The secret to making exercise a daily habit is to incorporate more fun activities into your daily routine.
When I first joined the program, Live More Weigh Less (LMWL), one of the first things that was brought to my attention was that I had forgotten how to have fun. All my “Fun” revolved around eating. Outside of food, I had forgotten how to celebrate life in other ways. All of my workouts were punishing and brutal and felt like “work” as I thought they should. I never moved my body in ways that were just for fun. I would get up and do a “workout” but then outside of that I’d be pretty sedentary the rest of the day. Ironically, I now realize if I had just incorporated more fun activities into my days then I might not have needed the grueling workouts at all. Putting more fun into our lives can be an easy way to sneak in exercise without even realizing it.
Because my workouts were punishing and my life was dull, I would overeat because food was my only source of entertainment and joy. I used food to take up the space of the fun that I wasn’t having.
As I worked through the LMWL program I sought out more fun and I worked hard to come up with ideas for ways that I could have fun. But I soon realized that there were 2 main issues keeping overweight people like myself from having more fun and they had nothing to do with our lack of creativity.
The first issue is that we, as overweight people, tend to have limiting beliefs about what we can and cannot do in our plus size bodies. We tell ourselves that we can’t do this or that activity because we’re fat. No matter how large you are, there is always a way to figure out how to incorporate physical activity into your everyday routine. Sure there may be a few physical activities that would be harder for you to do depending on how much extra weight you’re carrying around. But in my experience the activities people avoid when they are fat usually have very little to do with physical capability and everything to do with not wanting to draw attention to themselves. Examples: swimming, dancing, anything that requires getting dressed up or wearing shorts, etc. You get the picture. You’re not afraid of not being physically able to do something. You’re afraid of how you think you’ll look doing it and how uncomfortable that attention might make you feel. I say, get over yourself. No one is focused on you that hard. They are way too busy obsessing about themselves.
The second issue that keeps us from having fun is that as adults, fat or skinny, overtime we’ve conditioned ourselves to believe that grown-ups are only allowed to have a certain type of fun and a limited amount at that. This belief manifests in many different excuses. I’ve listed the most common ones I’ve heard below and I offer some rebuttals to help you claim back your fun.
Top 10 limiting beliefs that are keeping you from having more fun and losing weight in the process:
- I’m too old for that. The only thing I can think of that you might be too old for are certain night clubs. But what’s your goal there? To meet someone? Then you need to go to the age appropriate club anyway but don’t worry, clubbing isn’t only for 21 year olds anymore.They have them for all age groups if that’s your thing. And if dancing is your goal well there are a dozen ways to have dance in your life besides clubbing. Examples: dance classes; workouts structured around dance like Zumba; host your own dance party at your house; or simply just put on music and dance around your house by yourself.
- I don’t have time for that. We make time for what’s important to us. You don’t have time to have fun because you haven’t made it a priority in your life. But the minute you say, “part of a full and happy life is having fun and that is important to me”, all of a sudden you’ll have time.
- That’s something only old people do. First you’re too old to do something then you’re too young to do something. Jeez. All this pressure we out on ourselves with age. it’s so ridiculous. Who cares if you like to do something that’s been stigmatized as an “old folks’ hobby “. So what. Are you seriously gonna let that stop you from doing something you know you enjoy. Nowadays with things like Meetup and private Facebook groups, you can easily find people your own age who also like to do that same “old person hobby” too. I like to knit and my husband is always joking me that its an old lady hobby. But I found out that there is this movement of “vogue ” knitters that focus on making young and hip clothing. Go figure. So if I can find a way to make knitting look young, I’m sure you can do the same with your hobby.
- I can’t afford it. The same goes for money as for time. You can always afford what’s important to you. You cut out what’s not important so you can afford what is. But affordability isn’t your problem. Your problem is that having fun isn’t a priority in your life. Instead it’s a frivolous thing that you shouldn’t spend your money on. Change your mindset. Having fun is an important part of your overall health and happiness and without it your life is simply not complete.
