Skinny Daily Post


It’s been a poorly kept secret that I’ve been having trouble getting back into the gym routine. I overtrained earlier in the year, and was forced to take a break. And it lasted WAY too long. There was work stress, family stress, job change, every excuse in the book, including a cracked rib from a bad fall (in a bar, among five drunken Brits in tuxedos — I was the only sober one!). It had nothing to do with gym shyness or fear. Ever since the first day I nervously entered the building to talk about joining and to talk with a trainer, the people at this gym have been unbelievably supportive and downright kind.

It was just me. And I’d tried several strategies. The first one — and most obvious — was paying for sessions with the trainer. Still haven’t used them. Called the trainer. He wasn’t there. Then I bought guest passes and tried to get my friends to come with me, even extending invitations to visiting colleagues from overseas (yes, the generally un-sober Brits mentioned above]. No one took me up on it. I continued to get massages at the gym, however, and did my best (?) to get there early so I could work out. Nothing doing.

A few weeks ago, there were suddenly no more excuses! Work was fine. Life was as de-stressed as it was going to get. I was reasonably rested. The rib had pretty much healed. I didn’t have a sinus infection. I had time and it was early enough in the day that I wouldn’t be getting back at 11 pm. As I said — I ran out of excuses.

Walking into the gym with my gear wasn’t the easiest thing to do, especially since I realized I’d forgotten a towel. But the young man at the desk was so glad to see me (at least, that’s what he said!) that he didn’t charge me for a large pile of those disposable ones.

A person can’t have a layoff of several months of weight training and expect to be able to lift the same amount. So I was sensible, decreasing the weights by 20-50%. Some muscle groups worked better than others. The legs were fine, most likely because of all the hiking I do. Thank goodness! Back muscles needed a decrease, so did the arms. But the chest — my weakest spot — almost back to ground zero.

And perhaps most important, I felt energized, a feeling that hiking doesn’t give me. The added bonus is a sense that body and mind were connecting, a major issue in my weight control. We’ll get into this more as time goes on. But I’ve realized that I need a different focus in my weight training, and is that trainer ever going to have his hands full!!! Just as soon as I get in touch with him.

So how to keep this momentum going? How to make this part of my life a priority once again? Obviously, this won’t be easy. So, here’s what I did. I left a pile of my business cards with the kids at the front desk, and with the director of training, with instructions to distribute them to anyone who’s willing to help nag me, and to make sure that I don’t stay away as long as I had.

Are you out of excuses yet? How are you handling the return to your healthy routine? Or even starting one? Any and all ideas welcome — obviously, this isn’t a done deal for me, either! No one has called me, by the way, even though I’ve gone back only twice more. Uh oh.

17 thoughts on “Ran Out of Excuses

  1. Sara says:

    I know the feeling. My husband bought me a weight bench and a bike and converted 1/2 the den into an excercise room. For six months there have been excuses, asthma acting up, family drama, colds, deadlines etc.

    For some reason I weighed myself today, (240lbs)and no matter what is going on, I have to actually use the equipment. It is almost the hardest thing I want to, I can see myself doing it, but when I get home I never seem to find the time.

    How does one crack the whip? All I have to do is do it, and yet I freeze when I think about starting.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I just started reading this blog this week, and have already gotten so much out of it! Thanks!

    I have found that the biggest key to getting back on (or just on) an exercise regimen for me is to set realistic expectations. Going from 0 to 5 days a week is not realistic. 2-3 days to start is more like it. The endorphins will keep you coming back over time.

    I also try to schedule specific times to go to the gym, rather than just assuming it will fit into my day, by taking classes or working with a trainer.

    As for whip-cracking? I think about how I’ll feel later if I skip the gym. 9 times out of 10, I pick endorphins over guilt.

  3. Misty says:

    I’ve been using the “fake it till you make it” mentality. On those days that the last thing that I ever want to do is go to the gym – I go. And I pretend to be excited about it. I set my mind that I have a minimum amount of time that I’ll do something (usually 30 mins) and then do it. I don’t always love it, but most days about half-way thru I’m glad to be there and stay a little longer.

    I decided about 6 months ago that I have no more excuses… Now, despite my fears of inadequacy, I’m starting to train for a triathlon. πŸ™‚

  4. jonquil says:

    Make it fun. Really. If it’s not fun, you’ll find lots of excuses to avoid it. If it is fun, no power on earth will keep you from it! So if you find yourself avoiding the gym, maybe you don’t really want to be there. Fine– don’t stress or feel guilty, just find something else you will do. Try thinking about movement as “sport” or “play” rather than as exercise. Find a way to play like a kid again.

