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Thoughtful Thursday~I really don’t like exercising & I love to eat whatever I want

It’s true. I really don’t like exercising.

I’m not the person that exercises because I enjoy it.  I wish I was that person that when I got “stressed out” I needed a run to decompress….to clear my head.  Nope, that’s not me.

I do it pure and simple to lose weight. In the vicious cycle of weight gain/loss from 4 babies, it’s a roller coaster of back and forth with my body.

(Vermont, October 2009–6 months after last baby)

I have generally been fine with the fact that I’m an “average” size.  I don’t feel overweight, recognize I’m not super slender, but every  once in a while I get to thinking that slimming down  would be nice.

I picture in my head an ultra athletic physique and get determined to change.  Change how I eat and change how I work my body.  But it goes in cycles.  Then I get annoyed when I don’t see change and revolt against the whole regimen and eat whatever I want and not exercise at all just to “show those slender athletic thoughts” that I can be just fine how I am.

I’ve decided that generally, it’s not a good idea to talk about your weight in groups…especially when you are out to eat. I’ve been annoyed when I’m digging into the creamy jalapeno dip with my endless basket of tortilla chips at a restaurant when someone else has the will power to abstain (and vocalizes it), I wanted to be the devils advocate.   Remembering that when the tables were turned and I was “watching more carefully,”  I told myself I wasn’t going to talk about it.  I was just going to sip my water…until JUST before my meal when I would allow myself a handful of heaven. It just makes people feel bad about their choices to have announced yours.

I have found that having one or two close friends to confide in (that are on a similar level with similar goals) is helpful.  You help each other out, don’t feel judged, have someone to be somewhat accountable to.

{France, July 2006–1 year after 3rd child}

  This past year has been a breakthrough for me.  In the past 10 years my exercise would kick into high gear from about 2-8 months post baby.  I’d slim down enough to a happy place…then plateau. When I trained for my half marathon last year, I thought FOR SURE that the pounds would shed off with the sweat for each mile that I trained.  In my mind, I thought I’d be a happy size 4–that athletic ideal in my head, when I crossed the finish line. When it was all said and done, my clothes were slightly looser, but the number on the scale didn’t change.

Let me also add that I actually don’t own a scale.   I’ve never cared about that number.  I know about what I weigh, but never put much stock into it. I don’t think it’s a good idea to weigh every day, and stress about it.

My husband is convinced that in order for me to exercise, I have to make it a social event. It’s SO true!  I loved getting together with my friends to run…early morning…late at  night….several hours of chatting about life.  And not just surface conversation, real-ness.   We talked about our kids, our husbands, our parents, our siblings, our highs, our lows, everything. I SO needed that last year.  Having moved to a new place and  having so much surface conversation for so long, I craved what the exercise was giving me in the form of conversation.  I thought it was the socializing, but I started enjoying running.  My husband was impressed with me (he is SUPER athletic:  runner/cyclist) and though I didn’t look forward to the exercise part of the runs, I felt happy after it.   It felt GREAT to run the half marathon, but after…I was pretty let down that my body hadn’t changed much.  I expected more.

So, I gave up.  I went from running a ton–4 or 5 times a week to NOTHING. Revolt, I tell ya. After a summer of that, it didn’t make me feel any better. I knew when school started for my kids….I had to do something else. I had joined a few gyms off and on throughout the years, and had trouble with either childcare or not wanting to pay a monthly or just feeling lazy, no great motivation.

Last fall, after I realized a handful of my friend were at one particular gym, I joined, and I’ve gone pretty regularly since September. M/W/F I go to an hour long class at the gym (kick box, step aerobics, weights).  Starting in November I began running again on T/Th mornings.  I’m sortof resentful exercising at all because a) I like to be lazy and lounge in my p.j.’s all morning b) I still haven’t seen much of a change.  It wasn’t until the week after Halloween when I had shoved way too many mini butterfingers down my throat that for the first time…I made a BIG change.  A change that I never wanted to tie myself down to…but I have found quite liberating. You wanna know?

