It is fairly clear to me that I am not one of Pavlovís dogs. That is, Iím not so easily trained. Oh, I can be motivated. I can respond to visceral stimuli. I can work on changing my habits over time, but laying new synaptic pathways through my old brain takes time. Seems to take a long time.
And that brings us to the subject of morning exercise. While I was fighting for my life by losing lots of weight, I was pretty good at getting up and out to the gym every single day. Thatís where I started my day, and I was consistent about it. I kept my one tube of mascara in my locker there, and no way would I be seen without mascara. I had to go.
Now two and a half years into maintaining a healthy weight, I find that I have grown different skills. I have become extraordinarily skilled at inventing reasons not to exercise in the morning. I donít need to tell you about my creative excuses. You may already be good at this yourself and donít need encouragement from me.
Somehow I am able to talk myself out of exercise despite what I know to be true:
*I know if I get out the door, I will smile. An unconscious, silly grin will spread over my face, because my body loves to move now, and wants to walk through the woods and along the beach.
*I know that as soon as I start to breathe and my heart starts to pump, all the anxious thoughts that crowd my brain will even out, become ordered, fall into perspective. Exercise kills anxiety faster than Xanax, friends.
*I know that I will see something beautiful. A deer maybe? A wood duck? A molting squirrel? The sun coming through the morning haze and hitting the dew to make a scene every artist has tried but none have captured? Seeing and appreciating what is beautiful in the world makes good medicine. Especially these days.
*If I go to the gym, I will see people I know and like, and others I would like if I knew. Iíll feel like part of a community. Iíll connect with folks. Thatís good for us, too.
*After working out, Iíll drive to work with my shoulders at shoulder level instead of up by my ears. Total body release post-exercise is a good start to my day.
*I know Iíll burn more calories today. And that means I can eat a little more if I want to. My jog will buy me an extra smoothie today. A whole banana.
*I know my walk today will help me feel like walking tomorrow. Exercise begets exercise. Energy use begets energy.
*I know I will sleep better tonight. Itís that fast for me and for many people. Exercise helps you sleep through the night.
*I know that exercise will help me ward off diseases and help me continue to reverse the ones I am fighting.
So If I know all of this, how do I manage to talk myself out of exercising in the morning? Right now I canít think of a single excuse. Iím putting on my sneakers now and heading out.
I will if you will.