At 5’7” and 112 pounds, Heather already looks like she’s in great shape, so if something better comes up, exercise takes a rain check. She’s not a morning person, so she doesn’t want to exercise then. By the time she leaves work, she’s starving. After eating, “the excuse is: ‘Well, I’ve eaten and by the time my food digests, it’s time for bed.’” But she loves the outdoors gets stress-relief from weekend runs of 3 to 5 miles. She has a gym membership, rarely used. “I guess I just really want to know that I’m taking steps now that are going to be beneficial down the road, and that when I look in the mirror, I’m really seeing healthy. And I want to know that I’m healthy on the inside, not just the outside.”
“A common misconception people make is associating thin with healthy,” says Myatt. “Most people exercise because they need to see some numbers drop, but when you’re already at an ideal weight or size, it can be very tricky to figure out the next carrot to dangle in front of the horse. In Heather’s case, it feels like she’s a motivated, driven person when there’s a finish line, so it’s a matter of working with her brain—and the things she likes to do—to figure out what’s best for her overall health.”
- Focus on numbers other than weight: Get cholesterol and blood pressure checked.
- Set a workout goal: 3 times per week, then 4, etc. Then write your progress down. It’s hard to overestimate the importance of tracking—put a calendar on your fridge, or go download our Healthy Habits Tracking Sheet.
- Cycle through different exercises. Choose short-term activities that last between one to three months. Sign up for a 12-week Spin class, or train to run a 5K or 10K. Any cardio activity that has a start and stop date to it creates short-term goals and structure.
- You like the stress-relieving benefits of exercise, so pick other workouts that have that effect, such as Pilates, yoga, or swimming. Note, as you implement a workout plan, how it helps you sleep as well.
- Exercise with friends: it's fun, supportive, and healthy.