going to the gym

Don't be "tricked" into joining a gym

I hope you all had a happy and haunting Halloween. 

Speaking of Halloween hauntings, the upcoming holidays that follow Halloween often spook us. 

A candy overload on Halloween leads into a turkey explosion on Thanksgiving. We latke and Christmas cookie our way into a Chrismahakwanzakah feast. Just in case that wasn't enough, we top it all off with a night of drinking champagne before we ring in the new year. 

Once we finish wearing sexy ghost costumes, our "healthy lifestyles" fly into a tailspin. 

It doesn't help that everybody is repeating this too. I swear every local news story covers "holiday weight gain." It's usually right after they show you the "best" cranberry sauce recipe. 

When I was more disordered, this dread of food that I was going to lose control over was extremely intense. 

I remember one New York Sports Club (NYSC)  advertisement that was scarier to me than any zombie. I can't remember the exact words. It made it sound like failing to join their gym was sealing your fate for holiday weight gain. 

Frankly, it was brilliant advertising. It hit me in all the right places. It tapped into my innate fear at the time (gaining weight). It made me want to do something about it (join a gym).  More than anything, it celebrated the most eating disordered thought: 

 "I'm going to be better than everyone else."

That's fucked up, right? Well, it's at the heart of a lot of eating disorders. It's part of the reason that you can't hear it when people say, "Don't worry about it. I'm eating the apple pie."

Iliza Shlesinger talks about this in her comedy special on Netflix. She says, "It's not enough to be skinny is it? It's not enough to be thin. You have to be the thinnest out of your friends."

So, when your sweet and loving friend offers you a slice of pie, you think. "Well, sure you look good. But, I want to be thinner."

I'm pretty sure I bought a NYSC membership that year. And that sucks. 

Not just because they messed up my credit card on file (I ended up overpaying for my 3 months of membership). It sucks because people shouldn't be afraid of gaining weight (especially during the winter). People shouldn't want to be better than other people. 

If you want to go to the gym, that's fine. If you don't want to go to the gym, that's fine. 

You can still exercise without hating it

You can still EXERCISE without hating it. 

Last week I talked about why you hate going to the gym. Focusing on weight loss, turns out doesn't actually help you go to the gym. 

 Focusing on the process instead of the end goal can help a lot

"Being healthy" or "just feeling like you can walk a mile without getting winded," is still an end goal. 

Which is why "lifestyle change" doesn't necessarily work either.

Here are some tips:  

1. Think about what you ACTUALLY ENJOY doing. 

Go ahead make a list of 20 things you like doing. It can include Netflix. Or crafts.  I'll wait. 

*Pro-tip: Nobody is reading this list except for you so you don't have to write things that you think I want to see.

2. Does anything on the list include some form of movement? 

Movement doesn't have to be running, hiking, or swimming. Is it stretching? Is it standing? Is it having sex? 

Boom. You like exercise! You're welcome. 


3. Is there anything you like about "exercise?"

Making the switch from going to crossfit 4x/wk to just gardening and going for walks can be scary. 

Especially since we feel like we SHOULD exercise. 

So, let's say you're one of those people that thinks you're going to literally die if you don't go to the gym.  

There's also hope for you. Just because you HAVE to go doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. It doesn't have to be a torturous experience. 

Now write down a list of things you like about going to the gym. 

Again, I'll wait. 

Does it clear your head? Does it change your mood? Do your muscles feel all juicy and awesome? Do you see your friends? Do you get the runner's high? Do you finally get some time to listen to your favorite podcast or Discover Spotify playlist? 

For example, I like ellipticals. They are silly and I can usually comfortably watch television while on one. 

So, there you go. 

Instead of exercise. Have a ball.

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