No Time to Exercise After Pregnancy


No Time to Exercise After Pregnancy

no time to exercise after pregnancyRecently we polled new moms on the challenges they face when exercising after pregnancy. “No Time to Exercise After Pregnancy” was one of the top reported challenges. While this isn’t surprising, the good news is that we have lots of ideas on how to overcome this challenge and help you incorporate exercise into your life as a new mom.

Most new moms find that their time is more limited after baby is born, or more specifically, that their alone “me” time is more limited. Before baby’s arrival you might have had an hour to yourself several times a week that you spent at the gym, going for a run or taking an exercise class. After baby’s arrival it might be hard to find ten minutes to yourself and if you do, chances are you’ll do something extravagant like showering. 🙂

Here are some ideas for overcoming the “no time to exercise after pregnancy” struggle:

  • Exercise WITH your baby – Put baby in the stroller and go for a walk or jog. Use baby as your weight and do exercises such as squats and lunges (check out our Baby Weight workout for more ideas). Take a mom & baby exercise class (the majority of classes offered are yoga classes, but there might be more options depending on where you live).
  • Exercise when baby naps or exercise before baby wakes up in the morning.
  • If you work outside of the home, exercise on your lunch break so when you get home you can relax and just spend time with your family.
  • Workout in short bursts throughout the day – 10-15 minute bursts of exercise scattered throughout the day are perfect for busy new moms. Not sure what exactly to do for an effective short burst of exercise? Try our 10 minute workout for new moms.

Have you overcome this challenge? Share below what worked for you…

Top 3 Home Workout Tools for Moms


Top 3 home workout tools for moms

home workout tools for momsFor many moms, exercising at home is their only workout option. A common misconception we hear quite often is that working out at home isn’t good enough and if you can’t get to the gym it’s not worth it to exercise at all. The good news is – you CAN get a GREAT workout at home! You can even incorporate your kids in your workout.

Home exercisers or aspiring home exercisers – this post is for you! We’ve compiled a list of our three favorite home workout tools for moms. These tools are effective and affordable. How perfect is that?!


Dumbbells are inexpensive, easy to use and can be incorporated into so many different exercises. One of the biggest mistakes we see moms make (and women in general for that matter) is using very light dumbbells, say three pounds for example. While the specifics vary depending on whether your goal is general muscular fitness, endurance, hypertrophy or strength, the overall recommendation is the same – your muscles need to work more than they do in everyday life in order to deliver results. Those bags of groceries you carry every week or the child you pick up multiple times each day…chances are they weigh more than three pounds. Choose a weight that fatigues your muscles in the last few reps of the set. So if you’re doing a set of 12 reps, you should start to feel fatigued by about the 8th or 9th rep. If you’re a beginner you might need to start with three pound dumbbells and that’s totally fine. Find what works for you. We recommend buying a few different sizes initially so you can use the lighter one when working your weaker muscles and the heavier one for your stronger muscles.

Stability Ball

Stability balls are one of our absolute favorite home workout tools for moms. Why? Because they can be used during all stages of motherhood and they are effective at each stage. Pregnant moms can use them throughout pregnancy, to prepare for childbirth and even during labor. New moms can use them to workout, while breastfeeding to help improve posture and reduce back pain, and to calm a fussy baby. After the “new mom” stage, moms can use them in workouts to strengthen and challenge their bodies. Sizing is important when buying a stability ball. Use the general sizing guidelines below as a start but be sure to test out the ball to make sure it’s the right fit for you.

Your Height          Ball Size

5’0” to 5’5”             55cm

5’6” to 6’1”              65cm

Resistance Band

Resistance bands are another great home workout tool. Since they’re light and compact they’re also great to take when traveling so you can stick with your workouts. The two commonly used types are – resistance tubes with handles and flat bands. They typically come in different resistance levels, such as light, medium and heavy. Many are sold as a set so you get one of each resistance. Keep in mind the same rule of thumb as with dumbbells – choose a resistance that fatigues your muscles at the end of each set.

Have fun assembling your home gym and be sure to check out our mom workouts page. 

