Take that next step in your obesity care journey
- Get timely answers to questions and concerns.
- Develop relationships with healthcare professionals.
- Avoid traffic, parking, and waiting rooms.
This may sound like an obvious prerequisite, but it is always important to ensure that you talk to and be cleared by your care team to safely begin exercising.
While exercise has been shown to provide a myriad of health benefits, your care team will make sure your body is prepared to tackle some physical activity that may be more intense than what it is currently used to performing. In the event you have any limitations in what you can participate in, your physician will also be able to let you know prior to starting a routine.
Now that the logistics are out of the way…
I can already picture what you are saying now:
“How do I know I enjoy ________ if I’ve never done it before?”
Choose something you enjoy the idea of doing and you think you can stick to on a regular basis.
At the beginning, it’s very similar to test driving a car—it is very likely that you will try a variety of different activities until you settle on a few that you enjoy doing. If you try lifting weights and it’s fairly miserable, but you try out a dance aerobics class and you love it, scrap the lifting and sign up for the classes! While a combination of strength and cardio activities would be great, building a foundation of consistently exercising is step 1.
Also, don’t be afraid to try something that is a little bit out of your comfort zone! You may find your favorite new activity that will make you think, “I wish I had discovered this years ago!
When choosing these activities, consider how they will fit into your schedule and block off time slots in advance so you know there is time designated for this new habit! It doesn’t matter how much time you set aside—even a 10-minute workout would be a great start to get the ball rolling.
When you first start your exercise journey, you may have a really ambitious final destination you want to reach.
However, think about this final destination as a skyscraper.
How do you build a skyscraper? One brick at a time.
Each day you exercise, you’re laying a brick on the foundation, and one day in the not-so-distant future, you’ll look up and see a skyscraper.
So, when you set your primary goal and attach a time frame to it, consider setting up a series of smaller goals in shorter time frames along the way to help guide you to the final destination.
For example, let’s say your main goal is working out four days per week. Your smaller goals could look like:
Your smaller goals could look like:
Once you start applying this concept, you basically make a series of action steps to cross off one by one on your way to the final destination.
You’ve set a goal of starting to exercise. Now, the key is making sure that you stay on track and show up consistently.
Let’s face it, we all have days where we don’t want to do something that we said we would do.
This is where accountability can come into play, because now, the goal is not just your own.
Many people find the first way to keep themselves on track is to share their goal with a trusted family member or close friend.
By sharing this goal with someone else, you now have someone else involved, which may motivate you to continue to perform the activity you chose, even on the days you may not want to do so.
Another way to do so is to ask your friend or family member to participate with you! Having a workout buddy means that you’re not just showing up for you—you have someone who also is working on a similar goal that you are showing up for, helping to motivate you.
If you decide you’d rather keep the goal private, consider keeping yourself accountable with a journal or logbook. Write out the workouts you plan to do and check each of them off as you complete them. While it may not seem as intensive as the aforementioned methods, there’s still built-in accountability present here.
Moral of the story: accountability will be CRUCIAL in keeping you consistent as you begin!
You’ve probably heard the saying, “an object in motion stays in motion,” and this is similar for exercise.
After you’ve gotten the clearance from your physician to participate, picked out your activity, set your goal with a time frame attached, plugged it into your calendar, and gotten an accountability buddy, the next step is putting the plan into action!
That’s it! Go out there and make it happen!
From here, remember that if you aren’t a huge fan of the first activity you try, don’t fret—there are plenty of other options to try until you find the ones you enjoy the most.
The goal here is to ease into exercise, not rush to the finish line. There is no race here, and taking things at your own pace is the best way to win. To help you feel more at ease, you can always have that day’s workout game plan written down so you know exactly what you are doing and exactly what to expect.
Should there be a day where you aren’t feeling very motivated, take a second to think about how amazing you will feel after the workout has been completed—how much more energy you will have, how great your body will feel, and how great it feels to stick to what you set out to do, versus the disappointment you will feel by not sticking to your goal.
Remember, everyone once started on day one, and with some time, consistency, and sweat, before you know it, you’ll be able to look back at this day and see how far you’ve come.
Talk to your doctor before starting or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.