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90 Pounds Down, Jamie Shares 7 Tips for Sticking with Your Workouts

By: , – Jamie Berube, SparkPeople member
11/2/2011 10:00 AM   :  141 comments   :  105,138 Views

I’ve been going to the gym for a long time. I love to exercise and move my body while tuning out the world to the sound of Kanye West on my iPod.
 
But I wasn’t bred and conditioned by Herculean, health-nut parents who cycled on Saturdays or ran 5Ks for fun with their Spin class buddies. I learned to love exercise on my own.

I grew up in the suburbs of central Florida in a polished small town, where both popularity and athletic prowess escaped me. I was chubbier than most of my classmates and started wearing plus-size clothes at 16.

I hated P.E. class and exercise because I was insecure about being too big or not good enough. The summer before I turned 20, I decided, would be the summer that I would lose weight. I had moved away from that small town, and I was ready to flaunt the independence I had discovered in college.

It took a lot of courage, but I joined a local gym and was strategic about my choice.
I wasn't looking for the best deal or the biggest facility: I deliberately chose a gym that wasn’t popular or hip. I didn’t want to be spotted by the cool kids as I waddled on the treadmill in my size XL T- shirt or heaved through a set of lunges.
 
I chose a gym dominated by retirees who read newspapers or listened to books on tape on the stationary bike. It had TVs and an easy exit, too, in case someone I knew spotted me. I was sold.

Those first months and pounds were excruciating. But once I dropped my first 30 pounds, it became easier. After 40 pounds, it started to feel good.

Today, I'm 90 pounds lighter, I still go to the gym several times a week and I run outside on the weekends. It’s not always easy to stay motivated--even now. I get burned out and need breaks and lose motivation… like when it's 95 degrees or I've had a bad day and want to devour a plate of cookies. Still, even if I slip up, I don't give up.
 
Here's why--and how.
 
1. I've come a long way, baby

When I think back over the past four years, I realize how much my life has changed because of exercise. I have confidence. I’m less stressed. I feel strong and healthy. I wouldn’t trade any of these things to be 19 again. 

Even if you’ve just started to exercise, that's a huge step in the right direction. You’ve already made the commitment. Celebrate that.
 

2. I just go.
I never regret going to the gym (unless I ate a bean burrito two hours before). I always feel better after a workout. Have you ever met someone who, after a 5-mile run or yoga class says “That was a bad decision. I feel lousy”? I haven’t.


3. I treat myself.
I love magazines. If I’m having a bad day I treat myself to a magazine to bring to the gym as both a reward and reinforcement. I love pumping my legs along the elliptical machine with the latest issue of Real Simple or People. It makes my workout go by faster, and I feel more relaxed.


4. I make a new playlist.
For me, it’s all about the workout playlist. When I’m sweating all over the Stairmaster, I need hip hop or rock n’ roll to keep me going. I choose music that makes me happy and want to dance. I make a new playlist every other week--and I'm not afraid to ask for friends' suggestions. I download new music and explore different music, too.


5. I work and play.
Sometimes I plan something fun or relaxing after my workout. If I work out at night, it might be a good meal, a glass of wine or vegging in my pjs--or meeting my friends for dinner. I keep my eyes on the prize and envision it while I work out.


6. I'm not alone.
When I lace up my shoes for a run, I like to think about all of the other women across America who are doing the same thing at their gyms or in their neighborhoods. There are so many people just like me who are passionate about exercise. Sometimes I think about the sophisticated magazine editors and Carrie Bradshaw-esque writers in New York City, and that they too, will probably go to the gym today. Remind yourself that we’re all in this together.

 

7. Sometimes, it's OK to not work out.
Sometimes you just need a break.  Exercise requires a certain amount of mental strength. It’s natural to feel mental and physical burnout. Working out is an incredible discipline. We have to go easy on ourselves when our bodies tell us to.
If a formerly overweight, unpopular, and unathletic Italian girl from the South can do it…well, I think you can too.

What is your best advice to motivate others? Do you reward yourself when you work out?
 
