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My Elliptical; My Nemesis

58 comments | December 11th, 2012

(by Mir)

When I was a kid, I had terrible asthma. I mean, really terrible asthma—trips-to-the-ER-for-nebulizer-treatments-when-I-got-sick, rescue-inhalers-for-any-time-I-ran-too-fast kind of terrible. It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever heard of Pavlov that I quickly came to associate exercise with feeling awful. Exercise-induced asthma will do that to you. (And hey, it looks like I told you about this once before!)

Fine, I’ve already talked about how exercise started out making me feel like I couldn’t breathe, and even now that my asthma isn’t quite so vicious, I still bear the lingering “but I can’t do this” sorts of doubts. Exercise does not come naturally to me. I don’t like being sweaty, and I just haven’t found any exercise that I really enjoy. “Oh, I just LOVE running/cross-fit/cycling/yoga!” my friends say. I never love any exercise. I like swimming, kind of, but mostly I like just floating around in the pool. Possibly I am missing the exercise-love gene. Mostly I am happy if I find some sort of exercise I don’t actively hate. When my crazy exercise-loving friends start yammering on about “endorphin highs” I strongly suspect this is an ongoing joke meant to trick people like me into exercising, and really it’s all a hoax.

And you know, that strategy of avoiding pointed exercise worked for many, many years. I was fairly active (on my feet a lot sort of active, not running marathons active), and I was thin, and I was young. Now I sit at a desk a lot and I’m not as thin as I used to be and my mother was right, diamonds are forever but good metabolism is definitely NOT.

Enter the elliptical machine. We bought it off of Craigslist a few years ago when I became determined to Do Something and Get Fit or die trying. I would love to tell you that it was all about boosting my health and self-esteem and such, but really what had happened was that my favorite jeans became unbearably tight. And that sucked.

So there I was, armed with the knowledge that shallow was deeper than me, with a brand new elliptical parked in my bedroom. For a dogged period of about six months, I got on that cursed thing at least three times a week. I would turn on the television—it didn’t matter what was on, only that something was there to distract me from the knowledge that I was pedaling to nowhere because I lacked the resolve to give up ice cream—and pedal, pedal, pedal.

I hated every minute of it.

What I did not hate was the ten pounds I lost, or the definition that appeared on my upper arms, or the bevy of compliments that came my way, or shopping for new, smaller clothing. I didn’t hate any of that at all.

Somehow, my time with the elliptical tapered off. Life got busy, there were other things I’d rather do, and my jeans still fit, so… meh. Why get on the stupid thing if I didn’t have to?

It took well over a year… probably closer to two years… but guess what! Those ten pounds I lost seem to have found me again. In fact, I think they brought friends. I cannot IMAGINE how this happened, what with the excellent year my family has had, and all of that coping via food (“all my feelings taste like Nutella!”) I did. It’s a puzzle, for sure. Ahem.

Every morning I get up and look at the elliptical. Every morning I decide I have “too much work” and I need to get to my desk. Every morning I reason with myself that I need to get on there for the RIGHT reasons, like that I want to be healthier and develop good habits for life, rather than just ZOMG YES MY BUTT LOOKS BIG IN EVERYTHING, ALWAYS. I use the fact that my motivations are shallow to keep me off the damn thing, because I shouldn’t be so worried about how I look, right? But I am, because I don’t feel like myself (myself apparently feels smaller than my current size), and yet I’m completely annoyed with myself both for not exercising AND for caring about a few extra pounds.

I am an enigma, wrapped in a conundrum, twisted up in cerebral slug. You’re welcome for that visual.

The elliptical is the only method of exercise I’ve ever been able to stick to for any period of time, so it stands to reason I should just get over myself and get up on it as soon as possible. On the other hand, I am still sort of holding out hope that there’s some exercise out there that I just love and that fits into my hectic schedule and delivers that mysterious endorphin high people keep insisting is a real thing. And then on the third hand, if I had one, would be this troubling issue of how I only ever care about exercising when I feel fat (and rationally I know I’m not fat, I’m just… soft). And then I feel like Hey, I’m not going to exercise because of society’s ideals about my body! I’m a feminist! But the truth is that I’m a feminist who is unhappy with the status quo here in my jeans.

Basically, I’m having trouble finding the “Body Acceptance” and “Healthy Habits” buttons on the elliptical. Weird, right?
Any former reluctant exercisers out there who can help me find my mojo, either in terms of viewing this process in a healthier way or in just getting off my ass and getting to it?