I started counting calories.  I know!  Annoying, right?  Never, never, never did I want to do that. WAY too much effort, how do you figure it all out? Measure, scales, ugh! I just got a smart phone a few months ago, and a friend told me about the app, Lose it. I was so annoyed with myself (remember the butterfingers) that I had to try something else, because my regular exercise alone was not making a difference.  So mid November, just before Thanksgiving, it began. My mental dedication to eating better and sticking with the exercise.

THIS is what I found liberating:  I told the app that I wanted to lose 20 pounds (I’d be SO happy with 15) by a certain date and was alloted 1000 calories a day to reach that goal. BUT my workouts being an hour long and sweating pretty hard core, I am alotted about 500 more calories.  I type it all in, the app can scan bar codes (awesome, right) and I am now accountable for everything (food and exercise).  So even though it is tedious, it generally works out every day that I have a few hundred calories left over and I can have little treats, and its enough to satisfy (not gorge) myself.

When I first looked up my favorite Dominoes pizza, I was quite dis-heartened to realize it was 1000 calories a slice.   I was SO  happy when a few weeks later, I realized it was only about 350 a slice (oopsy on that one)!  I guzzled a bunch of water, had an apple before and then slowly enjoyed one slice, then another.

All through December, I was SO good. Then vacation, family, eating out, less control, wanting to enjoy good food…got in the way over Christmas.  I am now finding it difficult to get back in that routine. I revolted last week and dragged my feet into the gym on Monday this week.  A sweet friend of mine said at the beginning of our class:  Don’t you just love how you feel during/at the end of this?  And my trying to have a good attitude, but wanting to be truthful said, “I feel good that I’ve done it.”

{San Diego, August 2008–thinnest I’ve been since having children}

I don’t love it, I wish I did…but I don’t. I don’t LIKE eating well, I don’t LIKE exercising, but I want to feel better, I want to have a single digit pants size, I don’t want the muffin top.

One of my current favorite quotes to my kids when they tell me, “I can’t help it, it’s how I am” is this: “The natural man is an enemy to God.” We can learn to control those natural tendencies that are not good for us.  We may not want to, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t. SO, maybe blurting all this will give me some sort of accountability to report back, not sure.

I am inspired by stories like Amanda’s and enjoying little tidbits pop up on Pinterest about healthy snack ideas. And these 100 Healthy snack ideas along with 15 small changes to weight loss.  A few years ago, I got a book (that I need to pull out again) that had 365 tips to healthy living that I really really enjoyed. Found here.

It’s a mental battle, that I wish were short term, but it’s not. I have never liked the idea of a diet.  It’s lifestyle changes.

{I know this is really long and wouldn’t be surprised if most people ditched reading a quarter of the way through. Remember how you said you wanted to hear my thoughts…well, I have a lot to say.  Thoughtful Thursday has a nice ring to it…not every Thursday, just when I have something to say.}

Do you have any great healthy tips to share?  Have you struggled with this, too? Talk to me.

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  1. Weight loss is SO hard for me. I go through the cycles as well… I’d be great at it, lose 5 lbs, then nothing… Ugh! However, I’m kind of surprised your Lose It app told you to eat 1000 calories! Everybody needs minimum of 1200 calories just to keep their body working. Then, you can add the 500 calories to that number. If you haven’t been to Mandi’s website (trainer momma), then you need to go. She has some amazing advice about working out, eating, how to lose weight, etc…. (she’s on a blogging hiatus right now b/c of her new baby). But, she.. along w/ all other trainers & nutritionists out there say minimum of 1200 calories a body needs. GOod luck! Keep posting about it! It makes me want to do more!

  2. Hi! First of all: I get it. 100%. Right there with you. Great post, and thank you. #2: congrats on running. Running has been a kinda-sorta goal of mine for a while and I start and stop…. because seriously, it´s tiring. I know, lame excuse. I “like” exercising at home, and I´ve been doing it for a while. I have an elliptical machine, a pilates ball & mat and some resistance bands. I should – I really should, be doing better than I am, but well… I LOVE to cook, and I really like food. The other day at a doc appointment he said: “look, you have to understand that being overweight is an illness, and it kills more than cancer. it´s something you have to get a hold of and change”. Well, yeah. Tough love. I admire you progress and attitude, and I hope you reach the goals you have. It´s inspiring to read your post and makes me want to try a little harder.
    Thanks for sharing…. I have quite a few skinny friends and the internet seems populated by skinny women with amazing blogs saying it´s no hardship, that´s just the way they are. Well, it´s great to read a post that shares my feelings… that it´s not that easy.
    Keep going, keep trying and forgive yourself when you don´t have a great day.
    I do believe we can reach our goals! :)

  3. Your attitude is the exact twin of mine! I mean, exactly! I’ll have to try that app – your self-portraits are proof that it’s been working for you. I soo wish there were greater obvious instant rewards, it would make the process lots easier. Great job!

