Work Out-Motivation Killers

blog postIf you read my last post, then you’re aware of my trying-to-get-fit journey. If not, well, not much to tell lol. I’ve only been at it for a month, BUT as I’m working out every single day (missed only one), I’d like to share what’s kept me motivated.

I’ve tried to do this many times before. And I always thought that the reason why I didn’t stick with it was because I wasn’t a naturally fit person (whatever that means). But now I’m so excited ’cause I think I really found my groove.

Speaking of which, one thing I discovered is that EVERYONE has a “groove” – meaning, we were all made to MOVE. Now, we don’t all move the same way (or have the same preferences/abilities), but contrary to my previous belief, no, none of us is called be a couch potato :).

Turns out I was getting distracted by these workout-motivation killers:

Guilt – When you go “I’d better work out ’cause I’m fat,” instead of “I want to work out ’cause I know I can look better.” See the difference? Movement isn’t punishment, but a reward. Every time you set out to exercise, think that you’re giving a me-time gift to yourself, instead of a bitter beat-myself-up session. No one wants to go back to that!

Comparison – When you start obsessing over keeping up with your super fit friend who’s been at it for years. First of all, what got them there might not necessarily be what will get you there. For them jogging might be what makes them stronger, but for you might be sports, or dancing or whatever. Just try stuff out to find your thing! And don’t even think of comparing your body to theirs. Like that cheesy but true saying goes, “don’t compare your behind the scenes with someone’s highlight reel” (or your fat after a month of working out with someone’s years-long developed muscles).

*little update: on my last post, I said I’d gotten into running, but now I’m much more into strength training instead. I go light though – just 15-20 minutes every morning – but afterwards I feel ready to take on the world. I also try to go on a self-defense class once a week (another thing I had NO idea I was going to like – which is why it’s so important to experiment out of your comfort zone!).

Anxiety – When you obsess over results. I bought a scale and became frustrated whenever I worked extra hard and saw I’d gained a pound that day, or felt as bloated as ever. I started to feel down until I prayed and God reminded me of why I was doing this. The reason I decided to have a healthier living was, first and foremost, to FEEL healthier. Instead of rushing to weight myself every chance I could, I needed to stop and smell the endorphins lol. Just to be able to enjoy the day with my kids or spend days without feeling a debilitating sugar high is a reward in itself. Once I stopped letting the number on the scale dictate my mood, THAT’s when I started noticing changes (probably like that concept that if you watch the water on the stove it will never boil lol).

 

No More Couch-Potato Mom

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The day before I started (just over 2 weeks ago) X today

This blog has been ignored for a noble cause.

Okay, right, I probably should’ve been writing no matter what (which is sort of the point of having a blog). But a couple weeks ago, I felt like I needed to add more actions than words to my days (or at least even out the number).

You see, being a couch potato comes very naturally to me. As a stay-at-home mom who only works on her computer, I had couch-sitting down to science. With the perfect squishy pillow for back support and throw blanket behind me for neck support. Add chocolate, and I’d be golden.

But then I started noticing something. While staying in this position gave me an illusion of well-being, it actually made me feel worse overall. I felt overwhelmed easily if more than one child-related need happened at the same time (and with 3 kids 5 and under, that’s pretty much a given). I’d get snappy at them if they interrupted me during a chore (or especially writing). More often than I cared to admit I was apologizing to them for being too harsh, having trouble multitasking and already wishing it was bedtime when I’d just woken up.

Something had to be done. This became more than just wanting to look better. I wanted to FEEL better. The day came when I got sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.

It started innocently enough. One evening as David arrived from work, I rushed out the door with the excitement of a prisoner escaping jail lol. I was out of the house. On my own. That alone was cause for celebration.

But not only that, this time instead of just taking care of an errand, I’d take care of myself. This outing was all about ME. About increasing my stamina and decreasing my muffin top.

To my surprise, it felt AWESOME. Why hadn’t I done this before? I started the automatic workout time on the treadmill in our apartment’s fitness center, which turned out to be 20 min, so I was like, “okay, I can survive this.” Nothing crazy, just a brisk walk. I had no high expectations of myself. If I could make it there every single day for a 20 min stroll, I knew at the very least I’d feel more alive.

See – this was why I’ve kept it up no problem. The focus was on how I FELT, not how I looked. I wasn’t trying to impress/please anybody with my exercising skills. Not even with how much difference it could make in my body. What other people thought didn’t cross my mind. This was all about improving my health, first and foremost; I did this for ME, not for others.

