Q: How did you get started? I mean the motivation. -Kristi, on my Facebook page
A: First of all I love questions, so if you have one, ask! It helps me think of things to write about.
I’ve heard a lot of different reasons people give for why they decided to make a lifestyle change and lose weight for good. Some people have an epiphany. Sometimes they have a shocking moment where they find out their weight, or they need to go above a particular size, or they are diagnosed with a lifestyle-related disease like diabetes. Some people see themselves in a picture and think “Who is that person?” and that sparks the change.
None of those things happened to me. I knew I should lose weight for a long time and vaguely thought about doing it. In the years before I finally got on the right path, I bought a Wii Fit (and used it maybe three times), vowed to lose weight for a friend’s wedding (and ended up gaining instead), and tried to diet without exercise on my own (losing 20 pounds and gaining back 40). My heart just wasn’t in it. It was just so much easier not to do it. There’s always tomorrow. Maybe next week. After the holiday.
At the end of 2009, I accepted a job transfer from Massachusetts to Phoenix, Arizona. One of the first things I thought was “If I move to Phoenix, I am really going to need to lose this weight. The desert is too hot to be this big.”
Honestly, that was the closest thing I can tell you to what prompted me to really want to do it. So when I found a place to live, I made sure to get a place as close as possible to my office. I ended up reducing my commute time from 30-40 minutes each way to 5-10. I told myself I would use the hour gained to work out. One of my normal excuses was that I didn’t have enough time. So I made myself time. If I used to spend this hour sitting in traffic, that meant I didn’t need it for other things. It was mine. I took this very seriously.
At our place in MA, my boyfriend had a weight room. Before we moved, we reduced our worldly possessions to the bare bones. We shipped 5 boxes via Fed-Ex, and drove cross country in a car with 2 cats. (I think I actually gained 10 pounds on that trip, eating fast food for practically every meal- and eating way too much because sitting in a car that long is so boring.) We got rid of as much as possible because it was too expensive to move 3000 miles. Needless to say, the weights didn’t make the cut. We talked about it and decided to sell the weights on Craigslist and join a gym together in AZ.
Have I mentioned my boyfriend loves to work out? No doubt this has helped me immensely countless times.
We arrived the day after Thanksgiving and joined a gym mid-December. You might think it would make sense to “settle in” before taking on a new workout plan or weight loss adventure. But I remembered reading that if you wanted to quit smoking, change a lot of things about what you do. Don’t go to the same coffee shop. Don’t sit in the same chair in your living room. Do other things differently as well. I thought this would apply to any change you want to make- if I started going to the gym before I got used to being in Arizona, I wouldn’t slip into an old lazy pattern. I made my hour work for me.
I have belonged to gyms before, so it wasn’t all that uncomfortable for me. We didn’t work out together, but we drove to the gym together after work about 4 days a week. I can’t say I liked it. In fact, I hated it and it was pretty torturous for quite some time. Working out sucks when you’re out of shape. But I stuck with it. I lost weight, slowly but surely. Calorie counting sporadically and exercising regularly.
I don’t think I really started to feel that internal motivation until much later, about a year into it. Before that, it was just me pushing myself to do what I knew I should but didn’t want to. I told myself to be an adult. Adults have to do things they don’t want to do- like go to work and pay the bills. Because an adult is not a little child with no self-control who cries when she doesn’t get her way. I threw a couple of temper tantrums with myself, but I kept going.
After one year, I felt like if I had stuck with it this long, I could do anything! That’s when I felt that real “This is going to work, I’m going to make it!” feeling.
I guess it was just the right time. I wanted to do it more than I didn’t want to do it.