Third Trimester Exercise Tips


Third Trimester Exercise – Part III of Fit for Expecting’s Exercise-by-Trimester Tips (click the following links to read about first trimester and second trimester exercise)

third trimester exerciseThird trimester – home stretch! The third trimester can bring with it a recurrence of some symptoms from the first trimester (fatigue being one), a big belly and some new discomforts. Unfortunately, the third trimester is also a time when many women significantly decrease or stop exercising completely. Assuming there are no medical conditions necessitating the cessation of exercise, exercise should be continued throughout your entire pregnancy, including the third trimester.

Why? For the answer we reference Dr. James F. Clapp’s research and his book Exercising Through Your Pregnancy. Dr. Clapp explains that by stopping exercise, expecting moms miss out on the benefits that prenatal exercise has on the health of both mom and baby. These women are either in the same boat as women who didn’t exercise at all during pregnancy or in some cases they are worse off!

Here are some examples:

  • Women who stop exercising in late pregnancy tend to produce the biggest and fattest babies of all (with even more body fat than babies of women who didn’t exercise at all during pregnancy).
  • Women who cut way back or stop exercising in late pregnancy gain about five more pounds and accumulate about one to two percent more body fat than women who don’t exercise at all during pregnancy.
  • Once stopping exercise, women often experience an increase in the usual pregnancy-related physical symptoms such as fatigue, leg aches and lower back pain.
  • Women who stop exercising also miss out on the labor and delivery benefits that exercise has been shown to provide, which can be generally stated as a decrease in the need for all types of medical intervention (i.e. pain relief, labor stimulation, forceps delivery, cesarean section).

Pretty convincing reasons to keep exercising!

Here are some tips to help you with third trimester exercise:

Third trimester exercise should make you feel better, not worse. Listen to your body and pay attention for feelings of pain or overexertion. These are signs that you need to take a break, decrease the intensity or change the type of exercise.

Stay hydrated – hydrating is important all throughout pregnancy and any time you exercise. In the third trimester it becomes even more important because dehydration can bring on contractions and preterm labor.

Walk regularly or do other forms of weight bearing cardio (dancing and stair climbing are two other options to consider).

third trimester exerciseSquat! If squats aren’t already part of your exercise routine, now’s the time to get started. Squats are not only a great resistance exercise but also one of the best exercises to prepare your body for childbirth. Because we do so much sitting in our everyday lives, squatting can be difficult at first. Squatting with a stability ball between your lower back and a wall is a great way start.

Do what you can, even if all you can manage is 10 minutes. We know you have a lot going on in your third trimester and you might not be feeling 100%, but regular exercise is beneficial for you and your baby, and 10 minutes of exercise is better than no exercise.

Ready to try some actual workouts? Check out our mom workouts page.

Alternatives to running during pregnancy


Alternatives to running during pregnancy

Let me start out this post by clearing some things up regarding running during pregnancy. Running during pregnancy is not in and of itself a “good” or “bad” type of exercise. It’s safe, appropriate and a good choice for some and unsafe or not recommended for others. Like many things during pregnancy, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all guideline when it comes to running. Figuring out whether running during pregnancy is right for you can’t be done through a blog post or an article posted on the internet. The best way to proceed if you’re unsure is to talk with your doctor/midwife AND with a qualified prenatal exercise specialist.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the meat of the post.

Many women enjoy running pre-pregnancy, continue after conceiving and then at some point during pregnancy stop running. Often, these moms have a hard time finding alternative pregnancy appropriate exercises at their fitness level. Their comments are usually some variation of: I can’t get a good workout when I just walk, do prenatal exercise videos or take a prenatal yoga class.

I can definitely empathize. Prior to becoming pregnant, I enjoyed high intensity exercise, running included. I loved sweating and pushing my body to new limits. Early on in my pregnancy, the kinds of activities I enjoyed before becoming pregnant stopped feeling comfortable. The prenatal exercise specialist inside of me told me to pay attention to what my body was telling me. This is an invaluable prenatal exercise tip and one that I repeat over and over again to clients and pregnant friends.

