You know the story…it was a weekend of overindulging and now it is Sunday evening and you are making all sorts of promises to yourself to begin working out and eating right starting tomorrow.  ALWAYS TOMORROW!   It all starts really well, you even get to bed a bit earlier on Sunday evening so you can wake up earlier on Monday morning to get your workout in.  But Monday morning rolls around and you hit the snooze a few too many times.  You lay in bed guiltily thinking how poorly you ate over the weekend, you start talking yourself into getting up and getting dressed, “I  must work out, I must burn these calories.”  So you get up, but first a weigh-in is a must so you can track your weight loss.  Now you feel pretty crummy about yourself  after seeing that number.  Now you get yourself into your workout  gear fast!  As you head toward the kitchen to grab your keys and water, you decide you better walk the dog because who knows if anyone else will.  Upon coming back into the house, you see your phone is lit up with a text message.  You can’t possibly ignore it, what if it is important.  Turns out, it is a work text and you decide to handle it quickly.  Quickly?  Yeah Right! You have now been out of bed for over an hour and have yet to leave for the gym.  You decide it is just too late now but promise yourself to hit the gym after work.

We all know how this story ends.  Most likely, you never made it to the gym.  Maybe you actually did but it wasn’t fun and you certainly don’t stick with it for long.  Motivation run dries. You had all the best intentions and your motivation seemed so strong so why does this cycle continue?

The reason is usually quite simple.  Guilt.  Most of us view exercise as something we must do, some form or punishment for our bad food choices.  We are tied to a number on the scale or a number printed on some tag at the back of your pants.  A major perspective shift is needed if you want to successfully incorporate exercise into your regular routine.  We know exercise gives us more energy, we know exercise lowers our blood pressure, we know exercise strengthens our muscles, improves our posture, increases creativity, helps with headaches, backaches and more.  We know we will lose inches, feel lighter and more confident but we don’t stick with it because guilt is incredibly unmotivating!

To begin that perspective shift and find an exercise routine that works, here is what you need to do!

1.     Stop weighing yourself.  You are not a number on your scale!  You are not the number on the inside of those jeans.  Your worth is NOT determined by how you look on the outside.  Start believing this above all things.  You are beautiful, you are strong, you are one of a kind!

2.     Exercise from some other reason than weight loss, to get into your favorite little dress, or to impress your friends at the next reunion.  There have to be at least 50 reasons exercise is good for you, weight loss is only one of many reasons.  Maybe you want to have better balance, increase your energy, become more flexible, whatever your reason…visualize yourself in that state and embrace it.

3.     Remember that exercise is a crucial part of Self-Care.  We must take time to care for ourselves, to nurture the very core of our being.  We must make the time to care for our mind, body and spirit if we are to thrive and be happy.

4.     Don’t make exercise and diet one in the same.  Look at them as separate endeavors.  Too often we create a grand plan that includes revamping what you are eating and big goals for working out. Both are great intentions to have but when you tie them together it sets the bar pretty darn high and often sets us up for failure.  Instead, just start simple.  I am willing to bet that once you start moving your body regularly, you will be more inclined to make healthier food choices anyway.  A missed workout, doesn’t mean the day is a waste, you can still make good food choices or vice versa.  And remember a bad food day doesn’t mean punishing yourself with a grueling workout…that is the cycle of thinking we are trying to break!

And here is the most important tip…..

5.     Don’t do it if you aren’t having fun!  Why in the world take up running if you don’t enjoy doing it?  Why hit the gym 3-4 days a week if you feel like it is torture?  Seriously why???  This makes no sense!  When you exercise you are giving up a valuable hour or so of your day.  You most likely are already spending too many hours each day doing things that don’t make you happy, that you don’t have a lot of control over, that stress you out.  So make sure that whatever you do that gets you up and moving that incredible body of yours, is something that makes your heart sing! Of course I am going to tell you Pilates is fun and a great workout but heck so is taking a walk, hiking, skiing, rollerblading, biking, swimming, kayaking, gardening, dancing, yoga, tennis, kickball, karate, volleyball, running around with your kids, horseback riding, paddle boarding and more.  Your options are endless!  Think outside of the box and find something that you will enjoy every time you do it.

It is time that we start thinking about exercise as a way to nourish our physical bodies.  Participating regularly in an exercise you enjoy will empower you embrace the greatness of your body.  Harness the beautiful energy your body is flowing with and bring balance to your own health and wellness!

Keri Feldman