Exercise- How To Maybe Not Hate It So Much

Working out can be a daunting task. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning the mere idea of getting off the couch to make myself food seems like an insurmountable task; and that’s before I factor in my achy joints that think I’m 40 years older than I really am. I really can’t blame anyone who doesn’t exercise; sometimes it’s really no fun at all. But when you are reaching for a goal sometimes you have to do things you don’t necessary want to do. But how on earth do you get started?

The first step is to actually get started.

It probably won’t be fun… you’ll probably want to punch the instructor of whatever exercise DVD you choose to do (I’m talking to you Jillian Michaels); you’ll probably want to shorten your runs because “you’re just not feeling it today”; you’ll probably want to reward yourself with an extra day off to celebrate the fact that you worked out a few days in a row.

The next step is to not stop working out.

I’ve found that scheduling a day off (I do Sunday’s) is enough of a rest. The only other time I’ll skip a workout is if I’m sick or injured. Don’t let me steer you wrong, it’s not the end of the world to skip a workout providing you can get back in your routine. But if you are just starting out you might benefit from sucking it up and doing your workouts even when you don’t want to. I had to do this for a couple months. The result was that it became such a habit that I began to dread my workouts less and less… it’s just that thing I do in the mornings now… it’s second nature. Now I’m at a point where I have no clue how I ever didn’t work out. I wish this feeling upon everyone on the planet… because it’s awesome. I can’t lie and say I never skipped workouts, but I do it less and less now. In fact I haven’t skipped a work out for over a month now (an accomplishment I am overly proud of).

The art of fine-tuning your workout– listen to your body.

Anyone that tells you that you NEED to work out for hours upon hours a day and burn x amount of calories in order to be fit is, quite frankly, a ding-bat. Part of making a healthy life-style work for you is listening to your body and knowing your limits. If I spent 4 hours a day exercising I’d probably get in shape a lot faster, but I’d probably also be miserable and tired and my DVR would overfloweth with late night melodramas. On the other side of the coin, if someone loves spending time at the gym and working out 4 hours a day, as long as they are properly fueling those workouts there is nothing wrong with that either. You have to find out what works for you and your schedule.

With this idea also comes knowing when you NEED to rest. Are you about to puke? Maybe take a breather there, buddy. Just feeling lazy and want to stop so you can watch Letterman? Get your ass back on that weight bench and quite whining. It’s also important to know the difference between muscle soreness and muscle pain. Soreness = good (as long as it’s not lasting FOREVER) pain = bad. It might take a while for you to figure out a routine and schedule that works for you and your body while still allowing for ample DVR time. But once you figure it out everything gets easier.

Push yourself daily

I’m the first to admit there are days where I pull back a little so that I don’t want to die, but can still say I did my workout. But the truth is that in order to improve, you have to push yourself. If you do the same run everyday at the same speed for the same amount of time, all you are going to do is become more efficient and doing that same run everyday at the same speed for the same amount of time. Try running faster. Try running up a hill. Try intervals (this is what I do.. it helps with the feeling that death is coming for me that I get when I run).

The same goes for lifting. Lifting the same amount of weight every workout will only do so much. But increase that weight every few workouts and your muscles will scream.. and screaming is good.. it’s means they are getting stronger.

And most of all…

Have fun! If you are doing something you hate… chances are you are less likely to do it. So find something you enjoy doing so that your workouts become less of a chore. But don’t limit yourself. I use to HATE running. But now… I only slightly dislike it… change can happen, my friends


Devil Scale

It’s certainly true that if weight loss is your only goal, then that number on the scale matters a lot. But I’m willing to guess that most people that say they want to lose weight really want to be healthier and have a healthier lifestyle. True, a healthy lifestyle and weight loss go hand in hand in many cases, but focusing too much on the “weight loss” part of things can potentially lead one to ignore the “healthier lifestyle” part.

As a ballet dancer, I became conscious of my body and what it looked like around the age of nine. I remember my dance teacher lining us all up to see what we weighed; and I remember watching all the teenage girls try to hide the number from their friends and being mortified at the number on the scale. This sort of behavior is pretty common with women, to the point where if a guy even dare asks a women how much she weighs he will be subject to an onslaught of verbal abuse coupled with some angry stares and slapping.

So it seems pretty clear: Your weight matters. So it follows that when women (and probably a lot of men) start trying to lose weight they pay a lot of attention to what that devilish device called the scale says.

I am going to try to convince you to stop.

Why? Because, like I said… the scale is a devilish device and we should end it’s power over us.