So what are some alternatives to running during pregnancy? Here are some ideas that have worked for my clients and that I also personally love:

Stairs: If you don’t know already, stairs provide a great and challenging workout. And all you have to do is walk up and down. No running necessary. If you need some variety try adding side steps, if you’re able to keep your balance.

alternatives to running during pregnancy

Hill Walks: Hills are also a great alternative. If you’re up for it and you have a high fitness level, find a hill or set of hills with a challenging incline instead of bunny slopes.

Hill - alternatives to running during pregnancy

Water Jogging: If running on land isn’t comfortable, try jogging in the pool. Being submerged in water has a lower impact on your body while still giving you a great workout. Try jogging in place and across the pool.

alternatives to running during pregnancy

As I said earlier, listen to your body and do what feels right for you. These are simply suggestions and won’t work for every pregnant mom. For more options, try our indoor cardio workout and check out our Mom Workouts page.

Share: What are your alternatives to running during pregnancy?

Around-The-House Workout


Fit for Expecting’s Around-The-House Workout Experiment

Unfortunately, a lot of moms don’t exercise regularly. Many don’t exercise at all. The reasons we hear frequently are some variation of – I can’t workout because I can’t get to the gym. I can’t workout because I’m with my kids all day. I can’t workout because I don’t have time. I can’t workout because I have other responsibilities at home.  

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – taking care of yourself, which includes exercising regularly, is important not just for you but also for your family. Taking care of yourself makes you a better woman, mom, spouse, employee and friend. Believe it or not, you DO have the time if you’re willing to MAKE the time. We know this is easier said than done, so to help you out we devised a little experiment.

We picked some typical around-the-house tasks and assigned exercises to each of them. Then we picked a day as our “around-the-house workout” day and did the exercises that corresponded to the tasks. All day. We didn’t go to the gym or do another type of formal workout that day.

Here are the tasks and associated exercises for our Around-The-House Workout:

Getting In & Out of Bed: 5 diaphragmatic breaths

Place your hands on your belly. Inhale, filling your lungs with air and feel your hands rise with your belly. Exhale the air out of your lungs and contract your abdominal muscles (as if someone were about to punch you).

Opening the Fridge: 5 push-ups against the fridge (after closing it of course)

around-the-house workout

Turning on the TV or Using the Computer (pick one): 15 couch/ottoman/chair squats

around-the-house workout

Washing your Hands: 10 calf raises

around-the-house workout

Using the Microwave or Stove/Oven (pick one): 5 side lunges with rows (5 on each side) 

(ideas to use as weights: water bottle, gallon of milk, laundry detergent, dumbbell)

around-the-house workout

And how did we fare? Initially it took a bit of getting used to, since we don’t usually do exercises along with these typical tasks. But once we got the hang of it, we were on a roll. It was great not having to set aside a separate time just for working out. By the end of the day, our bodies felt great and we felt as if we had moved a lot, which we had! We also found that by adding in exercise throughout the day, we were more likely to keep our bodies active when we weren’t doing one of the assigned exercises. It had a ripple effect – when we started moving it felt so good that we kept moving.

Note: The instructions are suggestions and can definitely be modified to fit your individual needs. For example, if you find that you do these tasks quite a bit during the day and it’s too difficult to do the workout all day, just do the workout for a portion of the day. Or if there are different exercises you prefer, go ahead and do those instead. Everyone is different and only you know what’s best for you. 

Give our around-the-house workout a try! And for more workouts and exercise resources just for moms, join us on Facebook.

Maintaining Weight Loss – Guest Mom Post


Today’s guest mom post, “Maintaining Weight Loss” is part four of Emily’s story. As part of our commitment to motivate and inspire moms to prioritize their health, we’re sharing stories from real moms. Catch up on Emily’s previous posts. 

If you’re starting out on a journey to better health or not seeing results with your current program, be sure to check out our post on what it takes to get in shape after pregnancy.  

maintaining weight loss

Emily one year after losing weight

It’s been over a year since I lost all my weight. That year has gone by very quickly and has definitely not been without it’s challenges. I’ve been through weddings and camping trips and PMS (12 times!) and all the regular up and downs of emotion and life.