Want to write a guest blog post for the dailySpark? Send your topic idea and a writing sample to dailySpark editor Stepfanie Romine: editor (at) dailySpark (dot) com.
 


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Comments

  • 141
    very motivating blog-like so many of the others who have commented, I have to have daily motivation of this type while I am trying to return to my usual routine of exercising. The most motivating section of your blog is in the beginning, before starting the sequence- "whether it's hot outside or you had gobbled down an entire bag of chocolate cream filled Oreos"-I will not give up-I will get up and get going. - 7/25/2014   8:00:28 PM
  • 140
    very inspirational. thanks for sharing! - 2/26/2014   1:32:07 PM
  • TARALI13
    139
    Just getting serious about my weight problem. Feel free to friend me! I can use all the help I can get. - 11/12/2013   10:50:39 PM
  • 138
    I love number 6!! We are not alone!! I have only been exercising for about 8 weeks now and for me, I don't focus on the calories burned. Right now there are two options: did I do it, or not! Just do it! :-) - 9/29/2013   11:43:49 PM
  • 137
    I just started going to the gym. I'm loving it. I wasn't a gym person before I would just attend Zumba classes at the community center twice a week. I'm in the gym at 6am at least 3 days a week. My blood pressure is regulated, my confidence has increased and I've lost about 10 pounds. Thank you so much for sharing this article is encouraging. - 8/5/2013   11:34:59 AM
  • FOCUSEDSAM
    136
    Thank you for sharing. It's always good to hear the experience of others on the journey to getting and staying in shape. - 6/5/2013   8:04:18 PM
  • PEGMARK1985
    135
    Awesome article!! I never really pictured others doing the same thing somewhere else. Great encouragement!!! Thanks for writing!! - 6/2/2013   5:34:58 PM
  • 134
    I love the way you chose the gym. Can't top that. But hey, it works! Congrats. - 5/27/2013   1:14:19 PM
  • 133
    Thanks for encouragement - 3/26/2013   8:45:40 AM
  • BECKYA48
    132
    Thank you for sharing you tips. They are very motivational. - 2/19/2013   5:18:52 PM
  • AMARANTHUS
    131
    Thank you - 2/1/2012   2:53:47 PM
  • SBNORMAL
    130
    Thank you all your motivation and support. I am going to find little treats for myself. - 2/1/2012   9:51:02 AM
  • SBNORMAL
    129
    Thank you all your motivation and support. I am going to find little treats for myself. - 2/1/2012   9:50:58 AM
  • 128
    Definitely going to read this again soon. Starting a serious diet and exercise regimen soon. This helped, thanks. - 12/31/2011   1:26:14 AM
  • 127
    Excellent article. Thank you for taking the time time to write. - 11/15/2011   1:15:19 PM
  • 126
    Loved your blog...I copied this to put on my fridge: Have you ever met someone who, after a 5-mile run or yoga class says “That was a bad decision. I feel lousy”? I haven’t. - 11/13/2011   4:44:02 PM
  • 125
    LOVED IT !!! :) girl you are strong !! keep doing your best!!
    xx - 11/11/2011   4:27:25 PM
  • SHELLE43
    124
    Great blog! keep up the great work!!! - 11/11/2011   4:25:53 PM
  • 123
    i'm looking forward to when motivator #1 can be one i remind myself with - 11/10/2011   8:13:38 PM
  • 122
    Way to Go!!! Thanks for the encouragement. - 11/10/2011   2:07:56 PM
  • RYLEERAIN
    121
    Thank you so much for posing this article.I really enjoyed reading it and I am very happy to know that I do #2,3 and 4 because music is totally important for me in terms of moods and keeping me motivated.
    - 11/9/2011   7:26:20 PM
  • CBROOKS777
    120
    I agree with #106. I'm positive about all other things in life except exercise. Also, I must be the only person who feels worse after exercising, not better. Call me Debbie Downer
    :(
    But I did enjoy the article. I could never complete the mile run when I was in high school and I've never been athletic. So if you can do it, I guess I could too. (or at least try...) - 11/9/2011   2:47:16 PM
  • MSRESA8401
    119
    great entry!! Keep on inspiring others!!! - 11/9/2011   2:31:04 PM
  • 118
    This was just the little pep talk I needed for today. Great advice and congrats on your wonderful goal achievements! - 11/9/2011   11:14:31 AM
  • MRSHARING
    117
    I retrieved my log in information just so I could comment on this post. I don't know what you do for a living, but I hope you write. You have a great talent for the written word - I enjoyed every one of them! - 11/9/2011   10:06:27 AM
  • JANNABANANA619
    116
    I used to be 263 lbs and I got down to 174, then gained some back again. I'm at 190 now and I just decided I'm ready to go all the way and get this weight off so that come next summer I'm the happiest I've ever been in a bikini. It helps that I have a roommate who's trying to lose weight with me too. This story was very inspirational and I wish everyone the best of luck on their weight lose journey! - 11/9/2011   9:59:40 AM
  • 115
    Awesome blog. My advice is to take it slow. I lost 30 pounds too fast before and gained it all back. Make decisions that u can stick with. Like small changes that add up. Going for a walk before lunch, skipping that sugary snack, baked not fried. All of these things add up. I have started a reward plan that every time I lose 10 pounds, I will treat my self to a new article of clothing or some thing to help me feel good about my success. Much luck all.
    - 11/9/2011   8:55:32 AM
  • PRDIVA7
    114
    MOST inspirational ever; I'm sooooo proud of you, Jamie! You sound like a terrific girl with guts and determination because THAT is what it takes: no excuses. Keep it up, and this is YOUR future:

