FitWit: How to Quit Working Out Forever
Last updated: September 19, 2018, at 5:43 p.m. PT
Originally published: August 29, 2018, at 12:53 p.m. PT
Even though at the beginning of all of this I tried to set reasonable fitness goals, I quickly lost the motivation to work out and eat well, despite working within feet of my gym. I did make it through a few strong weeks of going to the gym a few times and not eating total garbage, but just as quickly as the motivation came, it faded. I started giving myself reward treats for working out days ago. Making the arduous trek to the gym seemed impossible.
I’d started to see some results: I lost about ten pounds, saw some tone in my waist and arms. I thought I could afford to take it easy on myself: skip the gym, eat a whole freezer pizza alone while re-watching 30 Rock for the hundredth time.
But now, here I am, three months into my journey and I am nearly back up to my starting weight. But not all is lost, I have a new serious water drinking habit, I’m getting three servings of greens a day and I feel more confident in my body even though it doesn’t look that different. Fundamentally, I’m happy with my life and with my body, which feels like a weird and simultaneously radical thing to say.
I am, however, disappointed in myself for not doing a better job of sticking to my goals, despite my best intentions to achieve them. So, as I pull myself back up on the horse, or wagon or whatever wild west metaphor you prefer, I thought I’d share a few things I learned on my journey and some I learned from Y Branch Executive/ IronWoman Carolan Cross about how to stay motivated.
The first thing Carolan asked me when I told her I’d lost steam she suggested I ask myself what made me pause, which is not what I expected her, a serious athlete to suggest. But it’s true, you can’t move forward until you understand what went wrong.
Progress is progress no matter how small
Part of my problem was that I expected quick fixes and for my life to change around my new fitness hobby. In that mindset, I was expecting broad sweeping changes instead of coming to appreciate small ways I was successful like: drinking water, getting greens, walking more than usual or even leaving food I wasn’t hungry for on my plate. Now, I make a check list of all the things I hope to do in a day and get to check them each off, which means they’re officially done so I don’t need to fret over them.
GET A BUDDY!
Sorry that seems like I’m yelling, but I can’t over emphasize how helpful it is to have a friend who also belongs to the Y who wants to go to classes with me. My friend Emily (pictured below) and I make a plan of the classes we want to take during the week and do our darndest to make it to the class together. If you don’t have a bud to go to class with, I have found that introducing myself to teachers and classmates has been really helpful in making me want to go back, even though introducing myself isn’t a skill I naturally have.
Stop thinking day to day, think months and years
I want to be strong when I get old. I want to be as pain-free as possible for as long as I can be. I know that I get there by building habits now that will keep me healthy for years to come. I have found it motivating to think about older me, and how the small steps I am taking now will make her life better. I don’t need to fix everything in a day, I just have to try a little bit each day.
DON’T GIVE UP
I’m a self-saboteur when it comes to working out. If you get a flat tire on your car it’d be totally ridiculous to go around and pop the other three tires. This lesson is one I am working on learning and re-learning, so if you find out how to do this well, let me know.
See ya at the Y!