(For More Mir)

58 comments

  • Rachel

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    Hmmm. Personally, I like classes because if I can get myself into the correct room, then it becomes someone else’s job to motivate me. But I’m guessing that won’t do it for you. So. For the amazing Mir, I suggest 1) making Otto or Monkey drag you out for walks (or even better a nearby girlfriend) OR actually schedule your own elliptical time on your calendar about a week out. So for seven or so days, you can prepare your mind…. On Tuesday at 8:17, I’m going to be on that thing. And I’m gonna stay on it until 8:19 (Oh yeah… also start small – 2 minutes today is better than zero. You can work your way up to more time each day.) Good luck and keep us posted!

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    • Brenda

      Posted on December 11, 2012

      I try to tell myself that five or ten minutes five times a week is better than zero, but I’m such an all or nothing thinker that I feel like it’s not worth it if I don’t go at least 30 minutes. And I rarely have the energy for that, so I do nothing.

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  • MomQueenBee

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I’m a lot older than you are and have shared your exercise aversion all my life, until a year ago when I decided I had to have a no-excuse policy. If I get up and go to work, I get up early enough to exercise for 45 minutes. No excuses. Not that I was up too late, or that someone wants to snuggle, or that the bed just feels sooooo good.The only excuse that lets me avoid the elliptical is a fever high enough to keep me home from work. Will I be able to keep this up forever? I don’t know, but I hit my one-year anniversary the day after Thanksgiving, and that’s about nine months more than I’ve ever kept it up before. Good luck!

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  • Liza

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I also hate exercise. I liked martial arts classes for a year or so in college, but that’s about it. And swimming, slowly, floating in the nice warm water.

    But in 8/2011, I was at my peak not-pregnancy-related weight, and I was miserable. And WW had a 3 months for the price of one trial deal for their online tools, so I didn’t have to worry about cramming a meeting into my schedule, or carrying around a little notebook.

    Slowly, over the last 15 months, I have lost 30 lbs, on a goal of 42. This August, a small group of my internet friends and I started a challenge. Completing one month of a modest challenge got me started. I added a second one the next month, and a third the next. Then my mom told me she had a goal of balancing on one foot at a time for 3 min each by her 70th birthday in June. Mom is the most fit person I know. I laughed at her and said it was the most boring goal I could imagine, and she should go for something big.

    To my shock and discomfort, the words, “Do you want to run a triathlon with me?” came out of my mouth, and worse, she agreed. :)

    We are still finalizing the plans, but we’ll either be doing a late June or mid August tri. Or maybe both! (And I’m assuming that the training will help me kick those last 12 lbs to the curb.)

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  • Jean

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I think I am missing that same gene Mir! All of my friends…”I Love yoga…zumba is such a high” blah blah blah….all BS to me. I am not a class person. I am not coordinated (as in I cannot learn these stupid dances that are trying to make me healthy and I will crash and/or injur the person next to me if you keep making me do this). I love walks, I love to take my weiner dog for walks (she gets very excited to which is its own motivator), but alas I live in the Northeast and it is cold/dark (or any other excuse you can think of) to take walks before or after work.

    That being said, at times in my life, joining a gym worked for me. I signed up for 1 or two sessions with a personal trainer, just so I could have some type of clue what type of machines or exercises I should be doing, then went at it on my own. And you know what? It worked! Then gyms became an expense I couldn’t afford. However, there are quite a few gyms now that have a month-to-month very low cost (like $10 a month). One of those is set up in my office building so I joined. Walking by it every day helps to motivate me. But gyms seem to be my secret. Lots of variety, plus for those days where I don’t have it in me, I can just hit the treadmill with my ipod and walk for 1/2 hour.

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  • Cathy

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I hated it for awhile, but now I really love running (even though I’m not very good at it). Here are the running pros for me (they are different for everyone, I know):

    - I can do it whenever it fits in my schedule
    - I don’t have to pay a gym membership to do it
    - Every now and then I can do a 5K and people will actually cheer for me to just exercise AND I get a shiny medal at the end
    - Machine exercises are not as effective as non-machine exercises (i.e. running outside will burn more calories than on a treadmill, free weights burn more than weight machines, etc.)
    - I can put some good music or audiobook on my iPhone and have ME time while I run
    - If I am just not feeling it one day, I can walk instead and not feel like anyone is judging me

    To be honest, it took me about 2 months to start kind of liking running, and a couple more to feel like something was missing in my day if I skipped a run. This is because I am lazy and really only like to do things I am naturally good at (and nothing exercise-like is on that list).

