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Motivation: How I Trick Myself into Exercising

In my last post, I spoke about my experience exercising while fat.

I was delighted by the kind and supportive messages, questions, and comments I received. I noticed one question in particular came up frequently: how do you find the motivation to exercise?

Motivation quote by Ryun

I confess, it is not always easy for me to race off to a class where I know I am going to sweat and suffer. Like everyone else, my days are full, and I am tired by 7 pm. I am, after all, a single mom. While I may be a glutton for punishment, my punishment of choice doesn’t usually involve ten million leg lifts. I’m more of the “why did I have to say that stupid thing” and “question everything I do” type of self-punisher. I have devised, however, several ways in which I seem to be able to motivate myself to exercise.

  1. I pay for, and schedule, my classes in advance. I am essentially a frugal person, and I hate wasting money. Exercises classes aren’t cheap. I schedule, and I go.
  2. If I am particularly tired, I reassure myself that I can show up to class, but do not have to work hard. That gets me through the door, and once I’m there, it’s impossible for me to take it easy.
  3. I dress the part. This is an important point, because many well-known exercise apparel manufacturers don’t go beyond a size 12. This size range is unacceptable. I have found beautiful, supportive, plus size exercise clothing at Athleta, Lane Bryant, Old Navy, and The Girls Apparel. Finding exercise clothing that supports my body, and makes me feel attractive has been a real challenge. Pants, in particular, have been quite difficult to find. As a large woman, and someone who had a C-Section, I have a lower belly that needs a lot of support. And by “support,” I mean that I need high-waisted, tummy-control exercise pants. I am not excited to admit that any time I wear exercise pants without these features to a higher impact exercise class (Zumba!) my belly literally bounces free of my clothing. “No thank you, post pregnancy body!” I am not ashamed of my naked body; I don’t want to be unexpectedly half-naked while exercising. My fellow classmates don’t want me half-naked either. My belly must stay in my pants, please. These pants, and these, have been a lifesaver for me. And for my classmates. As far as sports bras go, I can’t help much. I don’t need one for my Bar Sculpt class, and my old person knees keep me from getting too bouncy when I go to Zumba. There are great sports bras out there though.
  4. I make plans with friends to exercise. I make friends with the people I exercise with. When class becomes a social event, you know there’s no way I can skip. Not if there are women and we’re talking. No way. I will drag myself a significant distance for the high quality company I get to enjoy while exercising.
  5. This sounds kind of basic, but it is essential. In order to exercise, I need to make sure I go to bed early, eat regularly, and stay hydrated. Basic things that many busy moms neglect. I know when my daughter was little, I would drop everything to immediately attend to her every need. Well, I suddenly realized that this is not good for me, and it’s not good for me to model this behavior to her either. I matter, and it is important for me to treat myself well. Not to mention that I am teaching my daughter that we are a team, and we help take care of each other.
  6. I remind myself that I am exercising to keep my body healthy so that I can be a better parent. I know, exercising to keep myself healthy should be enough motivation. But I can be selfish and lazy, and am not good at prioritizing myself. I am, however, determined to be the best mom I can be, and exercising to model healthy behavior to my daughter, and to keep myself healthy for her- that strikes home for me. I am my precious daughter’s only active parent; I have a duty to stick around as long as possible.
  7. Finally, I try to remember how good I feel when exercise class is done– and how much I appreciate having a strong and healthy body.
Me. Photo Credit: Stephanie Robinson

Me. Photo Credit: Stephanie Robinson

Now you’ve heard my tips, so let’s hear yours! How do you find motivation to exercise? Please share your tips in the comments.

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