Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

(Ed Note: Hey we’ve been nominated (thanks so much to whoever did that!) for a Best of Blog (B.O.B.) award. Isn’t that swell? We’re in the weight loss and fitness blog category alonside some fabulous bloggers. Voting takes place over the next couple of weeks, so if you want to be heard, head over to the B.O.B. site (link on left), check out all the cool blogs, and vote your conscience.)

……

I adore lethargy. I admire inertia. I love nothing better than a day spent in my jammies, never leaving my house, sitting or lounging, a fire in the fireplace, a dog at my feet, cat in my lap, reading, watching movies, knitting, staring. Above all, I love to stare and stare, compelled by non-compelling pastimes, drawn inexorably to the couch. Sitting with a laptop and Google-drifting through life is my idea of heaven. Learning much, doing little. Ordering up food and dry goods on Amazon. That’s me. Love it, love it, love it.

But to get and keep my health, I know I must first acknowledge the existence of my body, and then move it. I need to make it sweat every day. Good health is not consumable, injectable, or offered in pill form. I can’t maintain my health by eating or not eating anything in particular. I have to exercise. Have to.

I love the way I feel AFTER I’ve exercised, the loose, warm feeling of pushing my blood into all my parts, the way all the soreness and stiffness of being over 40 and inert just melt away after a good workout. I love the way I sleep when I exercise. I love the feeling of calm well-being that overcomes nearly any stress. I even like a good gym. Especially a good gym with hot showers.

When losing weight, my early morning mantra was “Feet On Floor.” And I trained myself to prepare perfectly for the gym the night before, put my clothes out, prepare my breakfast and vitamins in advance so that when the alarm went off, my feet hit the floor, and I was in a “chute,” propelling myself to the door almost before I could wake up and reason myself back into bed.

But three years later, my mind is playing new tricks on me. For months my inner demons have worked to convince me that I can get by on a lot less exercise. My body has responded by growing soft, saggy, puffy. My demons have lost the argument, but are still intent on winning the war. They remind me how pleasant it is to sleep in, hit the snooze alarm. How utterly delicious it is to climb back under the toasty comforter for another hour’s rest. It’s not natural to move about in the dark, they say.They remind me how sleep deprived Americans are, and that though I have gotten MY eight hours in, I should sleep longer in behalf of all those people who don’t get what they need. A kindness to them, extra sleep.

I am a maintainer. When I needed to lose 100 lbs., when I feared for my life, it was easier to force myself out of bed and through the door. Today I need to find new ways and reasons to move. And I the best one I have is the knowledge that if I honor my love of inertia before honoring my love of life, the weight will find me again. The more still I am, the bigger I’ll grow, the more sluggish my system will become. I need to earn my couch time through movement.

So that’s my focus this week. I’m working on changing my mind about inertia, seeing it as the reward, the carrot. Exercise has to sit between me and the couch. No exercise, no couch time. That’s all there is to it. If I don’t get to the gym in the morning, it’ll be a workout video before movies in the evening. And oh, it’s so much better to get it done in the morning. New year, new challenge, new rules.

And you? What’s stopping you from getting your daily exercise fix in? What stories are you telling yourself? What excuses need to be unraveled? Do yourself a huge favor and spend a little quiet time thinking through a new strategy for getting your movement in this week. Write it down. Earn your inertia.

11 thoughts on “Earn Your Inertia

  1. magic1 says:

    I have had a bad case of winter hibernation this year, which I did not have last year. But I just signed up for a century (100 mile bike ride) in mid-May, and I know that the time to start training for it is NOW. I did my first spinning class since forever last Sunday (I’ve been going to the gym as much as ever, just doing a half-hearted 20 mins on the elliptical, which is NOT enough for me) and I did not die. I’m looking forward to getting my legs firmed up by spring, and I also have a company meeting two weeks from now, and the perfect dress does not quite fit yet. So these are the things that are getting me going. If I’m honest, it’s not enough for me to say “I just want to be healthy” because I am accomplishing that. But the funniest thing about my journay has been learning how much I love being a hard-core jock! LOL

  2. Dolores says:

    JuJu, Today was my first visit and I am so happy I stopped by. This one post has given me so much encouragment and some great ideas. I look forward to visiting often. I know this journey won’t be easy, but I think sharing it with others will make it bearable. thanks, you have no idea how your words have already helped.

  3. Laurie says:

    Evening exercise is better for me for many reasons. First, and probably the flimsiest — I am not a morning person. I suppose that could change with some effort, but right now, its an irrefutable fact. Secondly, and most importantly — evening is my danger zone for eating. Its when I’m tired, stressed, watching TV — the perfect environment for emotional eating. If I’m exercising, that’s 45 minutes of “not eating” and then the warm afterglow you spoke of JuJu, that is the perfect cure, antidote, vaccination, protection against that black hole of numbing with food. Third, I like the idea of exercising after my heaviest meal of the day — there may be no scientific data to suggest that doing so burns fat more efficiently than exercising on an empty stomach, but it pleases me to think that its a possibility. And lastly, for the most part, there are usually no real scheduling conflicts after 9:00 or even 10:00 at night — kids are in bed, evening meetings or activities are over — the only activity that suffers from my evening exercising is TV watching — which is usually accompanied by eating. Duh, I think I can give that up.

