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I’ll admit; I hate to exercise. While that might not be the newsflash of the century, I do feel ashamed (sometimes) for not loving the one thing I should do to get healthier. I eat right, I don’t eat junk, I drink water all day, but I don’t exercise. I never felt the high’s from endorphine after running nor felt the zen-like calm after yoga and meditation. Intellectually, I know the all the health, physical and mental benefits of exercise; I preached it to my patients for Pete’s sake!
But I hate to exercise. I know. I’m bad.
I fooled myself by believing that my vitals were always – and still are – perfect. My lab work is like the “text book” numbers for sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and below normal BMI. I’m your poster-child of health from a lab perspective. And I am one of those people you’d love to hate who never gained weight no matter how much I ate. I had fast metabolism and I never went on a diet. Of course I eat wholesome, “REAL” foods, no junk, no late night binging and don’t drink soda. So I never thought I ‘needed’ to exercise.
Yup. Now, all bets are off since I hit menopause and I am now, what you might call, a out of shape, middle aged “skinnyfat” – I look skinny on the outside but I have no muscle – just skin, bones, and little bit of fat around my ‘middle’. At a small frame of 5’1″ (I shriek in delight whenever my doctor tells me I haven’t lost my height…yet.), I weigh 115 lbs after a meal. Now, I know that still doesn’t sound like I’m ‘fat’ but I could feel all my weight around my middle girdle area, you know, the ‘love handle’, the ‘donut’, the ‘tire’ around the waistline? Yea. Everything I eat get stuck there. Still, not ‘fat’ enough to exercise to lose weight.
But I’d probably fail a stress or strength test. I have muscle tone of a slug. Actually, I AM a slug. The most I do is yoga every other day for 30 minutes. The winter in the North East has been brutal so I don’t even go out for a walk and I have a hate/HATE relationship with my treadmill. I’ll go downstairs when it gets a bit warmer in the afternoon. Yeah, right.
What triggered my desire to start taking fitness seriously was this article my Dr. Mark Hyman.
The medical term for this is “MONW” or metabolically obese normal weight, which I prefer to refer to as being a skinny fat person. It means you are under lean but over fat – not enough muscle and too much fat (especially belly fat.) It seems it is better to be fat and fit than thin and out of shape.
While we know that 68% of American population is overweight, and that most have diabesity – being somewhere on the continuum of pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes – the shocking news from a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association is that nearly 1 in 4 skinny people have pre-diabetes and are “metabolically obese.”
What’s worse is that if you are a skinny fat person and get diagnosed with diabetes, you have twice the risk of death than if you are overweight when diagnosed with diabetes. Perhaps having that extra muscle on your body from having to carry around those extra pounds protects you.
Hence, Healthy 2014 Challenge!
I am determined to start moving this year and get fit! Since I eat healthy usually, I am going to add more exercise to my day to get healthier. Losing weight or the hidden fat around my waistline is secondary. Reducing my risk for diabetes, cancer, heart disease and improving mental health are all
good no GREAT reason to get fit.
But how do I learn to love exercising when I never had to even like it? I did some digging and I came up with these motivating 10 tips. I hope they will help you too.
7 Tips on how to exercise and love it!
- Pick an exercise routine you love to do. This might sound obvious but when you like the activity, you don’t have to think twice about it. My friend Anna does Zumba every day. She tells me in a middle of our daily Google conference call, “I’m late to Raúl!” and bolts out of the house, leaving me hanging in front of the computer screen. But that should be my cue. From now on, I will get up and do my own routine. I might not be as lucky as Anna to hangout with Raúl, but at least my butt will be moving.
- Pick a less-than-30 minute daily routine. Something quick that you can fit into your busy day, even in your office, is better than doing nothing! I love this quick 5 exercises I can do while I take a break from my desk. I don’t even need to change into an exercise outfit.
- Walk more than you want to. Park your car at the furthest point from the building and walk briskly, not stroll. I scoffed at this point but man-oh-man, try walking to the building from the furthest point. Guess what? You just did a workout for the day.
- Go to the mall without shopping. Seriously. I shouldn’t complain about the North East weather and just go to the indoor mall and walk. I don’t have to buy anything but just utilize the warm and carpeted walkways and just walk briskly. It’s free and not as boring as walking on a treadmill.
- Take the stairs. I used to complain that my family don’t take the stuff I put out on the steps for them to take upstairs. I will gladly take them from now on and get my heart rate up.
- Visualize a happy place. My mother always said, travel when you can walk and you can enjoy. I scoffed at her statement because, well, she’s my mom. But her statement can’t be further from the truth. When you are disabled from ill health, you can’t travel. Or even if you can get there, you can’t enjoy if you can’t physically walk or get breathless from traveling. Put up the picture of your favorite place to visit and you’ll be motivated to stay healthy enough to go there.
- Cook scrumptious (healthy) foods. It will give you energy to exercise efficiently and will motivate you to get fit so you can enjoy food more. Studies have found that weight gain depends on 80% eating and 20% exercise. I want to make sure I don’t have to worry about the 80%.
How do YOU motivate yourself to love exercising?
Coming up next: Guest posts on Yoga/Pilates and Cross Fit.