  4. Me too! I love to eat, but don’t like to exercise. It never bothered me too much before, but as I’m getting older…being healthy and body image is at a higher priority! I’ll have to check out the book, looks like a good read with great tips! Thanks for sharing and motivating the rest of us! Keep it up!

  5. It’s such a battle, isn’t it?

    I’ve lost about 53 pounds in the last almost 2 years, and it’s been slow, slow going. It’s taken a huge chunk of my time, and a large amount of stressing and thinking about it and just lots and lots of willpower to continually make the choices that will get me there.

    The calorie counting thing works for me, too. I feel like you have to know how much you’re eating. I know for me I was clueless. I thought I was eating healthy, but I was eating way more than I needed to. No wonder I never lost weight before. I have been using MyPlate at I love that I can put in my exercise in it and it will compensate and give me extra calories for the day based on what I do. I also can track water on it (glasses per day) which for me has proved crucial.

    What works for me? Lots of veggies, lots of water, a little each of whole grains and dairy and meat and no refined carbs or sugars. It’s difficult to stick to for weeks and weeks on end, but I allow myself “cheat” days when I don’t track, too. That helps me feel normal. ;o) But then, I find after eating well for so long (a week or two or whatever) then I eat junk and I feel like crap. Stomachaches and grouchy. So, that’s just a testament to me that our bodies are adaptable and strong and they get used to the healthy stuff!!

    I never used to like exercise, either, but now I find myself craving it. I didn’t work out Tuesday, but got up an hour early yesterday to go on a run. It was wonderful and instead of wearing me out it just kept me going the rest of the day!

    Sorry. That was a novel of a comment, but it’s something that has been near and dear to my heart lately!

  6. Oh, I hear you! I have four kids too (my youngest is 16 months) and it is an uphill battle for me to lose weight. I do actually enjoy the exercising part of it, but I get frustrated easily when I don’t make progress after weeks of diligently counting calories and getting up at 545am to exercise. My question for myself today has been Maybe I just need to accept my new after birthing babies body? I actually packed up all my single digit size pants and took them downstairs. I’m still going to try to fit in them, but staring at them every day was depressing!! Thanks for posting this today, it was so nice to read it today. One of the best weight loss programs I’ve done is Body for Life. You eat six small meals a day and combine a car and a protein at each one, adding veggies to two of them. And you get one free day per week. Good luck!!

  7. Kristen, I am so so with you I hate exercise, I used to years ago in my early 20′s LOVE to run, but after kids it seemed like such a chore to fit it into my day I’ve battle my weight my whole life being as small as 123 for a almost 5ft 9 inch tall body to wearing a size 16 to a size 10 now but I struggle with wanting my 4′s back on. I lost a bunch of weight a few years ago and got very unhealthy from it, my doctor actually told me eat some junk, I listened gained weight and I felt great. I haven’t had any health issues since. But as my clothes size numbers have went up I battle with that part of me that thinks I should be paper thin…ugh… I wish she would shut up…lol… But I was raised by a mother who always told me how I should look and it was drilled in my head that I should have a super model thin body. I don’t think anyone should have to be anything but HAPPY… I wish for all of us to find just that HAPPY and Joy with who we are and not what we think we should be or what the scale says… I wish you the best on this journey…Lisa

  8. My attitude about food and losing weight was just like yours. Then I started having health issues and determined it was time to do something because I was tired of feeling horrible all the time. I started my own “Project Skinny Me” with a couple of friends of mine and with the help of an iPhone app called My Fitness Pal, I lost 35 pounds counting calories over about a 9 month period. I’m feeling better and maintaining my weight. Feels good! You can do it!! :)

  9. Deb Kepiro says:

    Love the honesty! (the andes cookie recipe on the sidebar of your blog is killing me right now!) I found the book…Made to Crave this year and it is really motivating me to make change and to celebrate the small changes…like discipline. This is such a challenge in my life …I as well hate exercise. I am tired of being the “heavy” friend so I am making changes…small daily healthy changes.

