By Cami Checketts –
I love the fresh autumn air! There’s a feeling of starting again, becoming organized, finishing up those projects it was too hot to do all summer, eating homegrown produce, getting on a schedule, and hopefully fitting an exercise routine into that schedule.
As most of you know, I had a baby last month. Being on a schedule is still a bit out of reach for me, but once I hit that six-week postpartum mark it’s time to at least attempt some semblance of organization, revisit my former life and hopefully someday fit in those old jeans (it is horrid to still be wearing maternity clothes after the baby is born!).
But getting back into an exercise routine is not easy. I’ve been shocked by how painful it is. When you’re in shape and exercise vigorously, it hurts but it’s a productive, feel-good kind of hurt. When you’re out of shape and/or recovering from something, this exercise-induced hurt is a miserable, I-want-to-sit-down-on-the-side-of-the-road-and-call-my-husband-to-come-get-me kind of hurt. I keep promising myself, and I want to promise any of you who are just starting out, that it will get easier. Someday it will feel good to push myself again. But how do you get to that point?
Motivation – First of all we need the motivation. That part seems easy to me. I’m very motivated to lose the pregnancy weight, to fit into my clothes again, to feel good, to be healthy for myself and my children (most especially my baby who gets all his nutrients from Mom right now). There are plenty of reasons or motivators to get into shape and eat healthy, but if you’re like me I’m gung-ho in the morning, but by mid-afternoon I’m justifying why I need some cookies or ice cream. “The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41 KJV). So how do we keep that motivation strong in our minds and get through the tough times when exercise hurts or we don’t have time to fit it in… or we really, really need a slice of chocolate pound cake?
Promises – I make promises to myself. If I work out four days a week, I get to sit down on Friday afternoon and read a good book (if I can talk the boys into it). If I hit my water goal every day, I can get specialty lemonade on my Saturday night date. If I eat five fruits and veggies each day, I can have a treat (because if I say, “absolutely no treats,” the entire family suffers).
Deals – Another thing that really helps me is to make deals with other people. Promise your friend that you’ll meet at the gym or go on a walk each morning. If one of you flakes, you have to take your friend to lunch or she has to babysit your toddler for a few hours. Husbands work great for deals. When I hit my “normal” weight, my husband has money set aside for me to go shopping for new clothes. (If I could just figure out where he hid it!)
Help – Turn to the source Who cares about you in all aspects of your life. It’s not wrong to pray for help and strength to be healthy. The Lord wants us to take care of ourselves and feel good; doing so means we can serve and love His other children more.
I hope that you can all enjoy this beautiful time of year and that you will use my suggestions for positive motivation to improve your health in some way.
Cami Checketts is a wife, mother of four boys, exercise scientist, and author. Her latest book, The Sister Pact, is in stores now. www.camichecketts.com