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True Life: I have bad exercise habits.

As I typically provide some notes regarding my health and lifestyle amidst my food indulgences and tastes, I would like to clear the air on one of my biggest battles. I do not have an exercise routine. Nor have I developed any habits over the years which would help to boost my lifestyle towards a ‘picture of health’ like the one featured here—that’s not me, by the way. But I liked the colors.

In a last effort to defeat the seasonal depression aforementioned (in my last post), however, I have decided to finally join the other side and create routines and habits which will result in more physical activity. Physical activities—as we all know—tend to release endorphins, which make us happy and promote a healthier lifestyle. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion and all those good things to say with unidentified speakers and such. In the past, I have worked in the service industry and was so physical at work, especially around the holidays, that I did not take any steps toward being active outside of work. This year, however, I am not working in retail or a restaurant and I am seeking some movement in my daily life.

I’ve been practicing yoga semi-regularly for the last three years and have become addicted to not only the feeling of being stretched out, but the complete quiet in my mind when I go into final meditation. Unfortunately, I’m not addicted enough to go every week but, fortunately, there’s a studio less than ten minutes away from my house that offers yoga twice a week for $5/class which is amazing and unheard of. The young yogini who teaches the classes is wonderful, insightful and ultimately mindful of her students. I tend to get myself to go to a class at least once a month, so I’m not completely melted into a chair, the couch or my bed. Yoga is sort of a commitment, as I have found that when I take too much time away from the mat, I am almost back to square one when I return and I have to rebuild much of the flexibility, balance and strength I had built up. When I’m going to yoga regularly, I’m happy and I’m calm, I feel a sense of peace between my body and mind, and I’m more observant and receptive of the environment around me. So, as a part of this attempt to build a healthy exercise routine, I am going to be including a yoga class at least once a week.

In the meanwhile, I’m going to let Mike convince me to join a gym near us. Mostly it’s because he gets a free month of membership if I sign up and because this month they were offering $0 down and $0 until January. How could I object? Plus, he’ll usually be able to convince me to go and spend some time exercising with him and won’t let me give up early because I’m tired or don’t feel like it. When I’ve gone through brief stints of exercising regularly, it’s always been because I felt good, but I’ve never had a gym membership and I’ve never stuck to a routine. The gym membership will force me to use the opportunity for exercise and provide an excuse to spend time doing something productive with my boyfriend, rather than drinking or watching endless hours of movies and sports—not that there’s anything wrong with that.

In the cold it is important to stay warm and to stay active. I’m getting a little too old to be so careless about my health and well-being. Taking some steps toward a better lifestyle overall during a more difficult time for activity seems like the right move. Exercising in the summer is usually easier because it’s appealing to be outside and the idea of being active is more welcoming in warm sunlight. Challenging myself to be more active when it’s cold and dark outside should (hopefully) encourage the habits to stick. And for good measure, to keep myself honest, I’ll be tracking my exercise using my FitBit—which I own because of my issues with developing healthy habits—and I’ll have to give a report in about a month regarding how often I’ve gone to the gym or taken a yoga class. This tiny pink clip-on device will be my witness and I will only be able to prove what she has tracked of my activity. Including, but not limited, my calorie intake vs. my calories being burned off by physical activity.

And so, with this promise I have made with myself, I will offer you to try and do the same this holiday season. I have learned that our gym, Retro Fitness, has a mobile app by which I can create and track goals, enter challenges and earn rewards points. The contest they’re running for December is geared towards working off those holiday calories. C’mon, let’s be honest, the holidays are delicious in November and December, but they’re also loaded with sugars and fats that we probably don’t need. So I’ll be forcing myself to indulge moderately,—compared to my usual binges—seek healthy alternatives, and get to the gym or yoga a few times a week. And, just in case you didn’t know, Retro Fitness is a large chain of gyms that are all over the country. If there’s one by you, maybe give it a shot and join me in the holiday challenge!

In the meantime, feel free to comment with any tips, questions or notes of encouragement. Any and all will be greatly appreciated.

Until next time,

Food Snob

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