Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Making Exercise an Enjoyable Experience

Heya friendcicles--

So I asked my dietician last week if I could resume exercise – it’s been, oh, 9 months since I’ve been allowed to use my gym membership (and NO I haven't done the math or calculated AT ALL that 24 Hour Fitness has gotten $270 from me FOR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING). Since I have reached my goal weight, (can I get a resounding HELLS YEAH!) I thought it reasonable that I be allowed to exercise, as long as I ate enough food to compensate for energy expended while at the gym. My dietician said that it was okay with her to resume exercise as long as it was okay with The Almighty T…and I knew that it would be a much harder feat – convincing the T I am ready for the added responsibilities of exercising.

So yesterday during our sesh I asked her, and she said that she had been doing research, and she knew that especially with my asthma and low functioning lungs; (seriously, I'm, like, half-dying all the time) exercise could really help strengthen my lungs and help them function better, and she really thinks exercise could be really great for me. HOWEVER (and that’s a BIG however) she said that she was really concerned because every time I’ve been allowed to exercise in the past, I’ve eventually gone downhill and lost weight and gone into Eating Disorder La La Land, and she was concerned that it would happen again, and she was hesitant because I’ve been doing so well, and she doesn’t want me to lose all the fantastic progress I’ve made.

So she said that before she gives me the green light to perspire it out at the gym, she wants me to write an assignment and talk to her about all the ways in which I used exercise in an unhealthy manner and for my ED in the past, and then what I can do this time to make it different – you know, make it a healthy and positive experience rather than it turning into Gestapo Brie forcing my poor body to run 20 miles on like 300 cals or something equally ludicrous and abusive.

So here’s where you come in:

Do ya’lls have any ideas for me, of ways I could make exercise more fun and less demanding? I have a few ideas…namely, I’m not going to focus so much on cardio, but try to incorporate weight lifting and yoga, etc.

But I know there are plenty of you out there who have been in my position, and I’d love if you shared your ideas and experiences of how you overcame this particular hurdle and made exercise fun and healthy and enjoyable. Ideas or encouragement would be muuuuuuuch appreciated.

Thanks and loves to you all.


Lindsay said...

I'm a huge fan of Jillian Michaels' movies. She has tons of different ones that are different lengths, etc. I like them because she focuses a ton on being healthy vs losing weight, and she doesn't put up with crap so I feel like it's actually worth my time. :) Happy exercising.

alison said...

One of the things that has helped me reign in my exercising and enjoy it more is having a specific goal with a specific set of workouts to accomplish. For example, I have done the Couch 2 5K program 3 times now, and I've come to enjoy running. I trust the people who put that workout plan together, and am able to relax and do it. If I am responsible for coming up with my own workout plan, I stress and push myself too hard so that it's no longer fun. Good luck!

brie said...

thanks for the suggesions - and lindsay, you know i'm a fan of jillian michaels ANYTHING! haha

Cammy said...

What about finding active stuff you can do with Cade? It would be fun, get you some exertion, but with him as a checkpoint you wouldn't push and make it unhealthy or extreme. Maybe biking, swimming, going for nature hikes?

Ms. Jess said...

I recently started working out and I love the powerful feeling I get from lifting weights and doing push ups and other core strengthening exercises. I feel so RAWR about life when I work out. It's a great way for me to vent frustrations healthily. I also really ejoy yoga for the calming experience.

Eating Alone said...

I just joined a 24hr center and love it! I love the classes (Yes I'm going overboard a little) and I think that you might want to try ONE of them. Mine has a yoga class and Zumba class. Either of those could be really fun and the Zumba gets you moving but it's for a limited time 45 minutes with a 15 minute ab program. That might work.

Strenght training might be ok but find someone to do it with you. Watch out that you don't do too much or do it obsesivly.

Sorry channelling your RD.

Anonymous said...

Alright you're going to have to be a little open-minded about this one... but have you ever tried pole fitness? Best workout I've EVER had and it's SOOOO much fun.

Check out the gym's website:

or my blog about pole dancing (I'm just a beginner so I can't do anything too fancy):

Seriously though I've never had a better upper body and core strength work-out... And in under two months I've already started to get visibly toned muscles!!!

Anonymous said...

Try new things you've never tried before! Those that get you moving, get you outside, and keep you away from machines and numbers. Unless the numbers are coming from some aqua-aerobics instructor while you try not to laugh hysterically at the old ladies trying not to get their hair wet.

Baby-jogger walks or wagon-pulls or whatever with Cade. In a park! To ice cream! You can refuel while you're having fun and moving!

Hiking. Nature. Fresh air. Quiet. And you still get to go home and sleep in your bed that night.

Zumba. Or yoga. Or pilates. Things that don't necessarily require mirrors but connect your mind to the movement of your muscles. I love yoga, and the Y where I take it has zero mirrors in the yoga room. I have friends of all sizes that love Zumba. Pilates let me discover muscles I didn't even know existed.

Kettlebells. Whole body. I've heard great things about them, too. Cardio plus weights in one go, with no "calories burned" digital flashing lights, just the sweat and amazement that your body expends such energy in such a seemingly small amount of time.