- I’ll feel silly. Trust me, it’s not the cool kids having all the fun. It’s the silly ones. Get over yourself. No one is paying that much attention to you. They’re all too busy being self conscious and worrying about how silly they think they look. See? It’s a vicious cycle. So dare to be the silly one and see how much fun you have. Plus there’s an added bonus. If you have kids, you’ll be teaching your kids at a young age that being silly and having fun have no age restriction. And then they won’t need to read this post in 20 years.
- I’ll look stupid. Isn’t that another way if saying I’ll look silly? I refer you to number 5.
- I’m too fat to do that. We talked about this already. This is a story you are telling yourself. All you have to do is change the story. “I’m too fat to do that” is just another limiting belief that lots of overweight people tend to use to keep themselves from pushing outside of their comfort zone. But here’s a secret for you. Happiness lives just outside your comfort zone. You have to get a little uncomfortable to experience new things and have fun. Sure there may be a few physical activities that would be harder for you to do depending on how much extra weight you’re carrying around. But in my experience the activities people avoid when they are fat usually have more to do with not wanting to draw attention to themselves than actually being unable to physically do it. Examples: swimming, dancing, anything that requires getting dressed up or wearing short. etc. You get the picture. You’re not afraid of not being physically able to do something. You’re afraid of how you think you’ll look doing it and how uncomfortable that attention might make you feel. Again I say, get over yourself. No one is focused on you that hard. They are too busy obsessing about themselves.
- I won’t be good at it so I’m even going to try. This one is for all you perfectionists out there. I mention this one because I’ve heard it a million times but honestly I really don’t get this one. Listen to yourself. This makes no sense whatsoever. How do you know if you’re good at it until you try it. And how can you get good at it if you don’t practice. There are very few things in life that we are naturally good at. How limited will your life be if you restrict yourself to doing only the things you have God given talent for? And today we are specifically talking about having more fun. Who says you have to be any good at all? Having fun isn’t about being good at something and it’s definitely not about being perfect. Do it because it makes you feel good. Do it because you come alive when you do. Do it because it makes you laugh or because you feel like a kid again. Do it for fun’s sake only.
- I might hurt myself. We can not live our lives in fear. Take safety classes, take the necessary precautions, wear protective gear and then, get out there and do it! Yeah you may hurt yourself but chances are you won’t and if you do it might still be worth it.
- I don’t have anyone to do it with. I hear this one a lot. It’s super hard to make new friends when you’re an adult. But here’s what you must always remember: You are responsible for your own happiness. This is probably one of the best pieces of advice my mother has ever given me. It is the reason I have always had a good time on my birthday, because I learned a long time ago not to wait for other people to make me happy. You need to learn what makes you happy and then go get (or do) whatever that is. This is one of the fundamental keys to your weight loss success. You need to figure out what else makes you happy besides food. The best way to get over thinking you have to have company to have fun is to go to a movie by yourself. That’s super easy because once it goes dark no one will see that you are alone so you won’t feel too terribly awkward. After that build up to going for a cup of coffee by yourself. Then lunch. Finally dinner. I always ask my husband to do things with me but there are a lot of activities that I like to do that he doesn’t. That’s fine. To each his own. But that does not mean I have to stay home. I can find another friend or go by myself. Going by yourself is still better than not doing the thing you know you have fun doing. And chances are you’ll eventually meet people while doing this activity and they can be the people you call in the future. Also remember that your closest friends don’t have to be the ones you call for eberything. I have a yoga buddy who I only call for yoga and a hinking buddy who I only call for hiking. There is nothing wrong with having hang out friends solely for the purpose of having fun.
Having fun just for the purpoe of having fun is a key ingredient to feeling more fulfilled in your life and losing weight. If your life fills you up then you won’t look to food to do so instead.
What limiting beliefs have you been holding on to that may have been keeping you from having more fun? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.