I’ve hesitated whether to write this blog post ’cause I didn’t want to jinx it lol. But the happy news is that it’s been just a little over 2 weeks and I’ve already made progress in these areas:

– I lost about FIVE pounds & counting (I’m finally within the healthy weight range for my age/height!!).

– My workout grew to around 30 min (with crunches and bridge after treadmill plus weights every other day, then stretching);

– I run! Those who know me must realize what a miracle this is. I’m still very much a beginner though – what I do is “wog” (loved this term when I heard it: you jog for a minute, walk for a few minutes, then jog again for another minute. I’ve been trying to increase my jogging time though, and 2 min is so far my max).

– I also eat veggies! I mean, just 2, but hey, that’s MAJOR progress for the veggie-phobic person I’ve been all my life. My husband is a real foodie, and since he likes to experiment cooking different things, I’ve noticed that I don’t mind vegetables that are well incorporated into something I really like. So now I’ve been mixing minced spinach into my egg&cheese omelette in the morning and minced lettuce into my brown rice at lunch. And voila! I’m a vegetable-eating person. That simple! Makes me feel so silly for not doing this before. I’ve only just started it, and already feel a HUGE difference in how I feel afterwards and throughout the day.

– My body wants less of the yucky stuff. Now, don’t be fooled – I still get my chocolate. But now my portion has been much much reduced. I used to inhale an entire bar easily, and feel like I needed it all for nourishing. Well, maybe I did, since I didn’t have much else for nourishing. But now that my body already feels good, just 2 squares once a day (after a good protein meal) feels SO indulgent. I really have no motivation to keep eating because I don’t want to stop feeling as good as I do in that moment.

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–  I choose supplements carefully. When I started thinking of improving my metabolism, I spent a good amount of time in the energy-pills aisle at Target, but none of them impressed me. Who wants to take 2 pills 3 times a day?? That’s an awful lot of pills. I didn’t want to get hooked on drugs and then unable to get out of them or else I’d gain back the weight. So I’ve chosen a simpler, more maintainable rout. Everyday I take the RAW One for Women multivitamin after breakfast (which actually gives you the feeling of having eaten something good for you, and not just taken a pill).

Aside from that, whenever I eat a bigger/more greasy or carb-filled meal, I take this supplement I discovered: Fat Fighter by It Works.What I love about it is its blood-sugar reducing powers. I had gestational diabetes on my last 2 pregnancies, and now I’m pretty sure I’m still borderline diabetic. So to say that this thing has helped me feel better is an understatement. Since I’m learning to eat better, I don’t even need it everyday, but when I do feel a just-ate-a-lot sort of crash, this raises my energy right back up. It’s awesome!

– Another miracle: I’m now an early riser. I’ve never, EVER been a morning person. Always liked my sleep. As soon as I realized that working out when David came home was getting in the way of good sleep, I’d just found my motivation to start earlier. After pumping myself up in the evening, I had a really hard time winding down to go to bed. Add that to trying to avoid devouring an entire chocolate bar (what I used to do every single night), then I had a full blown headache. So I decided to give starting at 6 in the morning just ONE try. To my utterly, complete and astonished surprise, I loved it!! It’s my me-time BEFORE tending to the kids, which despite the early time, still feels luxurious.

– I’m spending more time with God. I never planned for it to happen, but it did. Awhile ago, I read in a magazine that drinking just coffee before a morning workout, and only after that having your breakfast helps with your energy, so that’s what I’ve been doing. The few minutes I spend with my cup reading biblegateway.com on my phone are great not only to wake me up, but also to focus my mind on the right things. I literally feel like I’m having coffee with a friend who’s opening up to me and giving me advice for my day. It’s been very refreshing and natural.

-The kids are more fun. All of sudden they’ve gotten funnier lol. I just have more mental and physical disposition to keep up with them. I also feel like a more present/better mom. I’m even getting them to eat my brown rice+lettuce mix and they loved it! I tell them they’re magic leaves that give them super powers. Not even a lie :)

– I’m happier. I’ve realized that these 3 things aren’t once-in-awhile treats, but daily needs: to laugh, to be relaxed and to be content. At some point in the day, we OUGHT to experience these 3 feelings, or else we’ll get physically, emotionally and even spiritually sick. It’s all so connected that it blows my mind. I never thought I could be happy every single day just because I’m taking better care of my body every single day.

My kids deserve a happier mom. This is so much more than just improving the way I look. This isn’t about achieving an elusive model-esque look of a photoshopped woman in a magazine. It’s about making me the way I’m supposed to be. From inside out.