  5. Warisose says:

    I can so relate to this topic. I have recently returned to the gym after not going for 5 months! Why did I not cancel my membership you ask? Because, I had it in my head each week that I would go back. But nooo, I never got there. At first I had every excuse in the book, but then I actually stopped thinking about it all together. To think that I figured I could hide from the problem so easily. I knew I needed to get back but I never figured out why I stopped going in the first place.
    Having been back 3 times so far this week has got me wondering why I stopped going. It makes me feel really good when I exercise, so why is this feeling not enough for true commitment? I am still awaiting an answer…..from whom I don’t know.

  6. jh says:

    I was looking myself in the mirror in December and I realized- I haven’t exercised in many many months. I have gained 40 additional pounds since last time I looked (sending me nearly to 280). I am miserable about this fact. I decided that this it’s time for me to stop letting my weight play the huge role in my life. I just decided that I’m done with fat. I’ve started exercising morning and night… I get up at 4:00 a.m to do it, I exercise for 35-40 minutes every evening after work. I just committed to MYSELF. I have told NO one about this. I think talking it up (as most people tend to do) reduces it’s power. You are only breaking your promise to yourself if you stray. So, I have discovered the easiest way to get your regular exercise and to make it STICK… is to just decide that it’s part of what you do now. Your life has now taken on one additional facet, and it’s exercise. You don’t need to talk it up and make it a big deal, you just incorporate that into your daily life. You don’t make excuses, you don’t take more time off than you need when you need it, you just tattoo it to your lifestyle.
    I know some people need more drama, but this is what’s working for me. I thought I’d share. Thanks!

  7. JuJu says:

    JH, you rock.

    May I just say “tattoo it to your life” is my favorite new phrase of this tender young century?

  8. Helen Pare says:

    I’ve been a WW member for 3 years now and finally after years of off and on working out have successfully commited to 3 years now behind me. Last year after pushing myself to lengths I never realized, I became personal trainer qualified. Long story short. If I had some advice to give anyone who exercises one is to change your routine often to get away from bordom, the other is the challenge yourself. If you can lift 8 lbs 10x then maybe you can lift 10lbs 8x. Also, focus on how great you feel when you accomplish even the smallest of goals, pat yourself on the back and carry on. Remain consistent and commited to yourself with exercising.

    Good luck to all with your exercise. It can change your life forever!!

  9. Patflat71 says:

    1- Stop thinking about it, just do it!
    2- If you can’t make it, fake it!
    3- Don’t fall off the wagon, makes it harder to get back on!

  10. Meegan B. Joyce says:

    I stopped going about a year ago. I began to eat a lot then and I would rather stop at the store to buy candy to eat on the way home before dinner or to put in my drawer at work, than to go work out. Plus, after eating a bunch of junk, I didn’t feel like doing yoga or strength training. So naturally I gained all the weight back that it took me a year and a half to lose and then I didn’t want to go back because I looked so bad and was so out of shape. Talk about a vicious cycle!!! Anyway, what got me back just recently was running out of excuses plus my husband coming to the gym with me. Our children are on their own or in college so it’s not like I have to get home to fix dinner or go to one of their events. I work Monday through Friday from 7:30 – 4:30. I absolutely have time to exercise and I couldn’t justify not going any more. My husband goes to the pool and swims and I walk on the treadmill. I think I might go back to my yoga class but I still feel too out of shape for that – so I guess all the excuses aren’t gone yet!!!

  11. Marisa says:

    “I’m done with fat.” I love it, and your no-nonsense attitude about getting exercise. Thanks, JH.

  12. FA says:

    Work out with weights twice a week. Twice a week, that’s all. Faithfully, week in and week out. I’ve done that now for 1 year and 8 months. I’ve missed a total of 8 times in those 20 months. I feel so great, healthy and strong. I know I’m burning more calories with my larger muscle mass, and keeping my bones strong.

    At first liftin twice a week was not “tatooed on my life”. But now it is. I love the way I feel after I lift. I wish I could tell you I am thin and gorgeous also, but I can’t. Control of calorie consumption is necessary too!

    I really think the key to exercise is to make an achievable resolution. Twice a week is reasonable. Why don’t you try it? Making a reasonable plan allows you to succeed. Success breeds more success. Twice a week, that’s all!

    Love the skinny daily blog. Yall rock!

