The Full Mind Weigh® – Coaching that Empowers you to Stop Regaining the Weight you Lost!
For most of the clients I work with, exercise has been a part of their weight loss journey. When people reach the maintenance stage, however, they sometimes struggle to continue an exercise program as part of their regular routine. I hear many reasons (excuses) for this, but the most common ones are:
- I just don’t have the time
- I did it because I had to in order to lose the weight, but I really hated it
- I don’t like to sweat
- I’ve never found a form of exercise that I really enjoy
Perhaps one of these reasons (excuses) applies to you? If so, imagine this scenario:
You walk into a Baskin-Robbins store and see that there are about 50 flavors of ice-cream available. You ask for a little sample of the cookies and cream ice-cream. You don’t like it. You walk out, deciding that you hate ice-cream and you’ll never try it again. Huh? I don’t think so, right? You’d try another flavor – or three – or perhaps another ice-cream store.
How about this one:
You have a headache and you take an over-the-counter painkiller. It doesn’t work. You decide that you’ll just have to live with the headache. Again, I don’t think so. You’d try another analgesic. Right?
Or this one:
You go out on a date for the very first (or second, or third) time and it doesn’t go so well. You decide that dating isn’t for you. Likely? I don’t think so.
So why does exercise have to be any different?
Do you know how many different types of exercise there are? And how many different types of activity might be considered to be “exercise”? According to Wikipedia, there are 8,000 different sports and sporting games, everything from aikido to zip-lining. This probably doesn’t include the hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of different types of dance and exercise classes that are available, from Argentine Tango to Zumba. How many have you tried, honestly?
That’s one issue. The other issue is the way we tend to think about exercise. Often, we think of it as something we’d rather not do (like going to the dentist or paying taxes – who actually enjoys those?), or something we should do (like making nice with an unpleasant family member at the annual family gathering) or even as a kind of punishment for the way we’ve eaten in the past. Often, those of us who’ve struggled with weight management for much of our lives carry negative memories of childhood experiences with exercise. Were you, like me, the last to be picked for any team? Or were you, like me, the little girl who quit ballet class because she felt like the only baby elephant in the room, alongside the other little swans and fairies?
But how do you get to the point where you’re able to think of exercise as something you like to do and/or want to do? Or even as a gift that you give yourself?
- By experimenting, through a process of trial and error, for as long as it takes to find something you enjoy doing.
- By turning it into a social event, if you want to do that, or as sacred time that is just for you to do something for yourself, by yourself, if that approach appeals to you more.
- By viewing it simply in terms of “movement”, and not as an “exercise program”. Even if you truly “hate” exercise, would you honestly say that you hate to “move”? You mean you’d rather simply sit in a chair and/or lie down around the clock, for the rest of your life? I didn’t think so. Okay, so find a way of moving your body that is fun for you, that feels good to you.
- By reminding yourself of the multiple benefits (physical, mental and emotional) of engaging in activity that involves movement, and thinking of it as a form of self-care.
The trick is to find the right “why”. According to research by Dr Michelle Segar, author of “No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness”, having long-term goals such as weight loss or better health does not sustain our motivation to exercise. Rather, the kind of payoff that is more in the here-and-now – such as having more energy, being in a better mood, feeling less stressed, and having another way to connect with a partner, child, friend, or other people we care about – are the types of goals that are more likely to result in sustained motivation and greater consistency.
According to Dr Segar, everything counts when it comes to movement – walking to the water cooler at the office, getting off the elevator one floor early and taking the stairs the rest of the way, playing outside with the kids, vacuuming, or pulling weeds.
We all get the same 24 hours every day. You may feel swamped with family and/or work responsibilities that other people don’t seem to have. But if you’re always chasing time, take a close look at how you spend your time. Do you watch a half-hour TV show, talk to friends on the phone, play video games, or spend an hour a day on social media catching up with what your friends have been up to? Could you do these things while in motion?
Perhaps you feel that you spend enough time away from your family members as it is. If that’s your situation, how about getting them to be more active alongside you? They would only benefit as a result, and it would be another opportunity to connect and bond, instead of everyone being off in their rooms on their personal electronic devices. You know how that is, right? Remember, it doesn’t have to be a half-hour or more. Do you and your partner and/or kids have 10-15 minutes to spare? I’ll bet you do.
I know you’re reading this post because you want to keep your lost weight off – this time. You truly want this time to be different, once and for all. The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) is the largest research study to date of people who’ve successfully maintained their weight loss. The study is tracking over 10,000 people who’ve lost between 30 and 300 pounds and kept it off for anywhere between 1 and 66 years. One of the findings is that 90% of successful maintainers exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day. But remember, you don’t have to set aside that amount of time. Even a few minutes counts. Simply move more.
Here are some other tips and things to think about:
- Start small – take a flight of stairs, or walk to the water cooler on the next floor.
- Don’t wait till you’re “motivated”. Taking action will motivate you.
- Remember, there will never be a perfect time to start.
- Don’t start an “exercise program”. Just move more. Don’t make it a big project.
- Don’t be influenced by negative past experiences with movement. The past does not determine the present or future.
- Make it easy, don’t make it a big deal. Move during the TV ads; keep your gear ready to use, in the trunk of your car.
- Find a buddy. Motivate and be accountable to each other.
- Make it entertaining. Use it as a time to watch a movie, listen to music, read a novel, or talk on the phone.
- Find a purpose that matters to you, like training for a fund-raiser for a cause you care about.
- Make it your “me” time.
- Buy workout clothes, shoes and equipment that you love to wear and use – but remember that there’s so much you can do without this stuff, if this isn’t in your budget.
Hate to sweat? Try these:
- Water workouts
- Walking in an air-conditioned mall
- Tai chi
- Strength training
- Use a fan or turn on the air conditioning
- Use a neck cooling system
- Look for exercise clothes with moisture wicking properties
I’d love to read your comments on this post. What do you think of these ideas? Are you using any of them? If so, how are they working for you?
Coaching helps you find freedom from the weight-loss weight-regain roller coaster you’ve been trapped on for so many years. Contact me for your free initial consultation – let’s start talking about strategies that work for you!
With your continued health in mind,
Doreen Lerner, Ph.D.
The Full Mind Weigh® is strictly an educational program and is not a substitute for medical or psychological evaluation or treatment. If you think you may be suffering from an eating disorder, please consult with a qualified mental health professional who is trained to evaluate and treat eating disorders.