I know what you’re wondering – do I still weigh the same now a whole year after switching to maintenance mode? The answer is:


I started my weight loss journey at 190 pounds, I was able to get to my goal weight of 140 and then surpass it, finally landing at 130. And then over this past year, my weight has ever so slowly creeped down just a tad more, landing me at 125. That makes a total of 65 pounds gone. Gone! I never, ever expected to weigh in the 120s, ever! Yet as I have made health and fitness a part of my life, without even trying that last teeny bit of weight simply slipped away.

So how did I go from being the yo-yo dieter to now being able to easily maintain my new weight? Here is a glimpse at what my life looks like now and how I’m maintaining weight loss.

  • Exercise is simply part of my routine. I shower every day, I brush my teeth every day, and I exercise 5 days a week. That’s just how it is, it’s habit and I don’t even think about it anymore. I also do it super early in the morning so it’s out of the way.
  • I never viewed my change in eating as temporary. Diets are temporary. Eating healthy is permanent, and I will never go back to eating frozen pizzas and canned meals. Eating this way has actually changed my tastebuds, and the thought of eating some of my old foods actually makes my stomach churn. Instead I crave fresh produce and green smoothies!
  • I go through massive amounts of produce. Obscene amounts, really. We go through the same amount of produce in a week now that we used to in two or three weeks. One vegetable per meal is rarely enough and when we snack it’s usually on fresh fruit and veggies.
  • I stay inspired by learning everything I can about health and nutrition. Nutritional science is always changing as they discover new things about the food we eat, so I read everything I can about health and nutrition. I continue to make more changes for the better as I learn, and continuing to research keeps me inspired. I have become so interested in health and nutrition that I am in training to be a health coach. I simply can’t get enough of learning about health and food!
  • I am not in this alone! My husband, family and friends have been very supportive of me from the beginning. As my success became more apparent, more people began asking me questions, leading to me starting my website ( to talk to even more people about it. If you have a goal that you keep to yourself, it’s easy to let it go because no one will know that you gave up on it. If you instead talk to other people about it, you suddenly have someone to be accountable to, which makes you think twice when tempted to give up your goal.
  • I think differently than I used to. When I was heavier, my inner chubby girl would take shortcuts. I wouldn’t play with my kids on the playground because I was too tired and I would find ways to do things more efficiently so I moved less. Now that I have my “skinny girl mentality,” I play with my kids on the playground even when I’m tired because I have changed my view of myself and now consider myself an active person. I don’t mind running up and down the stairs because I love to feel how capable my body is and enjoy the feeling of my heart beating a bit faster, even if just for a second.

I think the biggest change, though, is that I finally made a real decision to have an entirely new life. I didn’t do it half way or temporarily. I am stubborn and feisty and I am never going back. On top of that, I am going to spread this as far as it will go. I want everyone to feel this incredible!

Emily – you are truly an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Join our Facebook family to connect with other moms who are starting or already on a journey to better health.

Simple & Effective Way of Preparing for Childbirth


Preparing for Childbirth Using a Stability Ball

preparing for childbirthThe stability ball is one of our favorite workout tools for moms. We recommend them to all of our clients, no matter the stage of motherhood they’re in (trying to conceive, expecting or new mom). Why? Because stability balls are inexpensive, versatile, effective and can be used throughout all stages of motherhood. Unlike a lot of pregnancy specific products (like pregnancy pillows, maternity clothes, etc), stability balls will still be useful to you after your bundle of joy arrives. Pretty wise investment we think.

The focus of today’s post is on how the stability ball is useful in preparing for childbirth.

Sitting on the ball improves your posture, which can help relieve common pregnancy discomforts and encourage your baby to move into the ideal head-down birthing position. Try using a stability ball in place of your office chair for a portion of the workday or sit on the ball instead of the couch while watching your favorite TV show.

Certain exercises, like the one shown in the video below, open up your hips and pelvis and help the baby descend into the pelvis to prepare for delivery. We recommend that expecting moms start doing exercises such as this one in the third trimester.