    I just received a gym membership from my dear spouse for Christmas, and it has inspired me to get back to my evening exercising. I can even watch TV while exercising if I want to — but I enjoy the music more.

    I truly admire early-morning risers, but evening works for me!

  4. JB says:

    Morning exercising has been a bugbear for me
    ever since I started trying to do it, lo
    these many years ago. I have a terrible time
    getting out from under that down comforter. I
    can stay consistent for a month, maybe even
    six weeks, but after that it becomes spotty
    at best, or I develop a cold, or I get real,
    reeeeeeal busy. You know the story.

    The thing is, if I don’t exercise in the
    morning, it just doesn’t happen at all. Things
    crop up. I have unexpected meetings, or I’m
    too tired, or the cat has to go to the vet.
    Real-life stuff rather than the down-
    comforter cloud of excuses I make between
    buzzes of the snooze.

    So this time I’m trying Couch to 5k. I’m
    thinking if I have a real goal and a real
    workout structure, maybe it’ll get my butt
    outa bed.

    Maybe.

  5. Melissa says:

    My alarm goes off at 4:45am to send me off to the gym. I am not lucky enough to be at the maintaining stage yet. I tell myself, I made myself this fat and I will have to make myself less fat. It won’t do me any good to stay in bed. I hear you on the preps the night before. I have everything ready, the alarm goes off and I am out the door before 5am. Yuck!

  6. jappy says:

    Love to sit in jammies most of Sunday! Just feels good not to fret, plan or do. Just be. Feels childlike (not childish). Inertia does have its place, and I agree that it should be a reward for having done some kind of exercise.

    I rise every a.m. at 4:30 to exercise 5 d/wk (I’ll get the other 2 days in eventually when I give up thinking it’s ok not to exercise on the weekend). It does not make me feel better or sleep better or relieve anxiety like it does other people, but I can definitely tell when I haven’t exercised for a while (illness, etc.). Joints hurt, sciatica kicks up, pains everywhere. And where’d that extra 5 lbs come from? Yeesh!

    This year for me there is less tv, more radio & cds played, more books read, afghan(s)crocheted; activity increases in the evenings, even if just general housework. Anything to keep from sitting too long & thinking one more episode of Law & Order is a must, which means I’ve just gotta have some kind of snack, healthy or not!

    Thanks for introducing Jonathan & Jane. Thanks for having this blog. Gotta go vote for ya!

  7. Sheri says:

    For much of my adult life, I was a total couch potato (especially back before my hypothyroidism was diagnosed and treated!). I would have spurts of activity where I’d get all motivated, but would always eventually retreat back to the couch. For the past 1 1/2 years, I have been on a journey to improve my health and lose weight. For much of that time, I have exercised 4-6 times a week and have done most of my exercise at 5-5:30 a.m. before I go to work.

    When other people who are wanting to lose weight see and hear of my “new life,” they ask me how I do it…like I went from a total couch potato to some superhuman Jack LaLane clone. “No,” I tell them, “I am just a couch potato who happens to exercise 4-6 times a week.” I still have my love affair with inertia…I just love myself and want to live too much to totally indulge in it.

  8. kirsty says:

    Wow. Early risers! First thing in the morning exercise for me has always meant 6:30 at the very earliest. Is it a US thing? I don’t know ANYONE in the UK who would get up at 4:45 to exercise. (or need to). The earliest I have seen ANY gym open over here is 6:30.

    Do you all go to bed before 9pm then? I do hope so.

  9. Jenny says:

    Juju, girl, I’m right there with you, loving the inertia. Give me a dark room, a pile of movie’s and I’m in heaven. Thank you for pointing out that it should be a reward…it’s become a lifestyle for me and my indulgence has turned my body into a trainwreck. Here’s to putting exercise between me and the couch.

  10. Denise says:

    I was soooo cool to get to read FOUR essays this week. Thank you so much, everyone!

  11. bob says:

    JuJu, as a fellow “maintainer” I focus on the “calorie burning” side of the weight-loss equation. When I made goal 2 years ago I decided to re-focus my attention away from the scale and onto my exercise of choice ~ walking.

    Another thought I had this morning is that I have begun to see myself as an athlete. I need to condition my body to enable myself to be all it can be. It’s sort of a self-management concept. For a long time I have focused on continuing professional development without considering my need to maintain my body in top physical condition. I’ve begun to see how very important self-managing my body really is for me.

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