Help! I don't know where my motivation to workout has gone, but it's missing. And it's been missing for a few weeks now. Is it the change in the weather? Is it the rapidly diminishing hours of daylight? I don't know.
Is there a such thing as a 4 or 5 month "itch" when it comes to exercise regimens? I've gone from working out consistently for 30 minutes (+) a day, 5 or 6 days a week to a couple lazy 20 minute sessions these past couple weeks. Although I haven't honestly seen a huge difference in my body - I have felt the change in my energy, my mood and my self-image. In the last week alone, I have gone from feeling great, to feeling soft & lazy, to feeling thin and sexy, to feeling chunky and bloated. My body can't actually be changing that much from day to day... so why does the way I see myself go from one extreme to the other?
So "just do it", right? I wish. Where I was enjoying my daily workouts and feeling great about my progress through the summer months - regular exercise now seems like such a chore. If I check it off my to-do list I'm more like "ugh. at least it's done" instead of thinking "I'm so glad I did that, I feel great!". Brandon thinks I'm bored and maybe I am... I've been doing the 10-minute trainer program for a while now - perhaps it's just too much of the same thing. But come on. I'm a mom. When push comes to shove I just don't have more than 30 minutes a day that I can (or am willing) to give to exercise (is that the wrong attitude?). The workouts I've been doing may have become boring, but I can't think of another program that will give me the same impact in that amount of time. (If you have suggestions... I'm open to new ideas.)
I want to be fit. If not for myself then for my family. I want to be a good example to my girls. I want to keep myself healthy and young (or at least feeling that way) as long as possible. I want to take care of my body. It's the only I have and I've been blessed with a strong one, it seems wrong to neglect it. And let's be honest here... I also just want to be "hot"for my husband! So whether it's through traditional exercise, incorporating more physical activity into my day, taking up a new hobby/sport... I have to do something. And I have to do something BEFORE my motivation completely disappears.
A good place for me to start is to ask myself "what has worked in the past?"
(1) Having a workout buddy - the first time I really got into a steady/regular exercise routine was during my first year of University. I joined a really cheap women's gym in town and would meet up with a girlfriend for aerobics classes. It was fantastic. Often I found myself going when I didn't feel like it because I knew that she'd be there and that we'd probably go out for tea afterwards. That was great for then... but if I want to continue working out at home (cut the travel time, fit it in during naps...) then my workout buddy has got be a 2 year old, a 6 month old, or my ridiculously fit husband (who I can't up with!).
(2) Seeing results - I don't think there is anything more motivating than seeing results. A little more toned, a little bit stronger, a little more energy... and I think that in order to see quick results it is important that the change not be limited to being active. Change also has to occur in the "kitchen" (or wherever it is that you're consuming your daily food). Being more active does not necessarily mean that you should compensate by eating more. This is a hard lesson for me to learn (and re-learn) but I know from past experience that if I'm more careful about what I'm eating, any extra pounds melt away much faster and I'm instantly leaner.
(3) Doing something I enjoy - I know I shouldn't take up running. I've tried it in the past and I just don't enjoy it. I know that I do tend to like the sculpting and toning exercises more than doing an aerobics dance routine. There's no point in me taking up something that I don't enjoy - no matter how efficient or good the workout might be - I'll never be able to stick to it.
(4) Scheduling time - It worked when I was going to classes with my "buddy" and it worked this past summer when I was exercising almost every day at the same time (It also helped that Brandon didn't work very much this summer and he could take the girls for a walk while I did my thing...). For some reason it also works best when I do it as early as possible in my day. After I've eaten something but before I've jumped in the shower... If I've showered it is much less likely that I will bother.
and (5) buying cute workout clothes - I know this seems silly, but I'm totally serious! When I start something new I feel so much more equipped and excited about starting if I have the right attire. I'm not just talking practical here. Yes it is important to have a good sports bra (especially if you're a nursing mom!) but it's also nice to have workout clothes that you feel good in. Unfortunately... the newness of the cute clothes wears off pretty quickly and I can't quite justify buying more yoga pants when I already have 2 pairs that fit me well.
The second question I'm asking myself is "what is stopping me now?"
(1) Going ONLINE to check my e-mail before I start working out. As much as I'm enjoying writing this blog and trying to figure out the whole social networking thing (and connecting with others while I'm at it) it can be extremely time consuming. The other morning I decided I was going to exercise so I put CBC Kids on for Layla to keep her distracted (& mesmerized) while I did my 30 minute workout. Well... that was a flop. I logged in to twitter and before I knew it 3/4 of an hour had gone by and I was still just sitting there. After that lame attempt it would have been wrong to have Layla continue to watch TV so that I could exercise. The opportunity came and went.
(2) I don't WANT to. What can I say, I'm just not into it anymore. I start and I'm counting the minutes and they never go by fast enough.
(3) I've hit a PLATEAU. Over the summer I watched as the pounds melted away and my pre-pregnancy clothes fit better and better (most of my old jeans are even a little too big now... kind cool). I also felt my body getting stronger as the exercise routine became easier and easier for me to do.
So now what?
It's pretty obvious to me now that I (1) need to add some variety or change things up a bit, even if it's just for a few weeks - enough time to get myself motivated and back into a good groove; (2) should start looking at my diet and watch what I'm eating a little more closely; and (3) have to schedule it in - and stick to my schedule (no e-mail checking until I'm done)!
I wonder if writing these thoughts down for anyone and everyone to read will help me to stick to some sort of resolve. Thanks for being my sounding board!