I have been hesitant to share my thoughts on the topic of exercise because I don't feel that I am an expert by any means. Over the last year, I realized one thing that was causing a lot of my weight issues. STRESS. If I let up on my regimented exercise routines, my stress and weight levels would increase. Instead of being alarmed by my stress levels, I would beat myself up over my weight. I had everything backward.
Here is the truth bomb, I am currently at my heaviest. Posting pictures of me now was kinda hard but I want to make a point. This past summer I gained 10 lbs in less than a month because I was weaning off of anti-depressants. I learned two things while being on medication for my anxiety: 1. I liked how I was able to problem solve without hyperventilating and 2. I hated the side effects and wanted my true self back. So I decided to properly go off the medication with direction from my doctor and see a life coach/therapist (this may or may not be what anyone else needs).
I wanted to share some background because I know I am not alone. Sharing advice is great, but if you can't share where you are coming from, how can you make a difference? Paying attention to our health is so important, but looking at it from the right perspective is equally important. I want to share with you my new guide towards exercise that has helped me to stay encouraged about fitness this year. I too am working to get back on track!
1. Accept Who You Are Inside
A lot of what causes us stress is feeling like we have to fulfill an expectation. Whether it is in our career, a relationship, or even how we carry ourselves. Love yourself even if you can hardly get anything done, feel unmotivated most days, and can't give of yourself 100% in relationships. I personally, had to stop "picking up the pieces" all the time where I thought my life was failing. Everyone has weaknesses. Everyone is gonna mess up. It's important to realize learning from your shortcomings is powerful. Be patient with yourself!
2. Lay It All Out Before Your Creator
Ya, you should accept who you are but take it a step further. I often find that just saying, "I am enough," isn't enough. I end up thinking, "what now?" One thing that I found to be very impactful, was to lay everything out before God and confess that I just couldn't keep it together. Physically, emotionally, even spiritually. Taking the pressure off of me and giving it to Christ allowed me to be honest with myself and allow Him to provide me with the motivation to fully live. His timing, wisdom, and strength helped me a ton!
3. Pick An Active Activity You Enjoy
When getting started in the whole fitness realm, I find it more encouraging to do things I actually enjoy. A few years back, I wanted to improve my running because it gave me high levels of endorphins (naturally occurring drug, YA!). To start out, I went on walks every single day for at least 30 minutes or more. I found hills to climb to work my heart rate up and allowed myself to grab a picture of nature along the way with my phone. I realized this weekend, that I need to do this again, just at the gym since I don't really have a safe place to walk. Once you build up endurance, you can push yourself to do something harder.
4. Don't Listen To The Excuses
Deep down I know when I am really not that interested in making a change. It's usually when I am coming up with a million excuses not to do something. Can't afford the gym? Search on Youtube for exercises you can do in your own living room or in the garage. I've been doing them lately since the weather has been bitter cold. I would love to get outside and do them too! If that isn't really your thing, take a walk outside or run! Work a lot and can't seem to find the time? See if you can get a standing desk, wear a pedometer to track your steps and find excuses to move around like taking the stairs instead of the elevator. I run up the stairs here at home. Don't like how you feel? Find creative ways to get your body moving!
I am currently using all of these steps to stay encouraged myself. Handling stress, living a full life, and staying active are something I am striving towards. Have any questions? Share in the comments.
Here are a few promises to repeat in your head if you need to:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. - Jeremiah 29:11
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.- Psalms 16:11
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. - 2 Timothy 1:7
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. - Psalm 139:13-16