"I just need to exercise more."
When I ask people what they need, this is often the answer I hear. I am a firm believer in NOT telling my clients what to do. There are many paths to what might seems like a common goal. My path doesn't have to match anyone else's + yours doesn't have to either.
It’s my job + the job of other teachers, leaders, experts + guides to provide information, opportunities + support. It’s your job to listen for what you need. If a mentor/coach can't do that then she's focused on herself + not you.
(This is good to keep in mind the next time you want to hire someone)
If joining the gym doesn’t feel good to you + you don't see yourself going, don't join a gym. A gym is not where I feel like I'm getting what I need, plus I worked in one for years so I'm over it. People who do something regularly without a ton of struggle, do something they enjoy. Yes they may not ALWAYS feel up for it, but the reason they do it anyway is because they value how it makes them feel (centered, relaxed, focused, etc).
Everyone, deep down, knows what they need (nourishing food, to move, sleep, less stress, a vacation). Nobody needs to tell you that.
So when you say you need exercise, I believe you!
When you say you just can’t figure out how to make it happen, I believe you!
I see 2 barriers.
- you haven’t found a way to move your body that you actually like (or you aren't allowing yourself the opportunity to incorporate it)
- you haven’t made it easy enough
OK, maybe there are 3: you expect exercise to help you lose weight, let's start there.
Before we look at the 2 barriers l want you to drop the idea of exercise for weight loss. Just banish it from your brain. That is an unrealistic goal. At best regular exercise keeps you at your weight. Our bodies are not designed to lose weight, that's why it's not as simple as "eat less, exercise more." That's an unfortunate belief we've been sold.
Is it possible that the expectation, the fear + the urgency of exercising to lose weight keeps us from enjoying exercise, getting us to begin exercising + to keep us exercising despite not losing 3 dress sizes? I think so.
Sometimes we have too much riding on our desire to be healthy + it becomes it's own stressor + ultimately self-sabotaging. If the goals are too big (lose 20 pounds, never eat sugar again, exercise 5 days a week) they’re overwhelming. It’s a hell of a lot easier to say today I’m going to go for a walk or today, have a cup of tea instead of dessert now, than to worry about how you'll keep it up for the next 10 years or wonder if this new exercise thing will work.
That said, exercising is awesome + everyone should move their bodies for 101 reasons besides losing weight.
Pretty much everything gets better: sleep, sex, diet, energy, mood, stress, relationships, creativity (I have my best ideas + inspirations when I’m on a walk).
Now onto finding what you like + making it easy.
Surprise! It will be easier when you like it. (yes, there's a handout + I snagged these questions from Gretchen Rubin, they're good questions)
- What did you like to do as a kid?
- What sports did you play, if any?
- Do you like being outside or inside?
- Are you a loner or do you like a buddy?
- Do you like to get really sweaty or something slower?
- Do you like new things or predictability?
- What days/times would you have available?
Basically, the better you know yourself the more you can find something you like. Often we assume the options are weights at the gym, cardio equipment, running outside or yoga classes and that’s it.
But that’s not it. I know people who love going to the gym before work + have been doing it for years. My neighbor meets people for tennis multiple times a week. I have a friend that surfs regularly year around. People ride bikes. Meet a friend for a walk. Another neighbor runs with other runners before her kids wake up. Go paddle boarding. Dance classes. Do yoga at home. Shoot hoops with your kids. Dance in the livingroom (or office if you're me). Family bike ride. Go to the climbing gym once a week. My grandpa (in his 80's) lifts weights in his living room.
I loved climbing before I was a mom, but it always ate up 2 or 3 hours of my day. In fact, I’d completely lose track of time so that doesn’t work as well for me now. I love paddle boarding + it requires time too. So I don't make the intention impossible + expect to do it 2 or 3 times a week. I'll settle for once each week or two.
- Identify what you LIKE or what you might like + try it out. One time.
- Make a commitment that matches where you’re at (not moving regularly: try once a week for awhile) + SCHEDULE IT
- Your ONLY goal is to feel good + have fun.
When you’re done don’t forget to check in with the group and let us know how you feel. Never has a person gone on a walk + wished they’d stayed home on the couch.
I'll do what I need to do to feel good, I deserve to feel good in my body.