Craving Exercise

On October 2, I will have been working out every single day for two years. Two years. This means I’ve worked out for about 675 consecutive days already. That’s more than I’ve worked out in all of my 36 previous years combined. I started with going walking, fast walking, around my neighborhood. And then quickly decided it was time to buy a treadmill cause the weather was getting iffier and I didn’t want to have any excuse to skip a day. I bought it and have used it every single day I was home. When we took vacation, I made sure there was a gym nearby. When we flew to Turkey, I got off the 16-hour plane ride and went to the gym. I literally haven’t skipped one single day.

But this post is not to tell you about how awesome I am.

Back when I never exercised, people who exercised a lot always told me that once I started doing it, I’d get used to it and eventually I’d start craving it. I thought they were full of you know what. There was no way I would crave exercise. In fairness, I’d never put the idea to test so I couldn’t be sure but I felt pretty confident in my stance.

And I am here to tell you that I was totally right.

After 675 consecutive days, I still dread exercising. I still have to drag myself to the treadmill. Yes, the actual exercise is now easier but there’s no craving. There’s no part of me that’s dying to get up on that machine. Or lace up and run outside or whatever.

Not an ounce.

The only reason I am exercising every day is because I’ve made it a core part of my daily routine. I get up and exercise. I am not allowed to do anything else until I’ve done that. No sketching, no reading, nothing. So I get up and I do it.

And then I am done with it.

That’s still the best part. The being done with it.

It hasn’t become a habit. It’s something I do cause I make myself do it. It’s hard. It takes some of my willpower (less since it’s scheduled but still…) and even when I am on the treadmill, it takes more willpower to not stop at one mile or two. Going all the way to 3 miles is hard many days. I want to stop, quit, give up.

So if you’re like me and heard that you’ll grow to love it and crave it, I am here to tell you that’s not true for everyone. It wasn’t true for me and it might not be true for you.

But don’t ever let that stop you.

If I can do it, you can, too.

A New Beginning

If you remember from my post about the yearlong classes my one goal for January’s Move More, Eat Well class was to find a personal trainer. I had sort of been looking for one for a few months without success. To be honest, I didn’t really know how to find one and just kept getting more agitated as time passed. So when I was setting my one goal, I gave myself an out. I wrote that my one goal for January was to find a trainer and to write everything I eat down. I figured this way I could be successful if I hit either of my goals.

Oh the ways we give ourselves a way to get out of jail for free.

I started to track my food in early January but it was so boring that I stopped. I eat almost the same thing everyday so it seemed pointless. And I was making no progress on the trainer either. So last week, as I realized how close the end of January was I started getting annoyed with myself for not achieving either of my goals.

And then things just magically fell into place.

I was at a show with my friend Nicholas and I was complaining about how I was having trouble finding a trainer. He suggested I use Yelp. I did it right then and there on my phone and lo-and-behold there were four trainers I could call right by my home. So I called one the next day and gave her two days to respond.

When she didn’t, I called three other places on Monday and finally found one. As it turned out it was a three-minute drive from my house. I made an appointment for Wednesday and felt good about finally making progress.

In the meantime, I had another session of my The Science of Willpower class on Monday night. During the class, amongst other things, the teacher talked about several studies around increasing willpower. One of the exercises they tested was tracking things that you don’t usually track. I decided that maybe this was the sign I needed to get my other 1-goal going as well.

So Tuesday morning I started tracking my food.

Today, after dropping off the kids and doing my sketching, I drove to the personal trainer center and met with my new trainer. I was there for one hour and he gave me about thirteen exercises (after collecting some baseline information). Now I have a set of exercises, some kind of plan, and another appointment.

And I am sore.

I will admit that I am so very inclined to walk away from this whole thing because I am really aching all over for the first time in a long while. But I know that this means I am using muscles I haven’t used in a while and this was exactly why I wanted to get a trainer. While losing weight is great, my goal is not just that. I want to be healthy and strong. The running is great for my heart but doesn’t really do a huge amount for my core strength. I want my arms, legs, thighs, and stomach to be firm and strong. So I can be healthy and not just thin.

So I have begun yet another part of my “healthy for life” journey. I will admit to being scared and maybe a bit overwhelmed. But I am also determined. I know that a few months into this I will be stronger and the exercises will be easier. I know that this is another part of establishing a new baseline for my body and my overall health. And I know that this is the right thing to do for my body.

Even if it’s a bit hard at the moment. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy after all, is it?

So there we go. Tracking food: Check. Personal trainer: Check.

Tomorrow, I get up and do it all over again.

Healthy For Life – Week 52

Here we are. The last card for the year. I can’t believe I’ve come this far. Even though I’m still holding on to the last ten pounds I’ve wanted to lose, I’ve come a long, long way this year.