When purchasing a stability ball, size matters. You want to make sure and get a ball that’s sized appropriately for you. Below are some general sizing guidelines. Use these guidelines as a start but be sure to test out the ball to make sure it’s the right fit for you.

Your Height          Ball Size

5’0” to 5’5”                55cm

5’6” to 6’1”                65cm

Another ball-buying tip: purchase a “burst resistant” ball. We recommend this because in the event that the ball punctures, it won’t deflate rapidly. Much safer for you and your baby.

The right exercise program can be extremely effective in preparing for childbirth. Find out more.

How are you physically preparing for childbirth? Please share…

Second Trimester Exercise Tips


Second Trimester Exercise – Part II of Fit for Expecting’s Exercise-by-Trimester Tips (click here to read about first trimester exercise)

second trimester exerciseFortunately for many women, the second trimester brings with it a renewed energy and a decrease in morning sickness, which makes second trimester exercise feel more doable than first trimester exercise. For the health of you and your baby, take advantage of this time and incorporate a regular, balanced exercise program into your life.

Second Trimester Tips

  • If you didn’t exercise first trimester, there’s no better time to start than the present! If it’s been awhile since you’ve exercised or if you’re new to exercise, start slowly and ease into it. Start with 15 minutes of exercise and gradually increase the duration of your workouts. Seeking help from a qualified perinatal exercise specialist is probably the best and safest route, so you can be sure that your program is appropriate for you and will give you and your baby the most benefits.
  • Make exercise part of your routine. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women exercise for 30 minutes or more on most, if not all, days of the week. If that seems overwhelming, keep in mind that the 30 minutes doesn’t have to be all at once. Break it up into three 10-minute sessions or two 15-minute sessions. So maybe you go for a walk on your lunch break and then do a strength circuit when you get home from work. That’s definitely doable!
  • In second trimester, you might find that your balance is shaky at times. To prevent injury during second trimester exercise, be sure that you’re wearing properly fitted and supportive shoes. Also, if doing certain exercises, such as lunges, makes you feel like you’re going to topple over, hold onto a chair for support. There’s no shame in keeping you and your baby safe.
  • Resist the temptation to do too much. Often because women feel so much better in second trimester than in first trimester, there’s a tendency to want to make up for lost time and exercise to the max. Pregnancy is not the time to push yourself to the max. The goal with prenatal exercise is to maintain a healthy fitness level, not strive to beat your best mile time.

Ready to try some actual workouts? Try our indoor cardio workout below and then check out our mom workouts page for more workouts.

Second trimester moms – what are you doing for exercise? 

Gestational Diabetes – 3 Common Diet Mistakes


Today’s guest post “Gestational Diabetes – 3 Common Diet Mistakes” is written by registered dietitian and gestational diabetes expert Lily Nichols

gestational diabetesWhen the doctor said “You have gestational diabetes,” you practically broke down. You thought it couldn’t happen to you and now you’re completely overwhelmed trying to figure out how to manage it. Maybe you were given a glucose meter to check your blood sugar and you’re afraid of poking your finger. Maybe you were told your baby will come out big if you don’t change your diet. Most of all, you’re terrified that you might need insulin.

For some women, changing their diet and exercise is all that’s needed to lower blood sugar. Actually, diet and exercise are the primary treatments for gestational diabetes. That means there is a chance you won’t need medicine or insulin. Only your medical provider can make that call.

As a perinatal dietitian and diabetes educator for women with gestational diabetes, I’ve heard all of these concerns and more. The women in our OB/GYN office are lucky, because they get a full hour-long class with me to learn the ins and outs of eating to manage gestational diabetes. Plus, I continue to see them throughout their pregnancy, because what worked at 24 weeks might not work at week 36.

Those first few days (or weeks) after diagnosis and before they see me are rough. Most ladies end up starving themselves in an attempt to control their blood sugar because they don’t know any other way.