  13. Debbi says:

    JH’s message really resonated with me, as well. I was reminded of one of the women Oprah interviewed on her video of a few years ago, who said something like, “Exercise is a daily thing. You don’t think about whether you’re going to brush your teeth or take a shower. It’s just something you do every day.”

    It’s been warm here in southern WV lately, and I’ve been enjoying walking outside on some challenging hills. It’s become a daily, morning habit, and one I hope to continue … even when winter finally does hit!

    Thanks again, ever so much, for the inspiration I get here.

  14. jane says:

    Thank you thank you thank you, everyone…

    now, i’ve tattooed this onto my life, at least for tomorrow. AFter all, it starts with one day: i will be at the gym tomorrow not later than 4:30 pm. I’ve been away all weekend, and am taking a half day off from work tomorrow to catch up.


    whew!! with my towel

  15. Shannon says:

    I lost 68 pounds last year on WW…and then before the holidays I had some family drama and put about 15 pounds on. Ugh! As of last Monday I am back OP and working out every day! I have found a wonderful thing, FiTV…they have an awesome lineup of different work-out programs that are fun! And I have found that is the key, if it’s something you don’t look forward to…it’s easy to find excuses. If you stick with it and see results, it’s a lot easier to keep it up.

  16. Jane says:

    Although my long-term reward is improved health, I require immediate gratification or I end up making too many excuses to exercise. I tried the gym routine, but felt so conspicuous, plus timing was hard to coordinate with my husband and small children. It didn’t last. So I decided to make it fun to exercise. We watch very little tv, so if I record favorite public tv shows and then watch them ONLY when I lift weights, I’ll do it without complaint. I vary my routine frequently to keep challenging myself and prevent boredom. Then we bought a treadmill and then a nice recumbant bike at a yard sale, and I added a short aerobic workout first. I’m tired after exercise, so I sit and fold laundry and watch a bit more tv. That strength training routine covers 3 days a week, but I need almost daily exercise. So if I walk alone, I wear a headset radio and focus on all the neighbor’s gardens. But enlisting my family helps tremendously. My husband and I walk on date nights during the summer. We recently bought a tandem bike, which is wonderful! I feel so close to my him and love working cooperatively. He is normal weight and finds the tandem is trickier to steer but easier peddling because my legs are so strong from years of morbid obesity. Meanwhile, I feel like I’ve LOST 50 pounds!!! Whereas on my own bike I have to walk the smallest hills, on the tandem his strength kicks in and we make it up every one! FREEDOM! It’s addictive! Also, on nights we have the kids and so can’t ride our tandem, they beg for us to take them biking behind us on our tagalongs. We ride to a playground and back. It’s hard to turn them down, so I get my exercise. Now that it’s winter and too dark and cold for outdoor activities (skiing was a fiasco and my ankles aren’t strong enough to skate at 245 lbs.) we are all taking swim classes at the same time as a family. So I recommend family involvement and associating rewards with doing exercise. Oh, my house looks TONS better as well, since I discovered listening to books on tape from the library would keep me at it when doing household cleaning chores. That way my focus is on the book, not what else I want to do as soon as I’ve done the bare minimums on the chores. There are certainly more ways to move my butt off that couch than just official “exercise.” I figure if it takes me 1 1/2 hours to vacuum and mop my big house and I sweat like crazy and shake afterwards from exhaustion, then that’s my exercise for the day. My focus is to live the kind of life I want to – making a lovely and comfortable home for my family and having the health to play with them. I don’t want to return to the sickly couch potato slowly dying from Syndrome X and likely to leave my husband widowed and my children orphaned before I’m 50. I choose life!

  17. marla says:

    God I love this blog. Thanks mucho.

    I recently lost 40 pounds, have 30 more to go … but now it’s 40 because I didn’t go to the gym for a month and decided I could eat anything I wanted again. Being fat truly is like being like an alcoholic. Sometimes you “fall off the wagon” and you have to find ways to get back on. One of the ways I”ve gotten back on the wagon is by going to the gym as soon as I get up in the morning. I don’t think, I block all excuses from myhead. The alarm goes off and I hurl myself out from beneath the nice cozy covers before my head can scream at me “NO! JUST 10 MORE MINUTES.” I get dressed FAST, grab my gym bag, and GO before that nasty little devil on my left shoulder talks me out of it. This works for me. But if I let myself think about it, rationalize it, come up with excuses, I’m doomed.

    Keep up the good work everyone πŸ™‚

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