you guys know from experience, but maintenance is a crucial part of the weight loss journey. Our work¬†doesn’t¬†stop when we step on the scale and see our ‚Äúmagic number.‚ÄĚ

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This edition is honestly the hardest part for me. While the physical stuff of weight loss is a little be easier to deal with, the emotional and mental aspects are a little harder. It’s difficult change your mindset from “I’m trying to lose weight” to “I’m living a healthy lifestyle.” You don’t want to slip into old habits, so it’s normal to be¬†hyper-vigilant¬†and strict, at least in the beginning. As the years go by, you might get a little more comfortable and not stress about it as much, maybe weight loss is not in the forefront of your thoughts at all times (good job!). But what about the underlying emotion things?

Are you still talking down to yourself? Are you looking into the mirror and saying “I feel so fat“?¬†This¬†kind of negative talk is detrimental because after awhile we start to believe of what we’re telling ourselves. I know I do. I get in that cycle of negative thinking and then something snaps me out of that funk and it’s like a breathe of fresh air! Oh yeah! I don’t have to focus on the negatives and what I DON’T have! I can focus on the positive things and how far I’ve come!

You have to learn to love your body as is—no more “when I lose 5 more pounds I’ll love myself” and actually LOVE who you are right now!

Stop obsessing about the numbers. I wrote a post “It’s a Numbers Game” ¬†where I talked about the pros and cons of focusing entirely on numbers: the number on the scale, the number of miles run, etc etc. It sometimes does more harm than good. This is especially true in maintenance mode because the tiny fluctuations can totally make you crazy.¬†Oh my god I gained a pound!¬†Two weeks later…Oh my god I lost 1.5 pounds! YAY! This rollercoaster ride is ridiculous and stressful!

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My tip: have a number that you definitely don’t want to go over, and then have a number that is that “danger zone.” For example: my number I don’t want to go over is 150 pounds because that was my initial goal weight when I was trying to lose 100 pounds. My “danger zone” weight is 146-148. It’s just creeping a little too closely to 150 for my liking. I¬†try not to obsess on the number on the scale unless it’s reaching the danger zone. Then that’s cause for me to tighten the reigns and make sure I’m doing what I need to do to keep the weight off.

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Comparisons are not constructive. There will always be someone faster, stronger, skinnier, richer, smarter than you and me. Always. Getting stuck in the comparison game doesn’t get us anywhere. Avoid it!

Make a list. Write down everything that you love about your body. I struggle with this. It’s hard to give yourself praise! But MAKE THAT LIST and post it somewhere you can see it, perhaps the bathroom mirror.

Have a mantra you repeat every day. “I love myself, I love my strong legs, I have beautiful arms, I have a nice smile” etc. Fake it til you make it!

How Am I Doing?

It’s easy to give advice, it’s harder to take it. I compare myself to others. I compare my body, my athletic abilities…everything. I’m trying to curb that by reminding myself what I am thankful for in my life. I am trying hard not to obsess about the number on the scale, but I don’t always succeed in that department.

Where I am definitely excelling is thinking positive thoughts about my body and abilities. The “positive self-talk” has never been my strength. But when I have a particularly good workout or successful event, or I catch my reflection in the mirror and think “Wow, my legs look really great today!” and then I feel pretty good about myself! I need to harness that so I feel it every day!

QUESTION: How do you change your mind-frame to thinking positively about yourself and your body?

Five Truths of Maintenance  *  Maintenance 101: How to Eat  *  Maintenance 101: Challenges  *