People always ask me about my exercise routine. They want to know if I still exercise on a regular basis, if I ever get tired of exercising and if I ever take some time off.
Those are really great questions because exercise is at the heart of my maintenance success. I’ve maintained my 158 pound weight loss for almost 13 years now, and part of my success has been due to the fact that I’ve never stopped exercising.
When I first started exercising, I weighed 300 pounds. It was hard to move my body more than a few feet without having to stop and rest. But I continued working on improving my stamina and increasing my exercise time. I lost all my weight by walking every day. As I lost weight, I jogged occasionally and rode my bike periodically, but speed walking was my exercise of choice.
After I lost my weight, my husband asked me if I was going to quit exercising now that I had reached my goal. “No,” I told him. “I’m in this for life.” He looked surprised and maybe a little skeptical.
During the first year of maintenance, I continued to exercise just as I had during my weight loss year. Every morning or afternoon, you would see me speed walking up and down my neighborhood roads. I had developed the love of exercise when I lost weight and it has never gone away.
Exercise has benefits far beyond weight loss and maintenance. When I exercise, I feel better mentally and feel less stressed. Getting up early in the morning to walk before the children come tumbling down the stairs gives me an opportunity to be by myself for a few minutes and think about my day.
Now I exercise 6 days a week. My husband tells me I’m like the postman; rain or shine you’ll find me outside walking or jogging. I even walk in the cold weather. As long as the thermometer registers above 10 degrees, I’m outside. I probably look funny bundled up like the abdominal snowman, but I love exercise enough to brave the heat and the cold.
I take one of the weekend days off without guilt. I strength train every other day using weights, resistance bands, my bright-green stability ball and performing static poses. I admit to going in waves with strength training, but as I’m aging, I know the importance of keeping my bones strong and healthy.
If you are on the fence in terms of continuing or starting an exercise program, I’d encourage you to get off the fence and start moving. Exercise changed my life. I am more fit and energetic now than I was when I was 25. I can keep up with all 7 kids, chase the dog down the road, and have energy to spare. I fit better in my clothes and feel strong.
Make a commitment today to exercise at least three days this week. You will never be sorry you got out and moved your body.