exercising_excuses_main.jpgMost of us will be familiar with the downward spiral of weight loss doom: we get ourselves hyped up for an exercise regimen designed to trim away the unwanted curves, and we stick to it—for a while. Then we start missing a day here and there, saying we got caught up with other things, or one or two days won’t make any difference. Then we start skipping several days in a row. Maybe we’re not feeling well. Maybe we’re just too busy. Maybe life just gets in the way. Maybe we just get bored. Pretty soon, there are more days of the week in which we don’t exercise than days in which we do—and more excuses for not exercising than there are days in a year. And it all goes downward from there.

Sound familiar? We thought it might. Want to learn how to escape this desperate cycle of non-exercise? Check out the tips below for some suggestions:


KNOW WHAT MOTIVATES YOU.

People exercise for a variety of reasons: health, vanity, that endorphin rush, or all three put together. So ask yourself why you think exercise would be good for you. Is it because you realized that you’re not getting any younger and want to remain in tip-top shape? Do you like that feel-good high after an intense workout? Or do you simply want to lose weight and/or show off a toned bod? Knowing your motivation for exercise is halfway to convincing yourself to stick to your exercise regimen.

Lisa, 32, a copywriter, relates: “I was never into exercise and led a sedentary lifestyle. I was thin anyway so I thought I didn’t need to exercise. Then gradually I began to put on the pounds. I was worried and scared, because my body was changing and it wasn’t a good change! So I decided to sign up for the gym, just so I can go back to my former weight.”


BOOST SELF-MOTIVATION WITH VISUAL TOOLS.

To help motivate yourself, use regular exercise as a stepping stone for greater and more fun things, and use visual tools to remind yourself. Want that Halle Berry body? Set her picture as our computer desktop’s wallpaper to remind yourself of how hot you’re going to be in a few months’ time if you just stick with it! Want to be as healthy and fit as someone several years younger than you? Put up posters of marathons you may want to run once you’re in shape and ready to take on hardcore physical challenges. Enjoy the endorphins that bring a smile to your face after a good, hard workout? Make sure to look in the mirror while you cool off to help yourself remember how you look when you’re satisfied with yourself for doing a good job.


REWARD YOURSELF.

Think about this: if you exercise, you can eat whatever you want (but in moderation, of course). Figure out what you want to reward yourself with if you exercise. A shopping spree after some noticeable weight loss to find clothes that’ll flaunt your sexy new bod, a day at the spa to relax your aching muscles, or finally being able to eat that last, sinful slice of chocolate cake... the possibilities are endless! Just remember that you are exercising for something. Always have a goal, no matter how immaterial or seemingly shallow it is, and focus your energies on it.


MAKE TIME.

A lot of women say that they’re too busy working to hit the gym or exercise. Try to let go of that excuse now. Even if you are the busiest person on earth, you can still squeeze in some time for exercise. Some examples are taking the stairs instead of the lift or going for a walk during your lunch or coffee break. You can also check what desktop and/or work activities you can incorporate into your daily routine at TheOfficeDiet.com. Even doing seemingly mundane things like your chores can help you burn calories. You just need to do the research and find out how you can make your schedule work for you. Going on a shopping trip? Make sure to try on a lot of clothes—simply the act of getting out of one outfit and into another one is exercise, if you do it enough times.


CAST AWAY YOUR FEARS AND APPREHENSIONS.


Don’t be dyahe about exercise! Every exercise beginner looks and feels awkward at the start, so consider it a rite of passage you have to go through. And be patient. The benefits of exercise are long-term, so if you don’t see any changes (yet) during your first month, don’t let that discourage you. People with to-die-for figures don’t get magically toned—they work to get hot, and they work to stay hot!

If you’re nervous about not knowing how a certain piece of equipment at the gym works, don’t be afraid to ask. Who knows? That gorgeously ripped personal trainer may just decide to help you out with your weight training. Exercising at home? There are countless exercise DVDs for sale—and if you’re on a budget, there are even videos you can stream over the Internet to show you the proper way to do the exercises you want to try.


exercising_excuses_main_2.jpgTAILOR YOUR EXERCISE TO YOUR INTERESTS.


If the thought of going to the gym bores you to death, think of other rigorous activities that may appeal to you. Maybe you want to try something fun that you can do with your friends, such as Ultimate Frisbee or badminton. If you’re easily stressed or your job is just that stressful, you might want to check out yoga and Pilates since these will restore your inner Zen. Do you have a list of must-watch TV shows for every night of the week or prefer to read in the evenings after work? Invest in a stationary bike or a treadmill that you can set up in front of the tube so you can burn those calories while watching the elimination rounds of American Idol or while devouring that hot-off-the-presses book you’ve been waiting to read for ages. Like to shake that booty to a bouncing beat? Maybe buy yourself a Dance Revolution set for your house. Speed-date your way through all possible sports and activities, and you’re sure to find something that matches your personality and interests.


(Photo sources: woman jogging, sxc.hu; woman meditating by Alex Bramwell via sxc.hu)

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