    Hang in there – you will find something that works for you that you can at least kind of enjoy. And fitness is such a vital part of being healthy that if the only way you can get motivation is to look good, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. If looking good makes you feel good, then don’t worry about society. You’re still doing it for you.

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  • Cheryl

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I’m 42 and have spent my entire life hating the idea of exercising. In my early 20s I’d backpack around Alaska, but that was more because I had places I wanted to go and backpacking was the only way to get there. In September I took a look at myself and how woefully out of shape I am and started lifting weights and walking at my local YMCA at 5:30 am. I always thought I would be a person who needed to be able to work out at home, but I’m always too busy to use the Wii Fit. By setting my alarm to get up and work out, and physically going somewhere that won’t give me tons of distractions of shiny stuff or chores I *have* to do right them, I’m actually enjoying my fitness routine. In 2 1/2 months I’ve lost over 20 lbs and 2 bra sizes.

    I always thought of weight lifting as something macho guys did but it has made a huge difference in how I feel. And after I do my reps in the circuit room, I’m energized enough that I want to walk the track. So maybe having a place to go or trying something like that would help you too?

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  • Erin

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    The father of a good friend of mine, at the ripe old age of 85, exercised every day up until he was physically unable due to cancer. The man, as busy as he was with his insurance business, community involvement and family obligations, always found time to exercise. When asked how he was able to fit it in every day, in a society that is full of “I don’t have time” excuses, he said simply this “I put it on my schedule and treat it like any other appointment or meeting. I wouldn’t skip a business meeting that had been scheduled, so why would I skip my exercise.” It’s amazing how that has changed my view of “fitting it in”. Good luck!

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    • Cathy

      Posted on December 11, 2012

      Erin, good for him! I primarily work with the elderly, and NOTHING keeps them physically and mentally sharp more than regular exercise. And generally, the younger they were when they started, the better shape they are in now. Your friend’s father is absolutely right!

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  • Lauren

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    For me this is the same issue you wrote about yesterday on woulda. It feels like an overwhelming task, to start exercising/get healthier/whatever, so I just don’t start. Not a great plan, but there it is.

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  • RL Julia

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    Exercise is just a habit like any other. Find something you can stand doing, understand that you will absolutely completely hate every minute of it for at least three weeks and then just mildly resent it for months afterwards. So focus on the positive – the endorphine rush you get (or don’t), the results, give yourself a (non-edible)present for making a goal whether it be weight goal or a time goal. Basically cater to the toddler part of your brain and try to make exercising the thing that you do where you get the rewards/pats/praise that you want and pretty soon, you might not stop hating or resenting it but it will become a regular enough part of your life that you miss it when you don’t (which is really the key). I have been riding my bike to work for years now – and logged in 2,000 miles last year alone – my present? I get to brag about it incessantly and without shame – now why don’t you see if you can elipitcal to Paris or for a culmulative 24 hours on your way back to your favorite jeans.

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  • StephLove

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I am a reluctant exerciser. I enjoy swimming and do laps once a week when I can, and I ride a stationary bike, which I don’t particularly enjoy, but is conveniently located in my house (and I can read the newspaper while I do it). I manage that 4-5 times a week. I don’t find I lose weight when I’m doing it faithfully or gain when I lapse into inactivity. I keep at it to the extent that I do out of faith it will make me healthier even if it doesn’t seem to affect my weight. The time I’m most likely to abandon exercise for weeks at a time is the summer when the kids are off school (I work at home) and time to myself is at a premium.

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  • Nelson's Mama

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I hit the big 5-0 a few months ago and desperately need to get in shape, but I loathe working out.

    I started taking meds for migraines a few years ago and keep dropping weight, which is so weird. I’m at my lowest weight ever, have a chicken neck (so attractive) and am so out of shape…

    Being an orthopedic frequent flyer is such a GREAT excuse to not exercise ;-)

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  • Mrs. D.

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I am a former non exerciser who used to weigh 225 pounds. Today, I weigh 150 (still trying to get to 140!) and regularly work out a minimum of 4 days a week. I have worked out regularly for 2 years now and cannot imagine living life without fitness. It’s true that eventually it does become habit – but that doesn’t mean you should force yourself to do things you don’t like. I own an elliptical, but I hate it and use it maybe twice a year. What I have stuck with for 2 years are the workouts I like to do – jogging and circuit training with weights. I love trainer Chris Freytag and her workouts. What helps keep me motivated is setting goals – NOT weight or size goals – but progress goals. Jogging faster or further. Moving up to the next sized dumbbell. That sort of thing. I also have a great group of like-minded friends on FB and we communicate regularly about fitness and set our own challenges for our group. Nothing like a good challenge to keep me motivated.

