When it comes to working out, I am a life-long, shameless couch potato. There are no two ways about it. I hate running, I hate going to the gym, heck—I hate wearing shoes that aren’t flip-flops. Last month, I posted about the benefits of exercise on grief and mental health. I wrote that post because it was a good kick-in-the-butt for me. Just before that time, I joined a gym and committed myself to eat better. If you don’t know me, it's probably hard to understand just how insane that was. A good friend called me the week I joined and, when I told her I couldn’t talk because I was walking into the gym, she asked me to repeat it twice because she couldn’t process that I would be walking into the gym. Seriously, I don't work out. Ever.
Now, it has only been about three and a half weeks that I have been going, so I certainly am in no position to be anyone’s personal trainer or inspiration. But, I have managed to go to the gym every day except one since then, which for me is unprecedented. To keep myself going, I am definitely feeling in need of another kick-in-the-butt... so I decided to use today’s post to keep my inspiration up and to (hopefully) help one or two of you who have been struggling to start being active or to keep up with working out and eating well. Because, let’s be honest, grief and exercise are usually a tough combo. Grief often sucks us into the couch, usually with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. So today, we present you with 64 Tips for Keeping Yourself Inspired to Eat Well and Get Moving!
1. Remember: The measure is how you feel, not the number on the scale.
2. Find a gym that works for you. Consider location, class offerings, cost, etc.
3. Watch Extreme Weight Loss for some inspiration. Holy crap, do they work out hard on that show!
4. Get some workout clothes you actually like.
5. Learn about grief and overeating. Throw away the junk food in your house because, as they say, out of sight out of mind.
6. Put on your gym clothes before you leave the office. It's just embarrassing to drive home in your gym clothes and not actually stop at the gym.
7. Practice mindful eating. Learn to be thoughtful about and savor food.
8. Go for a walk, even if it's just around the block.
9. Get a Fitbit or Apple Watch and challenge yourself to a daily step goal.
10. If your excuse is you don’t have time, get up an hour earlier to workout.
11. Splurge on expensive healthy foods that you like instead of going out to eat.
12. When you have no motivation, tell yourself you only have to move for ten minutes. Chances are once you start, you’ll want to keep going!
13. Eat small meals and/or healthy snacks regularly, so you're less likely to binge when you do eat.
14. Take the dog for a walk.
15. Keep a workout DVD in the DVD player, so it is easy to press play and do it.
16. Write down all your excuses and a response to them, so you will be ready to respond to yourself when you are talking yourself out of working out. For example:
If you think you don’t have time...
- 17. Remind yourself that ten minutes is better than nothing!
- 18. Tell yourself you can get up 30 minutes earlier or stay up 30 minutes later.
- 19. Make a list of all the times you could exercise that you may not have thought of (e.g., during your lunch break, during your kid's practice, while watching TV)
If you think you can’t afford to join a gym...
- 20. Think of all the free ways to exercise (e.g., take a walk, go for a hike, do a workout DVD, run up and down your stairs, take a bike ride)
- 21. Review your debit card statement. Was there enough spent in coffee, eating out, or other purchases that could be re-allocated to a gym membership?
22. Always carry healthy snacks with you.
23. When going out to eat, check the menu online first to decide on a healthy option.
25. Keep your goals in your fridge and pantry, to give you pause when you are mindlessly grabbing a snack.
26. Cut back on your alcohol. It's better for you, and will help you feel better in the morning to get up and workout.
27. Stop paying the kid down the street to mow the lawn. Mow it yourself. It's a great workout and it has to be done!
28. Think for a few minutes about things being limited due to poor health, then put those gym shoes on!
29. Post or Tweet about your lack of motivation to work out and seek some encouragement.
30. Find a workout buddy. It’s an old cliché, but that is because it works!
31. Make a workout mix full of motivating music. Put it on to get you pumped up on days you are struggling with motivation.
32. Just go! Stop letting being tired be an excuse. Just get yourself to the gym and chances are, once you’re there, you’ll feel better.
33. Stop drinking soda, juice, sweet tea, etc. Stick with water!
34. If you don’t love water, get a soda stream so you can have seltzer whenever you want.
35. If you don’t love water or seltzer, add lemon, lime, fruit slices, mint, cucumber, or basil to your water to add some flavor.
36. Remember why you started working out in the first place, and how much better you feel now than you did before.
37. Put your workout clothes right next to the bed. Put them on as soon as you wake up if your plan is to work out in the morning.
38. Do something light, like an easy/beginner yoga class or video.
39. Call a friend to get some encouragement and motivation to get moving.
40. Join a walking/running/biking group or club. That group accountability works!
41. Schedule some sessions with a personal trainer. Though it may be costly, they can help you get the most out of your work out and help with accountability.
43. Take it one day at a time. Don’t worry about working out every day. Just worry about getting a workout in today!
44. Take it one meal at a time. Don’t worry about eating perfectly for every meal, just worry about eating well for THIS meal.
45. Don’t let one slip up ruin your efforts. If you slip up and eat poorly, just get back on track for your next meal. Don’t fall into the “I’ll start again tomorrow" trap.
46. Reward yourself. Set goals with rewards if you hit them. Get a massage, a manicure, buy some new workout clothes, or whatever other rewards work for you.
47. Find a friend to keep you accountable. Even if they aren’t working out with you, find a friend who will check in with you every few days for a report on how you have been doing.
48. Don’t go to the grocery store when you're hungry... You will inevitably buy junk food that you don’t need.
49. Use an online food and exercise tracking tool. It can be an eye-opener as to how many calories you are eating.
50. If you don’t have time to cook healthy meals, look into pre-made healthy meal options.
51. Think about those who don’t have the opportunity to workout, due to health or other limitations, and appreciate that you can by getting moving!
52. Don’t let yourself go to bed without doing something, even if it just walking up and down the stairs ten times.
53. If you have a Fitbit or Apple Watch, don’t let yourself go to bed until you've hit your step goal... even if you have to walk around the block a few times until you hit it.
54. Workout during all your favorite TV shows. Either watch them at the gym, or get a rebounder, stair stepper, or treadmill that you can use when your favorite shows are on.
55. Keep variety in your healthy meals. If you stick to the same options, they get boring and you may be more likely to splurge on something unhealthy.
56. Everything in moderation! Don’t deprive yourself of all your favorite foods, or you will be more likely to binge. Allow yourself the foods you love in moderation, every now and then.
57. Expect setbacks. No one is perfect. You will miss days at the gym, you will splurge now and again. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
58. Put on music and dance!
59. Keep some motivational quotes on your phone, fridge, desk, mirror, or anywhere else that may inspire you!
60. Check out your local farmers' market and explore new fruits, vegetables, and healthy foods that you may not have tried before.
61. Stick to the outside of the grocery store, not the middle aisles. This is where you will find whole foods, rather than those with chemicals, preservatives, sugar, and other such junk!
62. Remember that you can’t take care of other people if you don’t take care of yourself.
63. Park in the very back of every parking lot.
64. Enjoy the last days of summer with some water sports. Go swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, etc.
How do you motivate yourself to be active, eat well, and keep moving in grief? Leave a comment to let us know.
We wrote a book!
After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief
for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible,
What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.
You can find What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss wherever you buy books: