I’m not here to convince you why we need to exercise on a weekly, if not daily basis. Most of us are already quite aware of the benefits of exercise. The secret to success is to find an exercise routine you love because you are more likely to stick to it. But the difference between someone who sticks to their exercise routine verses someone that doesn’t is this: the internal shift that takes place. Most life-long fitness enthusiasts know that the reason why we start exercising is not the same reason why we continue.
Why I started exercising dates all the way back into high school. I was not an active child. I hated gym class and did not participate in sports. I enjoyed my art class and eating a lot of process foods. Mainly breads because I become a vegetarian at such a young age so my diet consisted mostly of breads and fried foods. I hated going clothes shopping. I wasn’t shopping in the plus size section but I felt like if I continued down this road I would be. The plus size stores when I was a teenager weren’t geared to people my age. In fact they weren’t really as stylish as they are today. Most of the clothing was unflattering and loose.
I started exercising because I hated dieting and I wasn’t ready to give up my comfort foods. I get grumpy when I’m hungry and I don’t say no to foods I love. I knew that if I started exercising I would start to lose weight. Like so many others the reason why we start exercising is strictly for physical reason: weight loss, toning and the vanity of wanting a six-pack.
How to stay motivated to exercise? The internal shift that needs to take place.
Most people fail at maintaining their exercise routine if they solely focus on the physical transformation. Why? Because they don’t see the physical results right away and discourage especially if they don’t many healthy changes to their diet at the start (like I did). Real long-term weight loss success takes time. After all you didn’t gain all this weight overnight or in month. Oftentimes I took years to get where you are.
Don’t get discourage by what I said that true long-term weight loss takes a marathon not a race. I didn’t even know I was losing weight but I continued to exercise because “I knew it was good for me”. But nothing is more satisfying then running into someone you haven’t seen for six months to a year and having them comment how much thinner and trim you look (even if the scale tells you otherwise).
To maintain a long-term goal of incorporating exercise into your daily life you must focus on not only the physical but the emotion and internal shifts that happen. Most of the students in my class say they have way more energy when they exercise and are more tired on days or weeks they don’t. When you exercise regularly you start to feel more confident and strong even if the number on the scale doesn’t change. I have done some of my best thinking or problem solving while exercising. On days (or weeks) I skipped exercise, I found my confidence start to fade. For me exercise is my anti-depressant or my happy pill. I’m in a much happier mood on the days I exercise. I make better food choices. These internal shifts usually take place at the beginning, if not immediately.
How do you stay motivated to exercise?