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  • My Kids Mom

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I like routine. If the yoga class is routine, I will stick with it. (And I do.) If the weights and cardio with a friend are routine (and we always go to *bucks afterwards) then I’ll go. But when the friend is busy I don’t go. When that happens a couple of times, the routine is gone and I no longer care. When my pants get too tight, I begin to care again, but it takes a lot of umph to get me to restart once I’ve quit.

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  • Ali

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    Pretty sure “All my feelings taste like Nutella” is the best thing I have read all day. Now officially the way in which I will be summarizing my emotional eating from now on.
    My secret failure is my loving husband…the one who can eat like a household of 18 year old boys and retain a 32 in waist by going for a run a couple times a week. He will join me somewhere and hand me popcorn, ice cream, etc. My insecurity (if I think I’m fat and tell him so, he will suddenly realize it’s true and leave me in disgust) keeps me from asking him to help me by stopping the behavior! Or so I tell my therapy clients! The irony is not lost on me.

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  • Therese

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I have discovered that I really HATE walking as an exercise! I have a treadmill which collects dust and spiders in my family room, and I really don’t care! But I have also discovered that I LOVE Zumba and yoga! I take two Zumba classes a week and do yoga at home three times a week. But that works for me because my kidlets are all grown and out of the house. Maybe try a class–you might destress just being away from the house a little bit :)

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  • MamaChristy

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I love the YMCA and I really don’t like exercise. It’s more expensive than other gyms in the area, but it’s SO friendly. Everyone is encouraging and I’ve made real and true friends who enjoy food and notice when I’m not at the gym. Not that they judge me when I’m not there – they just want to make sure I’m okay and let me know that they like it better when I’m there. :) And weights are super for those of us who don’t like exercise. BodyPump might give you the high you have been missing, but you MUST decide that sore muscles are a way to feel alive. I believe in you, Mir. You have weathered so much, this is something you can do and control and you CAN do it. XOXO

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  • Jess

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    Peer pressure. Seriously. I am a profound introvert with social anxiety issues and a chronic illness, and I exercise at least three times a week, because my family does it, too.

    The reason I started exercising was that my four year-old wanted to take karate. About a year later, I was still sitting in the back of the class watching, and one of the black belts (who had become a friend by that point) said, “Seriously, you know the curriculum because of practicing with your kid. Why not take classes?” It took me a good six months after that–did I mention I don’t like change–but now that four year old is ten, and all three members of my family are black belts. I don’t go every day, and sometimes I just feel like crap and skip for a week at a time, but the martial arts class has little rewards (skills learned) and big rewards (new belts) as well as people I like. The fact that everybody else in my house is doing this motivates me to go as well.

    Plus, recently my mother jokingly threatened to strangle me if I made a poor decision. I said, “Hey, I can take you!” And I can. ;)

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  • Addy

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    No magic formula here. I tried all sorts of things until I found one that fit. Just me and the weights and a few machines. No classes, no trainers, no work-out buddy – just me. 5 years and counting so far. “just keep swimming” you will find what suits you. And BTW the reason you start to exercise is not nearly as important as the reason you continue to exercise.

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  • Genevieve

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    What works for me is having something I look forward to that I do when I exercise. DVDs I watch when on the exercise bike, and then I pause where I left off and the next time I watch it is the next time I get on the bike — especially good for things that are suspenseful. Wanting to know what happens next, or laugh at the next part, helps me get out of bed early enough to do it (sometimes). Also I watch chick flicks or cheesy movies then that the rest of my family won’t want to watch too.

    Wii boxing is great, because you get to punch. I didn’t think I’d like it, but it is very therapeutic to punch the heck out of that bag (or the Mii opponent, though that’s harder b/c you also have to duck). And I work up a huge sweat doing it and get out of breath — never thought it would have such a cardio effect. (This should remind me to remind the husband to please set the Wii back up now that the TV has moved rooms.)

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  • Laura

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I’m also a reluctant exerciser. When I was young, I never played a team sport or got used to breaking a sweat. I read books. I came to exercise in my early twenties for the shallow reasons, but it didn’t stick and I let it slide when I became busy in my career. Then after my daughter was born, I realized that my life is marching toward its end (which sounds more depressing than it feels) and I can choose to feel good or feel crummy while the years go by. I trained for a sprint triathlon this year, and maintained the swimming fitness when it was over. I go religiously three days a week at 5:30 for a swim, but I’m not fanatical. If I feel lazy, I get out of the pool at 20 minutes instead of 30 and sit in the hot tub. Exercise makes me feel better, stronger, and calmer.