    I've worked out ALL my life including marathons and simpathize with those who hate exercise; It is my passion and it pays off. Because of my life style, at 66, I look late 40's, turn heads and get compliments all the time. I live in an over-50 bldg and people ask me if I'm visiting my mom or dad! You name the sport, I do it, including rollerblading, ice skating and work at daily (yoga, boxing, Pilates, free weights, Eliptical:. I own a bike.) I am the happiest girl in the world because of the miraculous endorphins. I'm a very healthy eater (cheat once a week) and just quit wine because it puts on weight. My weight is 112; I'm petite. Keep us posted; I'm rooting for you. And, yes, I belong to a gym just like yours. That kind of a gym is for REAL - if you are serious. And you, baby certainly are. Congratulations! - 11/9/2011   8:30:50 AM
  • KMH1224
    113
    I like to buy nice stylish workout clothes, that helps motivate me as well as the other tips left in this blog. I'm not out to impress anybody, but if I have a new Under Armour hoodie and capri's to put over my new yoga outfit, then I'm more than happy to head out. It may sound shallow, but hey, whatever it takes, right? And I try to match my outfit to my shoes too. My husband thinks I'm out of control! LOL!!!! - 11/9/2011   8:15:32 AM
  • MERNA1969
    112
    I just printed off this article. I like it's simplicity and it's non-accusing tone. I need to do a better job of forgiving my slip ups and just doing it. Thanks Jamie. - 11/9/2011   6:58:28 AM
  • YOLANDA55
    111
    Truly INSPIRATIONAL! You have done it all for you, that is a wonderful thing. - 11/8/2011   4:21:03 PM
  • 110
    Thanks, that's just what I needed to read today. I've been struggling with getting back into a fitness schedule after a few weeks of illness. The time is now! - 11/8/2011   4:01:39 PM
  • JENNNK1
    109
    Thank you. My biggest downfall is inconsistent working out. This helped a lot :) - 11/8/2011   3:57:14 PM
  • 108
    That was fantastic. Keep up the good work. - 11/8/2011   3:35:38 PM
  • SEAKITT
    107
    Great comments...Just starting out.. I think of how blessed to have health resources I have.. One more step ...one at a time..It's a synergistic thing. I get inspired seeing so many people wanting to positively change .
    - 11/8/2011   3:15:39 PM
  • MCTHICK
    106
    This is very frustrating! If self motivation was as easy as smiling at the sunshine, then there would be no need for articles about motivation. Just once I would like to see some advice about motivation that wasn't some variant of "Think positively and everything will work itself out in the best possible way! Hugs all around!"

