Good morning, and Happy Wednesday! The second best thing about a three day weekend is the shortened week, if you ask me. Not only do you get an extra day off, but you get one less day of work. I took Sunday off from exercising, pretty much, but on Monday, I was forced against my will to pile into the car with various dogs and kids, and take a walk on the beach. I had been feeling achy and depressed, a side effect, I’m sure, of the shitty gray weather we’ve been having here. I just wanted to stay in bed and watch HGTV (this is my new obsession- watching home renovation shows. It makes me feel like I am doing something, even when I clearly am not) but my ex, who was here hanging out with our daughter, insisted that I get my ass in gear.
I’m glad he did- about two minutes after we got to the beach, the sun came out, and it felt good to get some fresh air and stretch my legs. It was exactly the boost I needed, and when we came back to my house, I spent the next two hours giving it a serious, and much needed cleaning- which brings me to my next point. Did you know that you can actually count house cleaning as exercise? On my fitness pal you can. You can even choose between “light” and “heavy” cleaning, to get a more accurate idea of the calories you burned. Of course, it’s up to you to decide which one it was, so you have to be as honest as you can, for your own sake…but still! How cool is that?
Over the past few years, I have really started to learn about all of the stuff that one needs to know when starting to get healthy. I’ve picked up information here and there, slowly, over time, and I continue to do this even now. It has only been over the past few months, however, that a cohesive picture has finally started to form- there are a few basic principles that come up again and again that form the solid foundation on which all other things are built. I’m sure you know them: Drink lots of water, eat less processed food, and more fruits and vegetables. Mind your portions. Exercise daily. Get enough rest. Basically, that is it, in the barest of bare bones ways.
If you are like I was, though, at the beginning of this whole thing- when I really understood that I needed to start taking better care of myself, I still had no idea what that meant. I didn’t know what a portion looked like, or how to exercise, beyond walking my dogs. I wouldn’t have known a healthy, well balanced meal if it had slapped me in the face. And to top it all off, I was terrified of going to the gym and trying to use machines I was unfamiliar with, making me look like a fool. I was scared of the classes, too, that everyone would know what they were doing except for me.
I think an important first step in all of this is familiarity and information. If you are like I was, and you are too scared to try anything new at the gym just yet, that’s fine- I would suggest that you pick three days a week to go, and go on all of those days, until the gym doesn’t feel so scary anymore. When it starts to seem more normal for you, you will feel more comfortable trying something new there. You might even feel okay with asking someone who works there to show you a few machines you can use to add to your routine- I know that sounds way out there, but that IS what they are there for. Hahaha. At least, that is what I finally told myself to convince me to ask for help. As for the classes? Find a friend to go with you. There is power in numbers. And yes, you will probably look like an asshat…but you know what? Everyone there is so busy craning their necks to try to see what in the hell the instructor is doing now, they aren’t paying attention to you. I promise.
Do you know what I just discovered, like, in the past two weeks? There is literally any kind of exercise video, for anything you could possibly want to do, for any length of time you want to do it, on YouTube. I am not kidding. If you want to do a ten minute yoga warm-up for beginners, just type it in- it’s there. If you want to do ANY conceivable type of thing, I am pretty sure you can find it.
This is, truly, the age of instant information. If you have a smart phone (and I know you do) then everything you need to know to start off on a journey to lose weight, get in shape, and be healthier is seriously at your fingertips. If you want to track your calorie intake and exercise, you have My Fitness Pal. If you want to get an idea of what portions should look like- google it. Google ANYTHING, you will find your answer. If you need some inspiration, duh, Pinterest. Make yourself a board. If you want to find a community of vegan chefs ( I don’t, this is just the first thing that popped into my head) hit up Instagram, and search for Vegan Chefs- there, you will find pictorial evidence that delicious (looking) vegan food does exist, and in quantity.
Don’t let the mass of information overwhelm you- instead, let it inspire you! With a little patience and some discernment, you will be a tofu imbibing yogi in no time flat…or, at least lose a couple of pounds and find out what spiraled zucchini “noodles” taste like. And with that, I am off- time to get to work. Take care, and remember to do what I am trying so hard to do myself- HAVE FUN. This isn’t supposed to feel like a nightmarish chore, it’s supposed to be empowering and uplifting. If it isn’t, try something new. There’s probably a YouTube channel that will support this theory. See you Friday!