Barry: Finding time for exercise

Published 7:00 am Friday, December 14, 2012

Kat’s Hot Talk

By Kat Barry

It can be tough to “find the time” to exercise and eat right this time of year. There seems to be an endless barrage of activities surrounding the holidays. There are social events galore: caroling, charities, Christmas shopping, parties and end-of-year projects at work. All of that combined with colder weather and darkening days. It’s no wonder the thought of going home, putting on sweats and drinking hot cocoa on the couch can very easily win over a brisk hike in the dunes. Next thing you know, you can’t fit into the dress you bought for New Year’s Eve. Self-loathing and ill-fated resolutions ensue. This cycle is bad in every sense of the word. Hopefully, sharing some of the things I do to stave off winter weight gain will help keep you svelt this holiday season.

• Make an appointment:  We all have such hectic lives, the idea of fitting one more thing in our schedules often makes us tighten up and immediately shut our minds to the idea the suggested activity might be beneficial and enjoyable.  Exercise is crucial to mental and physical health, something you should really try and make the time for. I do this by finding a class I like and blocking out 45 to 90 minutes. For years, I’ve put my favorite yoga class in my calendar just like a work appointment. When people want to schedule meetings or calls I just say, “I have a 10 o’clock.” This is 100 percent true; it’s a meeting on my mat.

Nobody needs to know what your appointment is, just make it.

• Get up and get going: Do you leave for work in the morning with your gym bag, planning to head there after work, and then get sidetracked by a sick kid or a work happy hour? Don’t let this happen. Get in the habit of getting up early even just one day a week and get your workout out of the way.

It’s a great feeling knowing you’ve already done something good for yourself before the day has even started. It’s very liberating knowing that “having to workout” isn’t hanging over your head.  Believe me, the grogginess fades away once those endorphins kick in.

• Find a partner: Having to be accountable to someone else always forces us to get things done.  Fitness and healthy eating are no different. I have a friend I hike with just about every Tuesday. Not wanting to cancel on her has definitely kept me from eating cake on the couch on more than one occasion. Ask a coworker, friend or family member to meet you for a walk once a week. You’ll cherish the catch-up time and won’t hate yourself when you binge on Christmas cutouts later on in the night.

• Be a little narcissistic: Were you your hottest ever at your wedding? Nostalgic over your pre-baby body (that goes for you, too, Dads)? As a goal-oriented person, I find it’s a lot easier to get someplace if you look where you’re going. Put up photos of yourself at your ideal hotness as a reminder that’s what you’re striving for. Last winter, I was trying to get back in shape after an injury so I put a pic of myself in a bikini up on my fridge.

I was pretty fit at the time of the photo so seeing that image every time I opened the fridge really helped to keep me motivated to get back there. By the time I headed to Key West in March, I felt ready for a new round of bikini shots.

• Seek inspiration: One of my cousins was born with spina bifida and has never really been able to walk. Despite the fact that she is in a wheelchair, Karen competes in triathlons and other races regularly. She gets up at 5 a.m. three times a week to go workout in the pool. I think about Karen a lot when I’m struggling to find the motivation to move my body.

Here is a woman who makes no excuses when she totally could. It goes to show you there really is no excuse good enough to justify not moving an able body.  Be grateful for the gift you were given and use that beautiful, finely tuned machine to its full capabilities.  Karen and I do it, so can you.