Aqua Aerobics. Really. It's hilarious. Laughing at self and others. Plus, making friends with the old ladies is pretty awesome. They always have great stories, and like to feel "cool" like the "young kids."

Best of luck! It would be a terrific challenge for me to separate eating disorder from my athletic training. I truly enjoy training for races and training to accomplish goals. Fortunately, I have people that help me keep those goals achievable, so as long as I keep eating, I can keep running. The work continues on the "unattainable" goals I set for myself...

Katherine said...

You're in perfect "outdoor world." How do you feel about hiking? rock climbing? rafting? (obviously the next few can't happen quite yet, but soon enough!) skiing-downhill or cross country? the snow tubing park in PC? If you haven't tried one of those, do it! If you think you dislike one based on the past, try it again-you're in a new phase of your life, maybe you'll like it now?
What about joining a kickball or other sort of fun team? Tennis? Rollerblading? What about your beautiful bike?! Has she gotten to come out and play lately? Long boarding?
Even stuff like playing Rock Band or Dance Dance Revolution can be a workout when you get into them (and I know you do..!)
Umm, hello! SHOPPING!! You'll be walking, lifting, squatting to try on shoes and getting cute new things to show yourself how much you love your new body (practicing acceptance and enhancing positive body image)! Yes, I truly can justify almost anything ;-)
Okay, that is pretty much all I can manage right now. Oh wait, what about getting all your family and kids together and playing capture the flag or red rover or tag or something like that?
Okay, done for reals. Hope at least one of those ideas helps!

Heather said...

What about NIA? Bahaha, sorry... I couldn't resist. I try to do things that feel more like hobbies to get exercise rather than just plugging away on a cardio machine. Hiking, outdoor biking, swimming... I just recently started rollerblading (totally circa 1990, I know... but it's really fun)!

The more I enjoy the activity, the less I think about weight and calories. I pretty much steer clear from certain types of exercise that I did in my eating disorder because it can be triggering and also difficult to not abuse. I hope this helps... I'm proud of you for asking for help and wanting to find balance!

Keely said...

I was SO BURNT OUT of just running on the treadmill. I hate exercise. So I decided to find new things to try. I just took swimming lessons this past summer (and LOVED it!) I never even considered it before with the whole body image/wearing a swimsuit dilemma. But now I have a whole new way to exercise that is new and exciting to me.

My suggestion: Try a new activity and add some spice to your workout. Choose something that preferably isn't attached to a calories burned o-meter... :)

Hilary said...

take some sort of class. that way it's social and you can't overwork yourself without it being suspicious. like dance or a martial art. good luck!

Just That ZombieGrrl said...

Let me preface this by saying that not only do I avoid working out at all costs (other than swimming or theatre practice, which is a HUGE workout), but I also advocate people being as physically lazy as possible and leaving the workout to the brain/eyes.

However, I think an exercise buddy (someone who exercises in a positive way and who does a variety of fun exercises/classes/activities) could be helpful -- you can take cues from them about what is a reasonable amount of time/difficulty/effort, and she (or he, for that matter) can help you read your body language by carrying on a conversation, which would help you identify if you're having asthma issues or anything.

Maeve said...

Cammy already beat me to it, but I was going to suggest active things that you do with Cade. I'd say that the things the two of you could do together would be best since his energy would help to regulate your patterns (kids may have heaps of energy, but at the end of the day they have short legs and aren't going to let you run 20 miles without at least 5 ice cream breaks per 10 minutes :-)

You could also try and find a friend or someone to workout with you. Someone who could make it fun so that it becomes about the social rather than obsessing over the numbers on the machines. You also then have someone to go to Starbucks with after your workout to help make sure you don't get a calorie deficit.

Between the ideas others have given you and your own ingenuity I'm sure you'll be boosting your lungs and basking in the glow of healthy exercise in no time :-)

Anonymous said...

Brie, you aren't going to like what I have to say, but I'm gonna say it anyway ;)

Get rid of the gym membership. There are so many ways you can move your body without being in an environment that can be as triggering as a gym. Equipment that tracks calories burned or comparing myself to other people are the two reasons I CAN'T go to the gym. At all. Nada.

Ride bikes or walk with Cade. Go rock climbing with your sisters. Join a local tennis team or kickball team (I did - its actually a blast!). Take a pole dancing class (not kidding, if they offer them in my tiny town they have to be everywhere!).

I hope you don't mind that my first comment is telling you what not too do. I've been reading your blog for awhile now and love it and I'm thrilled that you've made so much progress... I would hate for you to do anything to jeapordize how far you've come.

Peace, health, and wholeness to you.


Amanda P said...

I think you should take all that money that 24 is getting and invest in your own exercise equipment at home. All the other women around huffing and puffing leads to comparison. Which, lets be honest, isn't ideal when you are just trying to take care of yourself.

Will said...

tennis with your hubby, biking or soccer with your baby boy. always good to get your body moving but sort of forget the health reasons behind it by doing something fun!