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My New Exercise Follow-Through Trick

I’ve never enjoyed exercise. Actually, that’s about as accurate as saying I’ve never enjoyed cockroaches: I hate exercise. It doesn’t make me feel good and invigorated and refreshed the way it apparently does everyone else. For me, it’s always grueling work with hints of torture, so I’ve never been all that motivated to do it. Until now, now that I’m trying to drop a few pounds (I've lost 14 so far, with 6 or so more to go). See, MyFitnessPal tells me that my baseline goal for weight loss is 1,240 calories per day. People: That’s not enough for someone who enjoys her food and, ahem, her drinks. Exercise buys me extra calories—especially running, which usually earns back 500 or more calories—so now I’m reluctantly but pretty much daily engaging in fitness.

Another complication: The only time that works for me to exercise is 5:00 a.m. Not 5:15 nor even 5:08. If I’m not gearing up at 5:00 with my running attire, phone armband, reflective vest, and leash (well, that last bit of business is for the dog) and out the door a few minutes later, I will have missed my window. That was starting to lead to some bad habits—if I hit snooze a couple of times and found myself still in bed at 5:03, I’d throw in the towel.

Photo: Chris Bernard/Getty Images

But I now have a new trick that has had a 100% success rate every time I’ve used it (every weeknight for the past two weeks): I go to sleep in my workout clothes. Yes! I sleep in my sports bra, sweat-wicking shirt, and running shorts. (Some people have expressed horror at the thought—but, hey, I like the extra support… And I’m so damn tired by the time I go to bed that I could be wearing scuba gear and sleep just fine.) This works for me for two reasons: First, I have a head start and am more than halfway ready, so the 5:03 excuse doesn’t hold up anymore. But the more compelling thing is that I just can’t bear the idea of the shame I’d feel at sleeping an extra hour and then standing in the bathroom getting ready for my shower—and peeling off those unused workout clothes. So that’s it: A little bit of advance prep, and the power of guilt and shame! Hey, whatever it takes.

What's your daily fitness motivation or follow-through trick? Share it with us. Comment here, email and tweet @Cooking_Light using #SocialDiet.