Finding Motivation

I’ve been eating pretty well for over a year now. I find motivation in food itself (delicious, organic, seasonal produce, sometimes out of my own back yard, and well raised meat, etc.), T.V. shows like Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and other blogs, websites, articles and books. The biggest motivator though, is the way I feel. I feel good when I eat well. I’ve been doing it long enough, that it’s become a lifestyle.

What I can’t seem to find motivation for is regular, daily exercise (other than working in my small garden, playing with the kids, household chores, etc. – all of which are exercise, but not vigorous enough for me anymore). Lately it feels like my muscles are deteriorating. And, now that I’m well into my thirties, my bones are probably beginning to deteriorate as well. I’ve noticed some weakness in my joints, which I find unacceptable at my age. I’m eating a healthy diet and my weight is fine, so that leaves me thinking I’m just wimpy, physically unfit. I need to bulk up so that my muscles can take some of the load off of my joints. My youthful flexibility is dwindling too. The years are beginning to catch up with me. Flexibility and strength can no longer be taken for granted. I’ll have to work for it.  Exercise is no longer an option. It’s a necessity.

So last week I did some soul searching. Why can’t I get my butt in gear? I can do lots of other things for my health – eat well, get more sleep, even stay moderately active. So what is my hang up in getting in a daily workout? I think it boils down to this: I just don’t want to give up an hour a day. That hour could be spent doing something else. Something less physically demanding and yet more productive like work,  gardening, cooking or spending time with the kids.

Regular daily workouts require a commitment. Doing it two or three times a week is probably enough for most people, and something is better than nothing. But I know myself well enough to know that if I don’t do it every day (or nearly every day),  it’s not going to give me the results and structure I need to form a habit and keep me motivated.

Years ago, when I was exercising regularly, I’d wake up early and sneak in a workout. Now I get up early to get in a couple hours of work before the kids wake. I realize though, that I have to do both. Simply because it’s necessary. Because if I don’t, I’m going to be nothing but skin and bones, which is just as debilitating as being overweight. When I’m just starting out, exercise is hard on my ankles, wrists and knees. In the past I’ve used this as an excuse to stop, but now I see it as motivation to keep going.

Exercise isn’t just good for physical fitness. It’s a mood booster. I feel empowered, strong and determined after a workout, which is why I prefer to do it first thing in the morning. It’s better than coffee. I feel it in my core. I walk taller, stand straighter and I just feel strong – mind, body and soul. Isn’t that motivation enough?

In short – yes! So I’m digging deep. I’ve been waking up even earlier every morning so I can do yoga or toning exercises. I’ve dusted off my old DVD’s (I almost got rid of those during the big purge) and I’m committed. It’s much too soon to pat myself on the back, but I think it’s going to stick this time. Something “clicked” this morning. I actually remembered how good it feels to be in the habit of exercising regularly. In a month or so I know I’ll be a little stronger. Wielding the shovel in the garden will be a piece of cake and I’ll be able to keep up with my kids. My body and mind will thank me. Besides, after just a few days, I’m already feeling pretty great – a little sore – but still, pretty damn great.

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About Michele
Wife and Mom of three girls doing her best to lead the family into a healthier lifestyle and evolve gracefully.

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