First, you should know - I didn’t love exercise when I started this journey. Quite the opposite!
But...I know that physical activity is one of the best ways to lose weight and maintain your loss after bariatric surgery. So many of us have bad memories of exercise, including traumatic PE classes where we wore humiliating outfits and got picked last when choosing teams. As a result, we have developed a negative perception of exercise.
I had to rewrite the “I hate exercise” tape in my brain. How did I do that? It is a simple three-part Mantra:
Start Small. Start Now & Succeed.
You don’t need to buy a new pair of running shoes, read the history of the Olympics, or wait for someone to exercise with you. That just delays you achieving your goal, and you feel bad because you procrastinated. So:
- Set a timer for five minutes and step out your front door. Walk only five minutes (at any pace) and then turn around. You have just walked 10 minutes. Good job; you are already a success and you started rewriting your “I hate exercise” tape.
But how do I KEEP going? Good question, as consistency is so important to long-term success. I suggest pairing exercise with something or someone that you love. Here’s what I do:
- Something You Love: I adore “junk” TV but I have very little spare time to watch “fluff” programs. It is simply a waste of my limited time UNLESS I pair it with exercise. As I never watch these programs unless I’m rowing, this provides a HUGE incentive to exercise. Your “pleasure” may not be TV but you likely have other things that you enjoy. For example, if you like social media, don’t let yourself use these platforms until you have met your exercise goal.
- Someone You Love: As my adult son lives in the city where I work, I walk with him and his two dogs many times a week. As we go fast (about a 15-minute per mile pace) it is serious exercise. Most importantly, we get five to six hours a week of walking and talking. You don’t have to have someone who lives nearby. Call friends, near or far, while you are walking or doing other exercise.
But first, just start. Pick something small; you don’t have to love it. In fact, you may not even like it. Just do it, do it now and succeed. You have the power to change your life. Put on your shoes, set your timer, and GO!”