NSV: As it turns out, I DO enjoy exercise!

Break the routine with the 7daymeal plan

32/f, 5'7", started at 242 pounds, currently 231. In addition to exercise, I'm tracking my calories and mostly sticking to a limit of 1800ish/day (without exercise factored in), making better food choices so that I can get full without going over, doing 16-18 hour intermittent fasts most days (which is pretty easy for me since I've never been a breakfast eater; also helps me stick to the limit), as well as shooting for 100 oz of plain water every day. I started doing this about two weeks after I began exercising and that was when I noticed my number on the scale start to go down appreciably. My goal is to not just lose fat, but to get strong, agile, fit in a healthy and sustainable way.

On February 4th of this year, I worked out for the first time in a shamefully long time. I've been overweight for years, and even during the times in my life when I wasn't overweight, I certainly wasn't fit. My entire life, I've hated exercise. Nothing about it was enjoyable to me, certainly not as enjoyable as vegging out on my couch with Netflix or reading in a hot bath. The times in the past that I'd attempted to get into exercising, I'd do it for a few days, take a day off because of soreness or whatever, and then never start again. I'd tried going to the gym, doing at-home workout videos, going out for walks or bike rides… all of it was like torture to me.

So, my first goal was simply to make exercise a routine that I could stick with. I started with the Jillian Michaels Beginner Shred because the videos are only 25ish minutes long, and even though they are pretty high-intensity, the shorter time made it MUCH more palatable for me than having to commit, say, an entire hour. For the first couple weeks, I didn't allow myself a true "off" day; instead, I'd do some lower-intensity cardio, like Zumba Gold (Zumba for seniors; Jen Burgmeier on YouTube has a few videos up if you're interested) or a low-impact Denise Austin routine, and focus on not pushing myself too hard.

Eventually (2-3 weeks in), I had to take a couple days off due to a minor family emergency, and did get right back into it afterwards, which was a victory in and of itself. Around that same time, I noticed my endurance and ability had improved appreciably. Also around that same time, I noticed that Jillian wasn't doing it for me anymore: I had progressed to the second of the three routines in the Beginner Shred, and while I was happy to be progressing and to be able to do the more difficult variations on some of the moves, I was just plain sick of it. Several of the moves had become just.so.fucking.tedious. It was annoying. I was NOT looking forward to it. So I started looking to other workout videos on YouTube, and changing things up DRASTICALLY improved my attitude.


I decided to start listening to my body, so to speak, and do whatever type of workout sounds the most appealing that day. Some days I'm in the mood to lift dumbbells, some days I just wanna move my body, some days I want to stretch, some days I just want to do any old thing but get it done quickly. And in doing this, I have found myself enjoying exercise. I look forward to it, once I start it I often wind up doing more than I had planned on, I feel great afterwards. I can take days off (even a whole week off recently while I was out of town on vacation) and pick it right back up again. My boyfriend jokingly calls me a "Workout Turkey" (IASIP reference, one of my favorite shows). I do take a day off a week, and actually sort of MISS exercise on that day. And THIS is my biggest victory.

What do I do? YouTube videos at home. Dragging myself out to the gym after work isn't something I could stick with. I hate doing treadmills or elliptical. In my neck of the woods, the weather isn't cooperative for far too much of the year, though I do plan to go on bike rides once the paved rec trail opens up for the season. But ultimately, being able to work out in the comfort and convenience of my own home is what makes it work for me. I don't have kids to interrupt me, which helps in that regard. I don't have much discretionary income, so anything that costs much isn't feasible. So YouTube has been my savior. Whenever a particular video or content creator is boring me, I can move on to whatever else for free.

HASfit is my current go-to for dumbbell/strength routines as well as HIIT-type cardio; the routines are the perfect mix of enjoyable and effective and require very little equipment (fortunately my boyfriend has some sets of heavier dumbbells because those get a bit pricey once you get past like 8-pound ones), and the hosts make it SO approachable for beginners. I like Blogilates for ab workouts and stretching routines. BeFiT has lots of Denise Austin videos which I enjoy for lighter cardio.

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