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Last Time That You Will Have To Start An Exercise Program

September 21st, 2015
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How many times have you started an exercise program?

What led you to start, and why did you stop?

To be clear, I don’t mean walking and then switching to swimming, for example; I mean vacillating between sedentary and active. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone guaranteed that the next time you start an exercise program will be your last?

YOU guarantee it. Exercise compliance is all in your head.

Although any reason is a good reason to start exercising, this article will address necessary weight loss and the psychological effects of starting and adhering to an exercise program and reaching a healthy weight.

Before starting an exercise program, it is crucial to address how you arrived at having an unhealthy body and a sedentary lifestyle. Why were you not exercising? You haven’t had enough time. You have been in school. Those are just layers. Have the courage to dig deeper, peel away the layers, to discover your core reason for not leading a healthy lifestyle. It’s imperative, because the core reason is what drives your behavior (or lack thereof), whether or not you’re conscious of it.

If you don’t do this important (mental) exercise, then you won’t comply with even the best-designed workout and eating plans.

You already know this, because you’ve stopped and started several times. You’ve ignored friends’ simple suggestions such as, “Just walk around the block a few times.” The core reason could be abuse experienced as a child. Or, a parent died young of a heart attack, and you think that you can’t do anything to prevent it from happening to you, so why bother leading a healthy lifestyle. It could be that other mothers will think that you’re a bad mother for devoting time to yourself, and you don’t want to be a bad mother like your mother was.

Identify the core reason. Accept it. Forgive yourself for having made excuses. Discard the emotional baggage.

I knew an overweight woman in her early fifties who always used the excuse that her (grown) kids came first. She considered herself admirable for such perspective—a well-versed defense mechanism to thwart healthy eating and exercising. As you should guess, she developed cancer. For a year, her kids had to care for her and watch her suffer until she died at the age of 55. How is that putting your kids first? YOU come first. Aren’t we supposed to be good role models for children, anyway?

After setting realistic, achievable goals, surround yourself with a support system. Tell your friends and family that now you are determined to commit to healthy habits and that you need their support. Give specific examples of how they can help you. Unfortunately, there may be people who, out of envy, try to sabotage your efforts or even remind you of past failures. “Which gym are you joining this time?” “That won’t work.” Include yourself in your support system.

Pay attention to your inner voice and what you say about yourself to others. Switch from “I’m fat” to “I’m beautiful” and “I embrace a healthy lifestyle.”

Notice if you surround yourself with other overweight people. This is an effective way to blend in, thereby masking your reality. When one person in a social circle takes healthy action, it forces the rest of the group’s members to look at their own poor habits. In turn, the members may become very uncomfortable and turn on the person who changed for the better. When you embark on major character and lifestyle changes, be prepared to lose friends. During a major transformation, during any major life event, you discover who your true friends are. The beautiful thing is that you will open yourself to receiving new friends, other people who value health.

In addition to relationship changes, it may be stressful to observe weight fluctuations. Beware of obsessing about your weight. Weigh yourself at most once per week. It is healthy to lose at most one kilogram (2.2 pounds) per week, except during the first week when it is normal to lose more, in the form of water. If you’ve spent decades putting on extra weight, then don’t be frustrated that it requires years to take it off. You will still reap the many benefits of exercise while you’re working toward your healthy weight.

Be patient and focus on lifestyle goals rather than weight goals.

Besides the risks associated with carrying extra weight, there are physiological reasons why this should be the last time that you ever have to start an exercise program. Weight cycling, intermittently increasing and decreasing weight, may lead to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, depression, cancer, and stress. Don’t let this news deter you from losing weight, again. Let it drive you to keeping the weight off this time.

Once you approach and reach your new, healthy body, especially when paired with confidence, you may attract attention, something that may be novel for you. The attention could be exciting and exhilarating. Or, the attention could be scary if you were used to hiding behind big clothes and feeling invisible. Realize that a new body means a new identity; as positive as it is, acquiring an identity can be as uncomfortable as losing an identity (e.g., changing careers).

Another effect of exercising and having a healthy body is increased sex drive. If you already have a partner, this change could yield a lot of fun! Or, a heightened libido could lead to conflict if your partner’s drive doesn’t match yours. Also, if your partner is obese, he or she could become jealous and suspicious and wonder, “Are you going to leave me now?” You may want to, in fact. Whatever the case, be honest and communicative and stay on the healthy path.

How exciting to have your sedentary days behind you and commitment to health ahead of you. You have solutions in place to counter excuses for not exercising, you have a support system, and you love the new you.

Treat yourself to a healthy lifestyle!

For more tips on how to lead a healthy lifestyle check out our 30 Day Challenge!

Article written by: Jeanne “Bean” Murdock

Jeanne “Bean” Murdock is the author of The Every Excuse in the Book Book: How to Benefit from Exercising by Overcoming Your Excuses (BEANFIT Publishing, 2005)

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Last Time That You Will Have To Start An Exercise Program
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Last Time That You Will Have To Start An Exercise Program
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Jeanne "Bean" Murdock is the author of The Every Excuse in the Book Book: How to Benefit from Exercising by Overcoming Your Excuses (BEANFIT Publishing, 2005)
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One Response

  1. Marvin Dittfurth says:

    I started running in 1982. Once I had 3-4 days in a row of it, I knew I would never go back. I like the quote, “a habit is something that is too weak to be felt until it is too strong to be broken.” Bad habits and good habits have the same dynamics. It is like the story of the two wolves fighting within us all the time..Which one wins? The one you feed. “Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.” Exercise or not to exercise is a life or death decision..choose life.

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