More than anything else I’m amazed at the amount of exercise I’ve put into 2011. This is more exercise than I’ve done in my whole life up to now. Literally. I’ve walked/run almost 1,000 miles this year. This is an amazing record for me. I remember in 2010, when I setup my nike account, my password was something like “nonsense” because I thought it was crazy that I even thought I could do this.

And here we are. I know there is still one more day but at this point, I have enough faith in myself to tell you that I’ve exercised every single day in this calendar year.

Every. Single. Day.

I am beyond amazed. Proud. And I know this is just the beginning. I know the path forward is even harder. But now I am more determined than ever.

and here’s this week’s card:

Healthy for Life is a weekly project for 2011. You can read more about it here.

Healthy For Life – Week 51

In all honesty I am not sure if I gained the full pound back or not. Since I moved to using the scale and not the Wii, it’s been hard to remember the number from week to week so I can’t tell exactly how much I’ve lost or gained. I can tell around where the number is and that’s really all that matters to me. This way I can keep tabs of any drastic changes and those are what matter.

With the exception of chocolate, holiday eating hasn’t really been an issue so far. I’m sticking to my regular routine for the most part and still try to east as much whole food as I can. I do think I need to work on more of a plan for next year but I’ll admit that I am not motivated at all. So I am just giving myself some time off and I will figure out what to do with the food in a week or so.

The exercise is still going. 2.2 miles a day. Especially hard on these cold, dark winter mornings. But I am keeping at it and I am very grateful for my treadmill which has been used every single day that I was home since I bought it. Actually since Mom bought it. Thank you, Mom.

and here’s this week’s card:

Healthy for Life is a weekly project for 2011. You can read more about it here.

Healthy For Life – Week 50

As a follow up to my promise to a kind comment last week, I have photos of me wearing the dress I bought. Not the best light and angle but there you have it.

Still getting up at the crack of dawn and exercising and still not enjoying it but mostly doing it because I have come to believe in its power. Not just in the weight-loss but also how much stronger and more resilient it’s made me. I am not looking forward to the slight increase in January but I know I can do it and just knowing that is making me proud. I still haven’t been diligent about getting a trainer or coming up with a plan for more specific exercise but at least in the meantime, I’m running. I feel a bit too tired and busy during this season to take care of the rest. It’s still at the top of my list, though.

The food is still going so-so. I’ve been busy and focused which often makes me eat less and also less healthily. So I have to schedule some time to sit and make a plan for the next month so I can get back on schedule as the kids go back to school and the holidays wind down. Let’s see how it goes.

and here’s this week’s card:

Healthy for Life is a weekly project for 2011. You can read more about it here.

Healthy For Life – Week 49

This week was uneventful it seems. I gained a tiny bit of weight but I am not going to worry about it because it’s too insignificant to matter. To be honest, I am not eating well. Having one cup of latte every day and eating way more chocolate than someone should. And peanuts. And then not much else. Overall, a very unbalanced, terrible diet. I keep wanting to change it but feeling like I lack the strength, energy, or time. Which is, of course, total crap. Alas, here we are.

The exercise is going ok. I am running 2.2 miles every day. It’s hard, I am tired and feel like I can’t do it every day. But still I get up and actually do it every single day. I will admit that I still don’t look forward to it and I am still bummed I have to do and I am frustrated at having to wake up at 5:30am to do it. And it’s still hard. And tiring and definitely not the “rush” people claim it to be. Despite all that, I still keep going. Because I can tell it works. And I am not stopping it. Not ever.

The dress above is my most recent purchase. I haven’t bought anything in months so I was ok spending a little more than usual on it. And I was so so grateful to see how truly wonderful it felt to wear it.

and here’s this week’s card:

Healthy for Life is a weekly project for 2011. You can read more about it here.

Healthy For Life – Week 48

Well, without really trying I seem to have lost the pound from last week and then more. I have no idea what it is (likely just water) but whatever I’ll take it. I am still going steady. Exercising every morning first thing regardless of how tired, wiped, frustrated I might be. Now that it’s December, I’ve upped it to 2.2 miles a day. It’s hard for me. I have never run this much in my life. But I am working at it.

Day after day after day.

The food situation is not so great. Not that I am eating super-bad or anything but I know my diet is not balanced or super-nutritious. I’ve been lazy and haven’t invested the time into doing it right. One of the things I plan to focus on in 2012 is writing everything down. As cumbersome and annoying (and sometimes embarrassing) as it is I think it will keep me in check more and make me more aware and that’s an important part of the process. And one I didn’t pay enough attention to this year.

Well here we go. one more week down.

and here’s this week’s card:

Healthy for Life is a weekly project for 2011. You can read more about it here.

Healthy For Life – Week 47

So I think it’s finally time to admit to myself that I did, indeed, gain a pound. It’s been showing up on the scale on and off and I’ve been sort of avoiding it until now but this morning I finally just decided to acknowledge it. I know it’s not a big deal. One, two, three pounds are no big deal. But I also know that the hardest part of losing weight, eating healthy, working out isn’t doing it.