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  • js

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    My husband and our wedding was my exercise motivator. If motivation means I lay in bed for the first ten minutes of an hour-long work out, find things in the house that must be done for another ten minutes and then bitch the whole rest of the time about how much I hate the P90X guy. This leaves about a 20 minute actual workout but I’m doing it. My husband lost 40 lbs, the jerk, so I’m hanging in there. I turned old this past year and my same-weight-since-high-school pants don’t fit anymore. None of them. At all. My “fat jeans” are now my regular every day pair. Not letting my stomach stick out farther than my chest keeps me going. And also setting a good example for my kiddo blah, blah, blah. I hate exercise but at least with P90X, I can do it in the comfort of my own living room…in my PJ’s.

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  • Brenda

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I loathe exercising. I never feel a rush of endorphins, only relief that I won’t have to feel guilty for 24 hours. The only physical activity I actually enjoy is swimming, but I don’t have access to a lap pool, so I never do it. I hate to work out in front of people because I’m self-conscious about my body even when I’m not sweating and panting and jiggling all over. I’ve had a few rotten experiences where exercise has been linked to shame in my mind, so it’s just easier not to work out. I have a Gazelle Freestyle glider in my apartment that mostly just blocks the path to my dresser.

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  • Sharon

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I like walking, which was not a problem when we lived in a city and I could walk everywhere and do my errands at the same time. When we moved to the woods I needed to do something else, so we bought a treadmill. I don’t hate it but it’s not like walking and accomplishing things at the same time. My answer has been to watch shows and movies I don’t take time for otherwise: Netflix and DVDs. I don’t feel guilty for the investment because the treadmill was long ago paid for and I’m not paying for a gym membership or classes. I do feel different/out of shape when I take a break from exercising. It’s hard to get started again but, like taking medicine, I know it’s good for me.

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  • Sally

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with exercising because you feel fat and would like to feel less fat. Having shallow motivations doesn’t make it any less healthy. I exercise to be skinnier, too. That’s the main thing I like about exercising.
    Can you put a tv in front of your elliptical? Maybe choose one of your favorite trashy shows and make a rule that you can only watch that when you are also on the elliptical.
    I used to hate all exercise, but somehow, I became one of those people who love crossfit. I know, annoy myself, too.

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  • Barbara H

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    *waving from my identical boat*

    I started running a little over a year ago (couch to 5K program, could not run for 30 seconds without gasping) and then I set a wildly improbable goal of running a marathon next year. I completed a half marathon at my 1-year running anniversary (I was slow, but, hey, I didn’t have to get the time engraved on the medal or printed on the t-shirt!).

    So maybe a crazy out-there goal would help, with little goals along the way, eat the elephant one bite at a time. Well. Not an actual elephant. Unless it’s covered in Nutella.

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  • Alice

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    Goo luck, Mir! I find working out to be a tiresome chore – similar to cleaning the toilet. I don’t like doing it, but I prefer it to the alternative. What’s worked for me has been a combination of the following:

    - Decoupling working out from losing weight. For me, it’s part of a larger Health-at-Every-Size approach, but even for other folks I’ve talked to who are working to get smaller, weight is a tricky goal, since it gets influenced by so many other things besides working out. At this point, I want to work out because I’ve seen what old(er) age is like when you start from a more in-shape baseline and a less in-shape baseline, and I want to avoid the doctor as much as possible. :)

    - Having appointments to work out, but not being too rigid. I do 3 days/week, and especially when I’ve been away from things for a while, I’m flexible with what happens within that 30 minutes of ‘activity’ (if my body feels like crap, that can be 10 on the elliptical and 20 of stretching / light weights, or whatever. But I can’t reclaim the 20 minutes to read, or work, or do something fun. It’s got to be body activity of some sort.

    - I adore working out at home, but I know other people who need the motivation of a workout buddy, a gym membership, a physical trainer, etc. Even if it’s someone you call and you both bitch about working out while you’re sweating miles apart from each other, sometimes it helps to not be alone.

    - Giving up on endorphins. I felt them once – I was 11, and running from some annoying boys on the playground. I get why they’re an awesome motivator for those who feel them, but after decades of no repeat performances, I’m not holding out hope.

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  • RuthWells

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    For me, the only thing that really works is leaving the house for a class. We have a mini-gym in our basement (bike, free weights, weight machine, stability balls, etc.) and I never set foot in it. I have to actually leave the house or it doesn’t happen.

