Exercise…for fun!

My friend recently shared the article Fit Is a Feeling, Not an Image with me and it was exactly what I needed to read. I’ve fallen out of the habit of regularly exercising. Over the last several years I’ve had times when I’ve exercised quite a bit (e.g. training for a 5k, some elliptical, got a pull up bar, and I played on a soccer team for a bit). But I’m not in the habit of exercising regularly. And that needs to change. Earlier this year, when I decided to switch my focus from weight loss to body image, I made the mistake of stopping exercising. I had somehow fallen into the mindset that the point of exercise is to lose weight/change your body shape. But exercise isn’t just to change how you look. There are cognitive, psychological, and physiological benefits to moving a lot, and I want those benefits.

So these last few months I’ve tried to put fun back into exercise. I’ve tried: -jogging with a friend -weight training with a friend -yoga with a friend -YouTube dance workouts to fun songs -trying to rack up as many days of doing squats in a row as possible
This last one might not sound like fun, but the rule I told myself was that I was going to do as many squats as I wanted on a given day, as long as I did some. That made it fun because it’s a competition and I’m never forced to do more than I want. But I find that if I do a squat or two I seem to want to keep going and often do way more! And quickly squats have become a fun thing I can actually do with relatively good form now, after just a few weeks!

All of these have definitely made me start changing my perceptions of exercise back to a healthier place. I’m having fun with it! I’ve now started thinking about how to build exercise into my regular schedule, and I believe I’ll be able to do it.

It’s curious though that it took so long for me to think of making exercise fun. After all, if you read my earliest posts, you’ll see that the way I got into exercise at the beginning of my weight loss was playing Just Dance 2 on my Wii. But I’ve been amazed by how difficult it can be to find motivation, or to remember how to make myself be able to stick to my (approximate) eating plan, or any other aspect of weight control and fitness that in theory I must be familiar with since I already used them once. But it seems that I may need reminders to stick to helpful mindsets. I think it’ll definitely benefit me to keep hanging around friends who have such healthy mindsets, so the messages continue to seep through.

I suppose that ebbs and flows in healthy behaviors are to be expected throughout my life, and I’ll just have to learn to “always begin again” (which is the motto for meditation too, according to the 10% Happier app I’ve been using).

time to better myself

Making a list is always a good way for me to figure out what I need to get done, or what I want to work on, so here I go.  Here are things I plan to dedicate effort to changing.

1. Study to remember course material, not just to do well on tests. Too often I cram right before a test, and then don’t remember most of what I learned later.  Unacceptable, especially in classes that pertain to what I want to do with my life.

2. Eat healthier. Plan meals ahead of time, and prepare all meals in advance to bring to school.  This is especially difficult because most days I’m on campus from 8am to 8pm, so that’s several meals I need to bring with me.  But it’ll be worth it in terms of health and saving money.

3. Continue putting effort into improving my Russian. This means making sure I dedicate time each day to continuing to read my translated Harry Potter book, and write letters to my grandparents to get practice writing.

4. Study ASL to fluency. We only have two ASL classes at HSU so after next semester I’ll have to rely pretty much entirely on Saturday night signing at Mosgo’s.  Ever since I started learning it this semester, I’m pretty much obsessed with trying to learn as much as I can.

5. Refrain from badmouthing people. This takes restrain, and is something I need to work on.

6. Exercise. Totally necessary.  I’ve been clipping exercise ideas out of old issues of Self Magazine that I got from my neighbor, and I think some of them are really good.  Also, next semester I’ll have Power Step and a schedule that hopefully allows me to use the gym often.

Six goals is a reasonable amount.  I’m sure I’ll add more as more ideas come.