I’ve been pretty candid lately about the fact that I’m having trouble motivating myself in the exercise department – but there are plenty of ways to move more that don’t involve wheezing like a stuck balloon…especially if you’re just starting out.
When I get ready to start a workout regimen, a mental battle always ensues between the ridiculous expectations heaped on me by the fitness industry and my desire to make my new goals realistic. I don’t know about you, but I’m not motivated by muscle-bound personal trainers screaming at me in their infomercials. Don’t get me started on those pictures of perfectly oiled fitness models pretending to bust their asses that litter everyone’s Pinterest boards. That’s not what getting in shape looks like – at least not for someone like me who’s trying to get from 381 pounds to 155 pounds. Believe me, I don’t glisten when I work out…and I don’t relate to anyone who does.
After purchasing (and failing at) too many “Extreme Shredaholic” workout videos…and watching too many episodes of The Biggest Loser, I got to a point where I believed no workout was good enough if it didn’t involve me flipping a 600 pound tractor tire across the beach while carrying Jillian Michaels on my shoulders. I’d be all “Wow, I’m only walking a 5K every morning after breakfast…I’m such an eff’in slacker!”
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve just lost your mojo and need to get it back, these 10 tips for moving more will help you get going:
1. When watching tv, walk around the house or climb your stairs during commercial breaks.
Contrary to what the fitness freaks say, watching tv is not the root of all evil. Maybe I have too much faith in my fellow fatties, but I don’t think there are as many of us laying on the couch with a box of raspberry Zingers and watching court tv as the media would like us to believe. In fact, from listening to all of you Hot Mess fans out there, it seems to be more like “We had to stop at Sonic on the way to Johnny’s soccer practice and Susie’s track meet before I picked up the dog from the vet, grabbed groceries, helped everyone with homework, complete a craft project from Pinterest, bathed the kids, and passed out in the mudroom.” So yeah…if you want to watch a little tv, I say go for it. Make the whole family get up and move with you. Maybe they’ll go to bed early and give you some “me time” for once!
2. Keep some resistance bands at work…and use them.
One of my friends recently gave me a resistance band at work and I love it. I get to be physically active without breaking a sweat. I eff’in love that! It’s particularly useful during periods of stress or frustration like, for example, when a certain co-worker walks by. Or breathes loudly.
For less than $20, you can get a hold of an amazing tool that increases your calorie burn every day.
3. Let the dogs out.
This may sound like a no brainer, but if you have a busy schedule the pooch is usually the first one to get bumped to the bottom of the priority list. I have two very large dogs. When I take them to the dog park, I walk laps while I keep an eye on them. When I let them out in the backyard, I go out with them. There’s no resistance training quite like playing tug of war with a Saint Bernard.
4. Play more music.
Shakespeare called it divine air. I don’t know about you, but the right song can instantly lighten my feet and send me dancing across the kitchen floor. I still sing “Call Me Maybe” using a wooden spoon as my microphone while I’m cooking dinner. Don’t judge. I don’t care what I look like. I’m fairly certain I can’t really move like Jagger…but that’s between me and the dogs. No one else has seen it.
5. Park at the far end of the row and walk.
Yeah, I’ve always hated the whole “Park on the other side of the parking lot and walk to the store thing.” When I read that in magazine articles, I just roll my eyes and think “Oh, kiss my ass!” I live in Texas. Parking at the end of a row can give you a good sweat in the summer. Parking at the other end of the parking lot and walking…well, picture a plus sized puddle of goo gurgling on the asphalt. Texas summer heat has attitude…and teeth…and a baseball bat.
As much as I hate it, though, I have done it…and walked with purpose into Target with sweat dripping down the backs of my knees. Honestly, I didn’t even know I could sweat back there until I moved to Texas!
6. Hourly laps.
Have an office job? Set a reminder in Outlook to get up from your desk every hour, even if it’s just to walk around your department. Walk briskly like you’re on a project and in a hurry so no one tries to stop you to chat…or just yell “I have to pee!” and keep moving.
No office job? Set a reminder on your phone to get up and walk.
7. More salsa, less chips…and I’m not talking about food.
I have never taken a salsa dance class in my life…and it shows. That being said, there’s nothing like a latin beat to get me shaking my moneymaker all over the house. Sure, there have been times when Dyson has tried to tackle me with his giant paws but I think it’s just out of concern that I might take out a table lamp with my hips.
This one from “The Ugly Truth” always gets me…
8. Exercise by example.
Do you have school age children? If you do, chances are there’s a task or two on their to-do list that they hate. Homework. Piano practice. Chores. Make a deal with them that benefits you both: for every time they complete their task on time and without complaint, you’ll drop and give them 20 push-ups…or you’ll make 5 laps on the track at their school during football practice…the possibilities are endless. Involve them in the process too. Give them an opportunity to help and support you while you help and support them. Family cheerleaders are the best kind.
9. Have more sex.
Stop laughing, I’m serious. If you’re single, this may not be helpful at all. No need to tell me how cruel the dating world is when you’re fat and single…you’re preaching to the choir. But if you’re lucky enough to have a spouse or partner who loves you for you, well…sex is exercise and it’s incredibly good for you in a number of ways.
Sure, it’s hard to feel sexy when you feel like you’re related to the Pillsbury Dough Boy…but that’s not how your sweetie sees you. Do it the Hot Mess Princess way: with the lights out…and blackout curtains on the windows. If I’m feeling extra fat, I’m not above blindfolding the Hot Mess Hubby for good measure just in case a speck of light reflects off the mirror in the master bathroom and lands on my ass.
If I thought I could get away with it, I’d make him wear oven mitts so I didn’t have to feel so self-conscious about him touching anything below my neck. For some reason, he thinks that’s ridiculous…gotta love that man.
10. Movie Night = Move It Night
Just because you’re watching a movie with the family doesn’t mean you have to sit like a slug for 90 minutes. Make it interesting…especially if it’s a movie you’ve seen before. For example, the Harry Potter workout plan (10 lunges every time Ron Weasley says “bloody hell”, etc). If Harry Potter’s not your thing, pick a movie that you love. Do 10 lunges every time you see Kristen Stewart not smiling in a Twilight movie…that’ll burn some calories.
My point is…there are tons of ways we can all move more. I know good, consistent cardio is going to really help me on my way to my weight loss goal…but making little changes can help too. We all have to start somewhere.
So how do you move more? Share your tips and stories here for other Hot Mess readers to see!