It’s keeping it up.

It’s not gaining it back. Not falling off the wagon and eating a lot of chocolate and cheese and making one bad decision after another. It’s lacing up the shoes even when I completely don’t feel like doing it. Even when it’s dark and rainy and cold. Staying on the plan is hard. But this past year was relatively painful for me and a lot of work and I have absolutely no intention of letting it all go to waste. I have no intention of having to go through all of this again.

So one pound symbolizes so much more than just what it sounds like. It means I have to pay attention and get back on the plan.

and here’s this week’s card:

Healthy for Life is a weekly project for 2011. You can read more about it here.

Healthy For Life – Week 46

We’re almost done with this year and I am, apparently, not going to lose these last bunch of pounds. That’s ok. Since this is a long-haul, I can live with not getting down to the ideal weight this year. In fact, if I did, it might motivate me less next year and I certainly don’t want that. My goal is to keep going. I’ve already increased my run to 2.1 miles for November and plan to go to 2.2 for December, all the way back to the 3.1 miles I was walking. This is a path I don’t plan to stop walking on.

For 2012, I also want to add weights/exercises for more toning and something like pilates/yoga/meditation for being calmer, and stretching my muscles more. I think if I can get a way to do all three, I will have a well-rounded exercises routine and it will help with my stress as well.

As for the food, I bought myself a special plate with Kelly Rae Robert’s art on it. For now, I am staying away from bad decisions and leaving it at that for now. I do plan on fixing it but I am still feeling under the weather and I have no patience or strength to sit and figure it out now. So, as long as I stick to fresh food and proteins, I think I will be ok. At least until I can sit down and figure it out for once and all.

and here’s this week’s card:

Healthy for Life is a weekly project for 2011. You can read more about it here.

Healthy For Life – Week 45

I will admit that I am shocked I haven’t gained more weight with the way and kind of food I’ve been eating. While I haven’t eaten a ton, I’ve just been tired and not making the best choices. I’ve also had a lot of chocolate in the last few weeks. As well as coffee. All of which sucks. But I am too tired and too sick to deal with it at the moment so I am just grateful that the weight is not coming back on just yet. I plan to get the eating under control, I swear.

I ran 2.1 miles all week. Still watching movies as I run. I sort of gave up on the reading while I exercise for now. Partly because I’ve been so sick that I need the extra motivation to run. Or maybe it’s distraction. It’s also cause the books I’m reading currently are for book club and they are less escapist and more literary. So they need more focus. Anyhow, the good news is I am keeping up with the exercise, even through being sick.

My goal in the next two weeks is to actually find some help so I can solidify a plan for exercise next year and also to get my eating habits back to healthy and consistent. Let’s hope it works.

and here’s this week’s card:

Healthy for Life is a weekly project for 2011. You can read more about it here.

Healthy For Life – Week 44

I won’t lie: having visitors hasn’t done wonders for my weight-loss or even stay-healthy plans. Most significantly, I’ve been drinking coffee. Not the crappy, powdered thing I was drinking at home, but the stuff you buy at Starbucks. So while I am not worried about getting back on the 6-coffees-a-day wagon, I am still irritated at myself for drinking so many of these in the last two weeks. I’ve also eaten out more than usual and while I try to make healthy choices, it’s harder when you eat out often. All this made me appreciate our quiet lifestyle even more. Oh and it didn’t help that I am hormonal at this very moment.

Since November is here, I upped the running to 2.1 miles a day. It’s going ok but I am not reading much during running anymore and, instead, I watch movies or instructional videos for the classes I am taking. It makes the time go fast and helps me forget that I am running. I haven’t made progress on the trainer front but it’s still at the top of my list once I get myself organized.

I completely forgot what the scale said last week which is why the weight is n/a again. I promise to pay better attention this time.

and here’s this week’s card:

Healthy for Life is a weekly project for 2011. You can read more about it here.

Healthy For Life – Week 43

I finally bought a scale. After last week’s Wii fit disaster, I was sick of having to boot up the wii and make sure it wasn’t being wonky each week. Now I have a scale I can use once a week without having to boot anything up or press a bunch of buttons. It’s not as cute as the Wii and it won’t tell me my BMI but it will do for the new few months. Because it’s a completely new format, I decided to not count the weight loss it showed and I will just start this week anew and track loss and gain from here on out.

I am still running 2 miles a day and it’s still super-hard. But I am at it and I am not giving up. I have, however, not been doing so great with the food. With my parents here, I go out more and eat more than I usually do. I am still careful and try to pick the healthiest options. But I am guessing it will end up resulting in some weight gain for the next week. If so, I will deal with it. I am not worried.

I have officially begun looking for a personal trainer. One that can help me do some weights, etc. No idea how to find one but I’ve decided I want one and will actively search this month.

and here’s this week’s card:

Healthy for Life is a weekly project for 2011. You can read more about it here.