How is it that I can feel ten times heavier if I am lax with exercise one week, even when I know it is completely illogical that I would have gained more than a pound? Whether anyone else can see it or not, I still feel so much worse during weeks when I don’t get much activity in. I know that I feel better when I exercise, but I still never have much motivation to do it. It helps when I schedule it in to my life so much that it becomes a definite part of my day, but some days I just can’t help but put it at last priority. I can always think of something else I could be doing that’s more important.
That’s the thing about exercise, or at least it is for me; I get into something, and then I get bored, and then I take a break and then I go back, or try something else, and then the cycle continues. I know there are some people who don’t have this problem, who are able to commit, and I am jealous of them, it’s never been me. I like to pretend that it’s because I’m so creative that I can always come up with something that I should be doing instead, when really that’s just an excuse.
I used to play soccer when I was younger, but then the girls on my team were awful to me and despite pleading from my coach not to, I quit. That sent me into laziness for most of high school (mono and asthma didn’t help either). I went to art school, so the first time most of us saw the gym was the day we lined up in it for graduation. I’ve tried gyms, I’ve never liked them very much, too many people strutting around in work-out clothes checking each other out. Then when I moved in with my sister, she introduced me to yoga, and it was great. I had finally found an exercise I liked doing. Unfortunately teachers leave, schedules get changed, and it’s impossible to get from Hudson Street to 14th street in 15 minutes during rush hour, no matter how much you try. Finally, getting laid-off and not having money has kept me from doing yoga recently. I always find it hard to adjust to a new studio, and it’s expensive too. So now I pop in a DVD and Denise Austin and I jump around my bedroom and she tells me to use my “rainbow arms” and we do our “fun cha-chas” and it was good for a while, but I think things have taken a turn in our relationship, sorry Denise, I’m bored. So how do we keep things interesting? How do we motivate? Usually for me at least, motivation comes from wanting to see a change, feeling bad about myself can be a great motivator.
I spoke before about the pressure you’re put under as an engaged woman, and how I’m trying not to let it get to me. Well, problem is, sometimes it does, and after going for my first fitting in my wedding dress I decided I would feel much better about myself on the big day if I had arms like Michelle Obama (why are her arms so amazing?). So for the last four months I have been lifting weights and trying to get some tone, arm curls, push ups, lateral raises, etc. When that first little hint of definition showed up it was so exciting, “it paid off!” I thought to myself, and then continued with my weekly routine, adding in some more difficult moves and some heavier weights. Sadly, after that initial little dip in my arm defining real muscle, there has been no new evidence of arm strength or definition, and I’ve nearly lost my motivation. ‘Cause you know, it’s really hot and sometimes I just think there are much more important things to be done than worry about a little indentation on my arm that nobody but me (or my fiancé who I point it out to all the time) will notice.
My old yoga teacher always said that the hardest part of yoga was getting to the class, I think that’s true for any exercise. Once I get my work out clothes on, and I fill my water bottle and check my e-mail, and put the dishes away, and put my hair up—and let me just check that e-mail again, pet the cats, and then well, I just don’t have any excuses left. Then, I put on my DVD, or step on to my yoga mat, or feel the wind when I pedal on to the boardwalk, and I’m totally into it and committed, but the hard part is getting there. What I hate is that we’re made to feel like just “getting there” isn’t enough, you need to see changes too, or else you’re a failure.
I guess that’s my problem with aspirational images, so often they’re lies. How can we all share the same aspirations, when we’re all different people? For some, having Michelle Obama arms isn’t that crazy of an idea, but for most of us, it is. Maybe if I had started out with the goal just to be strong, instead of focusing on what that would look like, I’d be a lot more motivated. So instead of setting big goals for myself, I’m going to do something crazy and set little goals, then I’ll feel better about them when I succeed and maybe I won’t be so deflated when things don’t come easy. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I’d love to hear from you guys, am I the only one who feels this way about exercise, is it easy for you? Is it always a struggle? How have you managed to make it a part of your lives? How does it make you feel?
Also, just for kicks, my fiancé (James) and I met Pharrell Williams over the weekend, and he was incredibly nice. James freelances for a website he created—kidult.com, it’s for teens, so if you know some teens pass it on, cause Pharrell is a cool guy. I really just posted this to make myself look cool, did it work?
Oh, and also, if you will notice I’ve added a blogroll over there to the right, so check it out. I hope you’ll take a look at some of the blogs on there because they’re all really great and worth reading, I hope to add more soon!