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Old 04-08-2011, 09:16 AM   #1
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Location: Upstate NY
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Default The nudge I needed. (Sorry, long and rambly)

I've been tracking calories for 3.5 weeks now, and am down almost 9 lbs., but I hadn't been able to talk myself into starting an exercise program yet. There are some reasons for it, or excuses I guess I should call them. The biggest is a mental block. I have either 4 or 5 times before in my life, set out on a lifestyle change to lose weight. Each time I got very excited, started eating well and exercising, and each time lost about 30 lbs. The motivation to do it was just there, it was easy. Each time, after about 3 months, (except the first time, when I kept it up longer) the motivation left, and I slowly but surely started to gain again.

I want this time to be different. I want this to keep going. So I'm trying to do it more slowly, and frankly that's not going so well. Not that I'm starving myself, not at all, but I am, when it comes down to it, eating enough to lose 2 lbs per week, instead of the 1 I planned. (I know, like that's something I should complain about. )

But here's where the exercise phobia comes in. It's going to take some major adjustments to start exercising regularly. I know my life is no harder than anyone else's and probably a good bit easier than many, but I often feeled overwhelmed as it is. Work, childcare, grocery shopping, feeding my family, taking care of the house, the laundry, the pets. It all adds up. Now in my life in general, and especially in these last 3 weeks, I've welcomed opportunities to add movement to my day: a walk with a friend at lunchtime, walking to the store or to a friend's, a bike ride with my kid. Those are all great! But to find a block of time daily or nearly daily that I can dedicate to an exercise regimen seems like it might be a bigger stressor than I can really handle, and I guess I'm afraid that if I try to do that, this whole fragile house of cards might come crumbling down after those 3 months of excitement are up, as they have everytime in the past.

BUT. I hung out with a friend last night that I hadn't seen in a while. She's young and active and a good influence (in certain ways anyway). For a while when we both weren't working we did yoga 3 times a week. We hike, canoe and cross country ski together. We live near the Adirondacks in upstate NY and last year we talked about doing some High Peaks (46 peaks in NY are over 4000 feet.) She reminded me about it last night , and I want to do it, and I need to be in shape to pull it off. So there's some motiviation to exercise. This morning I went down in the basement and did 30 minutes on the exercise bike, which quite frankly, I don't love. But it's what I had available in the time slot I had available.

Can I keep these ideas separate? Can I simultaneously train for some serious hiking and eat for a healthier me without it turning into a big overwhelming ball again?

So there's my ramble. Somehow this turned into a very different post than the one I intended to write.
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:52 AM   #2
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It's great that your starting. That in itself is a huge step. I completely understand how it can be hard to balance things. I read an article the other day about how to incorporate exercise into your day instead of trying to make separate time. Sometimes as much as I want to work out, there isn't enough time in the day. One of the things i've been doing daily is parking further away from where I need to go. Grocery store, work... thats a little bit extra that can add up over time. Another thing I've been doing is when i'm cleaning I make it more of an aerobic workout, I TRY to break a sweat, put on some music and dance while I dust... I think exercise and weight loss can be like anything new, it's exciting at first but has potential to be uninteresting unless you spice it up a bit. Good luck reaching your destination, but don't forget to enjoy the journey.
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:07 AM   #3
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I've been where you are - sometimes I'm still there in 'overwhelmed land'! things that helped me 1) the knowledge that it takes about 4 weeks to set a new pattern in our lives and by changing too much all at once it is like saying " from this day on I will always put on my pants while standing on the edge of the bathtub" -yeah it's a quote, I just don't remember who said it The point being that too much, too fast, is just too weird and hard to maintain. So for the first 4 weeks of this lifestyle change the focus was only on eating properly and drinking enough water. 2) Adding exercise gradually, so for the next 4 weeks the goal was to exercise for 15 minutes twice a week. I found that I could run downstairs twice a week and do 15 minutes on the elliptical before hitting the shower in the morning - still was a very new step for me though 3) The next 4 weeks was adding another exercise session for a total of 3 times a week 4) then making each session longer by 5 or 10 minutes...you get the picture. It might seem long and convoluted but for me the little changes have added up fast and I now feel "twitchy" if I don't get in my exercise sessions and I'm actively looking for new ways too make it interesting, rather than reluctantly dragging my backside off to the basement exercise equipement...I've taken up rollerskating at 51 years old and am looking into belly dancing lessons.
"Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace" Albert Schweitzer
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:41 AM   #4
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I've lost 30 pounds, and the only exercise I've added (to the 3x/wk yoga I've been doing for years) is walking.

But I should qualify that: I got a pedometer (a Fitbit. It's amazing. Highly recommended.), and I found that I had been walking 4,000-6000 steps a day, which is 2-3 miles per day. I've been challenging myself to increase that, and as of last week, I've increased my walking to more than 7 miles per day. I do it in spurts: a 20 minute walk at lunchtime, a half hour first thing in the morning, an hour after work. Whenever I have free time, I put on my headphones and my comfortable shoes, and I walk.

I used to watch TV a few hours every night. Now, I walk around my city and listen to podcasts or audiobooks. I get the same relaxing entertainment, but I'm also getting healthier and stronger. And I'm not stressed out about it like I would be if I had to convince myself to go to the gym every day.
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