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    • Mir

      Posted on December 13, 2012

      I think that may be the conclusion I’m heading towards. There’s too many other things I can do here, plus if I get on the elliptical and feel crappy after 5 minutes, who’s going to see me stop?

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  • Katie K.

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I have never stuck with any kind of exercise until I took a Pilates class. I think I stuck with that for about 3 years! It doesn’t make me sweat, which I hate. I actually felt good after the classes, but about a day and a half later I felt really sore, so I know I was getting a good workout. When the YMCA wasn’t in the budget anymore, I did quit, but I still miss it. Now I get a 4 hour workout each day because I started working at a big home improvement store stocking shelves in the mornings 6 days a week. I don’t feel guilty about not exercising anymore!

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  • Anna

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    If I had all the time in the world, I would spend my exercise dollars on crunch videos, ballet, pilates, etc. Aerobic, but not die-trying hard.

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  • 12tequilas

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    It might help if you can load up an audio version of a book that you have been wanting to read (or even one that you already read and loved), and decide that you are only going to listen to it while on the elliptical. I look forward to cardio when I’m in the middle of a book and really want to know what happens next. Around here (D.C. metro area), one can “borrow” audio books from the library collection straight from the computer, and while the computer copy “returns” itself when it’s due, the copy on your iPod will stay until you delete it. Easy and free.

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  • Dee

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    Pilates classes. They go slowly, and yet they are a workout. If it’s a class, you have a commitment to fit it in. And they can accommodate for previous injuries, so you won’t hurt yourself.

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  • Celeste

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    Nope, I hate exercise. Always have. I never thought about the fact that I am asthmatic and pretty much lived in an oxygen tent when I was a child (the hospital gave us one to take home!).

    What happened? My daughter isn’t old enough to drive and she wanted to try yoga. I took her to the class and was planning to wait while she took the class. They offered me a free one. She lost interest after 3 classes and I found it helped my hip and shoulder pain like nothing I’d ever done. It even helped my bad ankle. It’s a type of yoga that’s very gentle called Triyoga. I only go once a week for 90 minutes, but if I miss a week, I’m miserable. It helps my stress levels too.

    I’m very uncoordinated, so it’s a surprise to me that I’ve never had a spasm or fallen on my head during class. For that, I give credit to the class, not myself.

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  • ccr in MA

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I wish that there was any “former” about it, but I am really a reluctant exerciser, period. I basically started (this time) to shut my doctor up about how all my problems would be solved if I would exercise and eat better and lose weight (perhaps I am a little sensitive about this). I am riding the exercise bike because I have one, but I hate it so, so, so much. The only way I can stand it is by knitting while I ride, and these days the only thing that gets me on it is that I want to know exactly how long it takes me to knit a sock. There are worse reasons, right? I think as long as you have a reason, whatever it is, if it works to get you moving, it’s fine. Good luck!

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  • Brigid

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I love to play softball, so as soon as 10 or so of my friends get that organized, I’ll be first in line to play. I started the Couch 2 5K right before Thanksgiving and was doing so well. “Was” being the key word. I was even working ahead! And now it’s been a week and I’m piling on the excuses. Today I started to clean my office instead of heading out for a run. No advice from me, just a lot of shaking my head in agreement.

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  • Brigid

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    Er, wait. Nodding my head in agreement. We nod yes and shake no or is it the other way around? I always get that backwards.

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  • bryan

    Posted on December 11, 2012

    I loathe exercise, and if you see me running, it’s because there’s a zombie or grizzly bear behind me. One thing that I am starting to do this very week is get to bed at a reasonable hour (before midnight). I’ve always been a night owl insomniac, so this is huge for me. (Melatonin is my wonder drug.) I’m amazed how much better I feel after 2 days. I’m hoping that helps with weight because there’s a correlation in some studies. My next step is to start walking. I live 3 blocks from my sister, and there’s no reason to drive to her house. But I do it. No wonder I am at all time high for weight.

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  • el-e-e

    Posted on December 12, 2012

    I know from experience that just ONE workout will get me going again, and “excited” to exercise (as excited as a reluctant exerciser can be)… but it is always SO hard to do that first workout again. I like the treadmill in the gym. I can walk if I’m feeling lazy, or run if I’m feeling sassy. And watch TV either way. WIN!

    My best time of day is the lunch hour because of my day job, but sometimes when things get busy (like this time of year) and I have lots of errands, I let it slide by the wayside. :(

    I feel you.