Luckily, there’s another way. Here are the 3 most common diet mistakes women make before they come to my gestational diabetes class:

Mistake #1 – Eating Low Fat

We’ve been told for so long that “fat will make us fat” or “low fat diets are healthy,” so it seems like reducing fat intake would be a good thing. The problem is, when you take the fat out of food, it tastes like cardboard, so food companies usually add other ingredients to the products to make them more palatable. Often, this means adding more sugar. And what does sugar do? It raises your blood sugar. So if you’re eating low-fat cookies thinking it will help your blood sugar, it might be doing the opposite.

Fat keeps you full for a long time and does not raise the blood sugar, meaning you don’t get hungry as often. If you’re struggling to wait the 1 to 2 hours after a meal to check your blood sugar, what you’re eating is not keeping you full for long enough. If you give in and eat more food during those 1 to 2 hours, your glucose readings will be inaccurate. And if you try to fill up on more carbohydrates (such as cereal, bread, pasta, potatoes, fruit or milk), your blood sugar will go up too much and you’ll get hungry quickly. On the other hand, if you eat slightly less carbohydrates and combine it with some fat (think bread + peanut butter, crackers + cheese or corn chips + guacamole), you’ll stay full longer and your blood sugar will likely come out at a normal level. Give it a try.

Mistake #2 – Starving Yourself

It would seem that not eating would help prevent blood sugar from going up, and that’s true. But, it could leave you with low blood sugar and may deprive the baby of necessary nutrients. Plus, women who ignore their hunger cues are more likely to ignore their fullness cues. In other words, you’ll binge later if you starve yourself now. Instead of going without, plan small snacks into your day. Small amounts of food will only raise the blood sugar a small amount, enough to give you and the baby energy, but not too much to make your doctor worried. If you skip snacks, you’ll eat a lot at your next meal and big meals often mean high blood sugar. Think of feeding yourself just like you would feed a baby – small amounts spread throughout the day.

If your snacks or meals are not keeping you full for long, you might not be getting enough protein. A piece of fruit by itself won’t keep you full for long, and neither will a small handful of crackers. Just like fat, protein keeps you full for much longer than carbohydrates and doesn’t make your blood sugar go up. Aim for 7-15 grams of protein at each snack. Consider trying greek yogurt, which has double or triple the protein of regular yogurt and less carbohydrates. Other options would be: hard boiled egg, string cheese, cottage cheese, nuts (any kind), peanut butter, beef jerky, and cooked chicken or meat.

Also, non-starchy vegetables (anything other than potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas and winter squash) can help fill you up without spiking your blood sugar and will give additional beneficial nutrients to the baby, like folate and vitamin C. We all know we need to eat more vegetables.

Mistake #3  – Not Checking Your Blood Sugar

Maybe you’re afraid of poking yourself, you think it will hurt, or you’re nervous about seeing a high number. These are all normal concerns that should be shared with your healthcare team. If you ignore or “conveniently forget” to check your blood sugar too often, your doctor will have no way of knowing how you are doing. It’s especially important to check your first morning blood sugar, also called your fasting blood sugar. This is an indication of your baseline blood sugar without food in your body and helps give insight into what your blood sugar levels are like overnight, which when you think about it, is almost half of the hours in a day.

If your fasting blood sugar is high (typically anything above 90 or 95 mg/dl), that means baby may have been exposed to high blood sugar all night long, which can make the baby grow too big or lead to other complications at birth and beyond. Babies of moms who have poorly controlled diabetes during pregnancy are more likely to become overweight, obese or diabetic in their lifetime. That is not fate or destiny. It is within your control to give your child the healthiest start in life and it begins with monitoring your blood sugar now. Numbers are not good or bad and they say nothing about you or your self-worth. Blood sugar readings are simply information that your doctor uses to make decisions about how to best care for you and your baby. Think of it like the speedometer on your car or the thermostat in your house. I suggest keeping your meter at your bedside next to your alarm, so you see it right when you wake up as a reminder.

For many women, having gestational diabetes is an incredibly positive experience. It’s a chance to focus on making good food choices to grow a healthy baby. If you want to learn more about managing gestational diabetes through diet, feel free to contact me. I work one-on-one with a limited number of highly motivated expecting moms via phone or Skype.