Weight loss is not linear

Do you weight yourself daily? I use to. I know a lot of my friends on MyFitnessPal do. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, providing you are able to maintain your sanity. But if you are anything like me, the constant fluctuations or a general lack of movement will push you to the brink of bat shit craziness and the slightest increase in weight will discourage you. For some people this is enough to push them to the extreme measures of starvation or purging… both of which will make you a sad panda.

But the truth is, your weight will fluctuate constantly and you should probably just come to terms with that. So many factors can contribute to a slight weight increase or decrease including but not limited to: your water intake, your workout routine, the last time you ate, what you ate the last time you ate, where you are in your “lady cycle”, whether or not you have poo’d recently, sodium intake, the phase of the moon, your sleeping habits, stress, that cupcake you eye raped two days ago,  prescription medicines, your fiber intake (back to the poo thing)… I could go on (not really… I ran out of ideas) but you get the point. So rather than risk getting upset with every moon induced ounce gain, weight yourself less often. If you are unable to detached yourself from the scale, then keep track of your daily weight. Chances are, if you are doing things right, even with fluctuations the general patten will be a decrease.

There are other (more awesome) things that matter

On MyFitnessPal… the phrase Non-Scale Victory (NSV) gets tossed around a lot, and with good reason. These are the things that have changed for you regardless of what that stupid bathroom contraption is saying. They can be small victories ( I once read a post about someone being excited to be able to paint her toe nails) or they can be huge ( being about to fit two of you in your old pants) or anywhere in between. I’m here to argue that these non-scale victories can be more telling than the number on the scale because they can tell you a lot more about what is going on in your body.

For the past two months I have been slowing increasing the amount of food I eat. Because of this the scale has not budged (this happens while your body adjusts to eating more). But I’ve had plenty of NSVs in the past couple months, and I seem to celebrate them a lot more than a pound lost.

While I’ve been steadily the same weight for months:

I’ve increased the number of push ups I can do in a row (without pausing) from 15 to 38

I am one bent  knee away from perfecting this:

eight angle pose

A pair of old pants which, upon losing the first 8 pounds, I fit into again are now a little loose on the waist (this is always the first place pants stop fitting for me)

I’m much less of a hungry, cranky bitch ( I hope Husband will attest to that)… or I at least feel like much less of a hungry cranky bitch

All of my shorts and most of my swim suits from living in Hawaii are too big

and my ultimate non-scale victory

when I weighed myself the other day for the first time in a month and it was STILL at the same weight… instead of crying… I shrugged and then ate breakfast with a smile on my face.

I hope that something I’ve said here has convinced you to put a little less stock in scale and more into other aspects of a healthy lifestyle. But if not… in a last ditch attempt to convince you that the scale isn’t everything… allow me to introduce you to Staci.

An Exercise in Trust


In the stereotypical drama class they do a thing call “trust exercises”. Generally speaking this means partnering up with someone from the class… You turn your back to them… let yourself fall… and the idea is to trust your partner enough to catch them. If you are working with someone you know fairly well… falling into them is easy enough… but if it’s someone you don’t know.. you hesitate.. and as you fall you take a step backward.

I feel like I’ve been doing this with myself constantly for the past few months. Metabolisms are very adaptable… but they don’t like to be fooled. When you seek to lose weight on a low calorie diet… chances are you will see some sort of success… the expense of this is that because you have been eating less, you metabolism has slowed. Trying to correct this imbalance can be tricky. When you start to eat more, your metabolism scoffs at you… thinking that this special treatment won’t last… and does its best to hold on to as much of that extra yumminess it can… you see it as a water weight gain on the scale. Instantly you’re convinced that you are going to continue to gain weight if you continue to eat more.. you panic… and then you prove your metabolism right by cutting calories again.

I realized last night that I inadvertantly did this when I got my wisdom teeth removed. Due to a lack of appetite and the sheer inability to eat most things I was eating 1100-1200 calories for a week… after eating 1400-1600 for almost three weeks.  So when I started to eat normally again, my metabolism didn’t think it would last.. it hesitated… took that step back… and starting hanging on to the extra nourishment.

I was frustrated. Yesterday I decided to take a day off from working out. I decided to cut back my food for the day because I didn’t trust my metabolism enough. I hesitated.. and I realize now the that was probably a bad idea.

So starting today my metabolism and I are going to learn to trust eachother. I’m setting my calorie goal to 1600 and I am going to try to get within 50 or so calories of that goal everyday no matter what exercise I do… even if I don’t exercise. My metabolism has to be able to trust me to feed it what it needs to matter what. I’m going to increase that goal slowly up to the 1700s in preparation for NROL4W.. hopefully by the time I start I will be able to trust my metabolism… and it will be able to trust me.. so we can both stop hesitating and finally work together toward the ultimate goal of a long and healthy life.