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  • Brigitte

    Posted on December 12, 2012

    I was good at working out on my vintage NordicTrac regularly, until it was evicted from the room I found it most convenient to work in, hubby started blaming his asthsma on my housekeeping, and expecting me to rake in money on Ebay. Ugh.

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  • Elle

    Posted on December 12, 2012

    I started working out cause of stress. Lots of yoga and hiking growing up, but being so uncoordinated, I lost all of that fitness and more. I was in such a bad state my ears were permanently blocked up cause my shoulders were so high up, and there was/is still so much pressure in my neck and shoulders that I was becoming a hunchback at 25.

    So my aunt convinced me and we started going yoga once a week.

    Then, I was still having pretty major panic attacks, my depression was only getting worse, and I thought I was going to have to go on a cocktail of meds. No fun. So I read up on my mental crap and found that cardio exercise, or elevating your heart rate for 30 minutes 3 times a week is as effective as most SSRIs. I joined a gym instead of getting prescriptions and a year-and-a-half later, I’m doing a lot better.

    The weight loss has definitely just been a bonus now, since I can get out of bed with a lot less regret/anxiety and other crap now!

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  • Sarah

    Posted on December 12, 2012

    I am a runner, but I really don’t understand about the “endorphin high” that people talk about. I kind of like running because it keeps me in cupcakes, but after I run 5 miles, I am tired. Running a lot makes me want to take a nap. If I exercise in the morning I am NOT more awake and alert the rest of the day – in fact I am more tired. This whole “it makes you feel better” thing is true in that I am healthier, but all those other feel better things are myths for me.

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  • Monica

    Posted on December 12, 2012

    Sorry Mir I’d love to help but I’m afraid I’m stuck at the same spot you are. I wore skirts and sundresses all summer and a couple months ago when I tried to put on a pair of pants again I was shocked to discover that slothing my way through summer caused me to gain 10lbs and make my jeans not zip.

    So I’m wearing a bodyfit armband and hoping that the inability to lie to myself (that walk to the store was totally my workout for today) will help keep me on the straight and narrow.

    I’m watching the comments avidly hoping that one of your other readers has a fabulous idea for both of us.

    There are some good ones so far but they seem to rely a distressing amount on willpower and I’m not so good at that for anything for myself.

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  • Amy

    Posted on December 12, 2012

    I also hate exercise. I don’t mind hard work (once I get going–I don’t like anticipating future hard work), but I feel like it’s a waste of activity if I’m not accomplishing anything. Which is idiotic because I know perfectly well that what’s it’s accomplishing is a healthier me. I’ve tried yoga classes and enjoyed them, but not enough to put my foot down and declare that I’m going to be out of the house every Tuesday evening. I went through a short phase where I announced I was going to climb our local (small, easy) mountain at least once a week. But that fell to the wayside too. Recently I’ve decided that I should at least start each day with a sun salutation, but I haven’t gotten past that point of just thinking about it yet. But I’m getting frustrated that I’m probably the heaviest I’ve ever been and I think my legs are not as strong as they once were.

    A year ago my sister felt pretty much the same way, but then she got sick of her fat ass and started a couch to 5k program. Then she lost a whole bunch of weight and actually ran a 5K. And then another one. And she looks awesome and feels great and is motivated to go to the gym regularly. I think aliens took over her brain. ;)

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  • Lora

    Posted on December 12, 2012

    What works for me is meeting a friend at the gym (or for a walk), because the accountability helps as does the company. If I go solo to the gym, then I bring a book to read on the recumbent bike, or good upbeat music or an audio book to listen to. Makes a huge difference!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted on December 12, 2012

    I hurt my knee in middle school, limped for 10 years, this is all starting to make sense now…

    I swam. Several times a week until about a year ago when I had a mole biopsied twice and couldn’t go for a month. I started going because I was embarrassed on a vacation that I couldn’t swim the 100 yards to the floating dock without stopping to catch my breath, plus my weight. I kept going because it was the only thing that made those muscles stop aching. ;) I started small, 5 minutes at first, because I was so out of shape. A few months in, I kept going because I could just zone out and not think about anything except my stroke and kick.