Contact Fit for Expecting to get started with an exercise program to help manage your gestational diabetes.

About the author: Lily Nichols – RD, CLT is a registered dietitian, nutrition consultant, and certified pilates instructor. A foodie at heart, she teaches her clients how to reconnect with food, so healthy eating becomes mindful and satisfying, not forced. Her private practice, Nichols Nutrition , focuses on integrative whole-food nutrition, food sensitivities, and prenatal nutrition. An expert in gestational diabetes, Lily has consulted for the California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program: Sweet Success, helping to revise their Guidelines for Care. She is a frequent speaker at professional conferences on prenatal nutrition.  For free tips on healthy eating, be sure to sign up for her weekly email updates.

Staying Motivated on a Weight Loss Journey


Today’s guest post, “Staying Motivated on a Weight Loss Journey” is part three of Emily’s story. As part of our commitment to motivate and inspire moms to prioritize their health, we’re sharing stories from real moms. If you missed Emily’s previous posts, click here to catch upJoin our Facebook family to connect with other moms who are starting or already on a journey to better health. 

staying motivated on a weight loss journeyEnergy is contagious. Negative energy gathers more negative energy, bringing down not only you, but those around you. Of course, positive energy works the same way, having a good attitude can brighten the day of those around you. After I had my rock bottom moment and decided that I couldn’t stay where I was another moment, my excitement and enthusiasm for the changes I was making became contagious and unstoppable. At least for a little while.

Seeing positive changes in your own body can also be a huge motivator. I was seeing changes slowly and steadily which kept me going, but after a few months and about 20 pounds gone I noticed that my motivation was lacking. This same situation had happened many times in my past experience with diet and exercise, and this would typically be the time I would give up. But this time I was determined to succeed, and so I started thinking about why my motivation was lacking. I was doing great with my food, but the exercise DVDs I had were ones I had done for years and years. I finally realized that I was so very, very bored.

Some people are runners; they love being outside in the world listening to the slap of their feet on the pavement and the great running mix they programmed into their MP3 player. Some people are swimmers; they love speeding through the cool water to the rhythm of their breath and the strokes. As I began experimenting with different types of exercise, I was surprised to learn that I am a dancer. I am a dancer with no coordination or skill, but dancing speaks to my soul and calls me back, makes it okay to wake up early each morning and move. I found some DVDs that I enjoy that combine dance with strength training, and suddenly my motivation and enthusiasm were back as strong as ever and my weight loss accelerated.

I think that there is a perfect exercise out there for everyone, something that they would want to do everyday even if it didn’t help them lose weight. That thing may change over time as people change, but there is always a good way for each person to get up and move.

Now that I found my perfect, soul mate exercise, I was able to stay motivated and soon my goal weight was in sight. The day I met my goal weight was so exciting! I soon realized, though, that even though I was finally at this “perfect” weight that I used to think was unattainable, I actually wasn’t done yet. I had gone from 190 pounds to 140, from clinically obese to a weight within the healthy range. But the next week I was down another pound, and the next week another, until soon I settled in nicely at 130 pounds. I hadn’t actively tried for the extra 10 pounds, but with me still fueling myself correctly and making sure to move daily, my body just naturally settled in to a better weight for me.

I now had a new wonderful problem, none of my clothes fit! The day I cleaned all my old, too big clothes out of my closet was one of mixed feelings. It was as if I was looking my old self in the eye and saying goodbye forever. I took everything that didn’t fit anymore and donated it. Part of me said to hang onto those clothes just in case I slipped and ended up that size again, but recognizing those thoughts made me even more determined to get those old clothes long gone. My closet looked so much emptier, but I couldn’t have been happier!

So I was finally at my goal weight and beyond, the old clothes were cleaned out and gone, but the questioned remained, could I maintain this new lifestyle? I had always been the yo-yo dieter, was I destined to go back to being obese?

To be continued…

Weigh-in: what are your tips for staying motivated on a weight loss journey or journey to better health?

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