    GAH! - 11/8/2011   2:26:17 PM
  • 105
    I needed this! - 11/8/2011   1:53:51 PM
  • BRUEHM1
    104
    Thanks so much for the tips.
    When I get lazy and need some motivation, I treat myself to something new to wear while in the gym. New running socks, new shirt or a new pair of shorts. Makes me want to get to the gym and try them. - 11/8/2011   1:25:37 PM
  • 103
    Thanks for the encouragement. Needed the motivation to continue to press on - 11/8/2011   12:54:31 PM
  • 102
    Thanks for the encouragement. It was just what I needed to help me press on! - 11/8/2011   12:47:05 PM
  • SURWILER
    101
    This is exactly what I needed - I've lost about 40 lbs; but have gotten stuck and having a hard time motivating to keep working out. Thanks very much for sharing - 11/8/2011   12:32:36 PM
  • 100
    ROCK on!! I've lost 38 pounds since 5/1/11 and I'm over halfway to my goal. I have people tell me that I inspire them to start a healthier lifestyle and that inspires me to keep going! So thank you for being an inspiration to me. - 11/8/2011   11:42:00 AM
  • MAMATOBI
    99
    One of the best blogs I have read in awhile. Thanks for the motivation! - 11/8/2011   11:27:57 AM
  • RHONDAWI
    98
    Thanks, just what I needed today.
    Keep up the great work!! - 11/8/2011   11:00:35 AM
  • HISDESIGN
    97
    Before I joined SparkPeople, I really felt like a 'loser' (and I'm not referring to the good kind....ha!) I just felt that all the obstacles I encountered (especially the mental/emotional ones) were felt only by me -- thus, I was in a lose-lose category all alone. What has been most inspirational and motivating to me, is the discovery of people just like me. They have made me feel like there is nothing unusual about my obstacles, ..... and, "here's how to overcome them!" Thanks to all of you, and may God bless each of you as you pursue your own, personal goals. - 11/8/2011   10:31:36 AM
  • RUTHESTANTON
    96
    Great article. It was very encouraging. I could relate to your story. Thank you. - 11/8/2011   10:29:43 AM
  • ANNCRIPPS
    95
    This is exactly what I needed to read today! - 11/8/2011   10:20:33 AM
  • WISTERIALODGE
    94
    I work out 5-6 days a week, three days a week I have classes, some I walk, other days I may walk. It is rare that I don't skip exercising all together and those days I usually feel a little under the weather or have an aggravation of an old injury. Since I work out so frequently I don't reward myself on a regular basis, but I do occasionally treat myself to something special to eat or something new to wear at the gym.

    My advice to people wanting to lose weight just to get moving, or those who are new to the gym (usually the heavy ones like I used to be) is that they can do it, that they are stronger than they think they are - a remark a trainer gave me 5 days after I started going back to the gym again which really struck me, after all, it takes muscle to move that much weight around. I tell them that it will get easier and that I've lost 79 pounds on a good day and they will see results to if they stick with it. - 11/8/2011   10:13:50 AM
  • GONNABEATROPHY
    93
    I'm at work but couldn't resist reading this blog that popped up in my email! Thank you so much for sharing! I get up at 4:30am to get ready for the day in a large public high school. I absolutely LOVE my career, but by the end of the day I'm soooo done. I often skip the workout. I tried getting up earlier, but come on now! As I read your blog I really hit on the "I never regret" line. I never regret after the run or hike or video...as a matter of fact I do a little self-talk with "yeah me!" But it is so hard after a 10-12 hour day at school to put in that next hour. I am printing your "list" and will use you as my motivator this afternoon! Thanks so much! - 11/8/2011   10:13:05 AM
  • 92
    Great ideas. You are to be commended not only for your weight loss, but more importantly for your wonderful attitude! - 11/8/2011   10:09:13 AM

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