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  • Angela

    Posted on December 13, 2012

    I, too, hate exercise. I’m in my early 40s and it seems all my friends run and do marathons and races or tris. I just can’t get motivated, even though I’m also “soft”. I sound like you – I used to have “one of those good metabolisms” and I ate my way through pizza and chips and beer until my first pregnancy in my early 30s and then everything changed. I’m still “thin”, I know, to the outward eye, but my body is definitely growing more than I want. I have had that elliptical for a few years in the back room wtih the TV And DVD player and I LOVE it. I KNOW I need to get back on my elliptical bandwagon – running makes my hip ache so I can’t do that, and I’m not a joiner so I hate classes. Plus, I’m cheap. I do like the “Ripped in 30″ DVD from Gillian Michaels though. I highly recommend that – you just need a couple sets of weights (I like 5 and 8 lbs) and 25 minutes a day. You will get sweaty though, so factor in time for a shower! And if you are really motivated, you can climb on the elliptical for another half hour. You will notice a difference, especially in your core (aka ABS!) and upper arms. I can never stick with it for the full 30 days though – my best is 20 days, and then I quit and start over a month or two later. :)

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  • Another Laura

    Posted on December 13, 2012

    I hated exercise with a passion until I hit my peak weight about 7 years ago and decided to end the malarkey. Over the span of about a year I dropped 70 pounds. I have kept up the excercise for 7 years. SEVEN! (I think it’s safe to say the change is permanent!) I was a total slug up to that point 7 years ago and I hated anything that would cause me to even break a sweat. I can’t say where the change came from exactly, but my motivation is most likely to be found in a family history of obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol etc. When I was getting the “warnings” from the doctor at age 29, I knew shit was about to get real and I didn’t want to go down our “family path.” So guess what? I’m not. Actually, I’m going down the marathon training path…hah! If you had told me 7 years ago that I would even consider such a thing I’d have told you that you were nuts. Sometimes we just have to start, and the motivation finds us. Sure 20lbs did creep back on during the 7 years, but I managed to creep them back off. I find that working out with friends (in my situation we meet up for runs and train for races) is a huge motivator. Now instead of meeting for coffee we meet for excercise. One day I made a random comment on facebook and somehow our group of like-minded women has grown out of that. We keep each other motivated too. So when you say you were an excercise hater and a slug “waving my hand” me too. You just need to search until you find what works for you. If you are as Type A as I am, once you have paid an entrance fee for a race (or event of your choosing) you are going to train the bejezus out of yourself because no way is that money getting wasted! I think training for an event is a great motivator and training with friends is even better. Or maybe a good motivator is setting an example for your kids. I came from a long line of sedentary types and had to blaze this trail on my own.

    Ok, that was long winded. Hmmm…is this a topic I’m passionate about?

    You can do it. All you have to do is start. :-) Goodness, if I can do it, anyone can.

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  • A third (!!!!) Laura

    Posted on December 13, 2012

    I have anxiety issues, and didn’t know my stuff wasn’t normal until recently. Exercise is my answer to that — it keeps things calmer for me internally, I’m more even-keeled. I get out of the house three times a week to go do yoga, I meet a friend of mine there every time, and I just …. do it.

    I think getting out of the house and having someone do it with you are big, to make it stick as part of the pattern. Also, my friend and I go get tea after yoga every time, and yes, it kind of adds up, but it so makes me feel like it’s worth it.

    Lastly, even though I know you’re accident prone, have you considered something like indoor rock climbing, where you’re trying to get somewhere and sort of competing with other people? My husband and I enjoy doing this together, and it’s fun.

    At any rate, I wish you the best! It can be so hard to start, but for me, it’s been really worth it.

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  • Rachel

    Posted on December 14, 2012

    Weight lifting. Seriously. I too thought I hated exercise, but it turned out that what I hated were (1) sweating (2) huffing and puffing and (3) not seeing immediate progress in my fitness.

    So the good thing about weight lifting if you do it properly (heavy enough weights that you physically are unable to lift them more than 10 times in a row without a 2-minute break), is that you don’t break a sweat (or much of one), you don’t get out of breath (because it’s not aerobic exercise) and you improve super quickly (like, every time you go to the gym you can lift more, at least for the first few years).

    Also, it’s the only exercise I’ve found where if you are doing it seriously, you are SUPPOSED to spend more time having breaks (between sets) than you are actually exercising. Yet the increase in your metabolism continues even in the breaks and for up to 36 hours after exercising. That’s like free exercise points just for sitting down! And also, you are SUPPOSED to not exercise for more than about an hour, or more often than every second day, otherwise your muscles don’t rebuild themselves fast enough and you don’t get stronger.

    Enforced breaks, no sweating, lots of progress, beautifully toned body… what’s not to love?!

    PS: Pump classes or anything else where you are encouraged to lift small weights many many times with no breaks don’t count. That’s cardio and endurance work, not weight lifting.

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