How to Stay Body-Positive on Your Weight Loss Journey Part 4: Learning to Love Exercise
There are so many benefits of exercise. In addition to burning fat, increasing muscle mass and improving your flexibility, it can also boost your mood and energy levels. However, on days where you’re especially busy or tired, it can seem like a chore. Right? That’s why it’s so important to learn how to love working out. After all, if you have a passion for exercise, you’ll always be able to find the motivation to do it. And here’s how you can ignite that passion.
1. Find a Type of Exercise You EnjoyFirst things first, find a type of exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise. How, you ask? Well, try out several options until you stumble across the ones you enjoy.
- Aerobic or “endurance” exercise increases your heart rate and significantly improves your fitness level. Some examples consist of jogging, dancing, swimming and cycling.
- Strength training helps you to build muscle mass through bodyweight and resistance exercises. It includes squats, lunges and push-ups.
- Stretching improves your flexibility in the muscles and tendons, especially if you stretch every day.
- Balance exercises can strengthen your core and make you feel steadier on your feet. Some examples include heel-to-toe walking, yoga and pilates.
And FYI, you don’t have to stick to just one way of working out! You can mix up your favourites so that they never become boring.
2. Know Your WhyTo spur you on while exercising, make sure you define your why. Ask yourself what you hope to achieve through a regular workout routine and have this in the back of your mind at all times. Some common motives for working out and losing weight are:
- Reduced physical health risk
- Less joint pain
- Improved mental health
- Better sleep
- Reduced allergy symptoms
- More confidence
You could even write down your why(s) on post-it notes and stick them up around your house to serve as helpful reminders on the days where you’re feeling unmotivated.
3. Set Small Goals
When you have a big goal to achieve in a specific time frame, i.e. go down a dress size, it might feel unattainable in the beginning. That’s why it’s a good idea to break down your one big goal into smaller, more manageable goals over a shorter period of time. For instance, you could aim to lose one pound a week for 12 weeks and then exercise 30 minutes a day to achieve this. Either way, it’s easy to find an excuse not to exercise. But if you work it into your schedule, just as you would your routine dentist appointment, it’s harder to ignore it.
4. Celebrate the ChangesAnother way you can learn to love working out is by rewarding yourself when you notice positive changes[link to part 3], such as:
- Weight loss
- Muscle gain
- Better posture
- Improved flexibility
- Increased strength
- Buying yourself clothes in your new size
- Having a cheat meal
- Doing something you enjoy
It’s all about giving yourself a pat on the back every now and again for your hard efforts. And this will help you keep up the momentum.
5. Wear Something That Makes You Feel Great
Lastly, wear something while you’re exercising that makes you feel comfortable and beautiful. Whether this is a cute printed workout top or colourful trainers from your favourite brand, use your activewear to express your personality. And this is bound to have a profound effect on your mood.