FitWit: How to Quit Working Out Forever

Last updated: April 18, 2024, at 11:39 a.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.  

  1. Reflect  

    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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

    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!