  10. GREAT post! very relatable!! I hadn’t been to body combat in f-o-r-e-v-e-r and YOU (and your sore muscles;) are what motivated me to go today. I’m slightly obsessed with the “fitness pal” app…it’s awesome and helps “keep me in line” with my bad eating habits when I’m stressed. thanks for sharing;)
    ps- you look great- just for the record!

  11. Have been following your blog (LOVE!)for a year now and this is my first comment! I am in the same boat.I had a hard time losing baby weight…still working on the last 10. What helps me continue to work when the scale and/or the fit of my clothes isn’t changing is thinking about how I’m modeling HEALTHY choices for my kids, my daughter especially. I try to remind myself that those precious minutes exercising were not for nothing. Exercising made me healthier for my family.
    Stepping off my soapbox for a bit…I started running recently and as much as I despise it, I feel good when it’s done?!?! Cardio is the least favorite part of my workout.
    What helps me is good music, doing cardio outside when possible and thinking about how I can splurge a little if I work harder! Just started counting calories along with my hubs and it’s eye opening!
    Keep up the hard work…you can do it!

  12. Great Post Kristen! I think there are a lot of us who can 100% agree with you on this. I decided that this is the year I will get healthy. Losing weight would be great (actually my goal is to lose 16 pounds from January 1) but feeling good and healthy is what I am really hoping for! I have decided to post delicious, HEALTHY recipes once a week at my blog! Come try them out sometime! We can all do this! :)

  13. Oh how I can so relate! Except you are doing more than me. Exercise is a naughty word in my book. When I make myself do it, I do feel better but it is that mental hurdle like, you said, to get up the gumption to actually do it. I might could do the gym if I could afford it but run? No way! I prefer playing a sport of some kind for exercise. Anyway, I so saw myself in what you were saying. Thanks for sharing. It did give me a little kick in the pants. Maybe I’ll get back at something. Good luck to ya!

  14. Before I got to the part about counting calories, I was thinking about telling you about my calorie counting experience! I fully believe in doing it, but I used another little piece of technology to further it. I got a Polar heart rate monitor/calorie counter. It’s like the Body Bugg they wear on the Biggest Loser, but I think it’s better. My goal was to burn at least 500 more calories/day than I ate, so the Polar + the tedious recording of what I ate each day really helped. I felt like it was more helpful than counting calories alone. We could talk about it at playgroup sometime, but that would probably be a group setting. ha!

  15. Kristen Duke says:

    Thank you everyone for your thoughts and tips and what works for you, and just that you get it!

  16. I totally understand…keep fighting!!!
    BTW, if you ever come to Spain…could you let me know? I am in love with your pictures…I would love to have a couple photo session by you!!!

  17. Have struggled with this too and I have a major chocolate addiction. Was doing great with running, but then had to have one foot surgery — recovery; then the other foot and am still in recovery. So hoping to get back to bicycling (which doesn’t hurt the foot) and then back to running! Keep at it!

  18. Kristen, I love your blog. This post really hit home. It’s exactly how I feel. I managed to lose weight years ago, but I’ve struggled with the same 5 pounds over and over again. I followed a similar route as you did. I started running. I ran a couple of half marathons, and even completed a marathon, then I quit running. I’ll still run every once in a while, but I’ve never managed to get back to a regular schedule that sticks. I really appreciate when you write about the friendships you had when running. Before I moved to the US (from Canada), I had a great friend who I loved running with and we pushed each other on bad days just to get out there. Since living here, I haven’t found that same connection with anyone who I can run with regularly. I’ve just decided to get a 10K running app and try to go with that and see if I can get back to that level. I’m not sure that I’ll do another marathon, and I’m ok with that. However, I would like it to be comfortable to run 5 or 10K. The app I bought was 10K runner. We’ll see how it goes! Good luck to you as well.

  19. My best advice for health, wellness and weight loss that won’t require you to count calories or exercise (unless you feel like it) is to stop eating grains. Sounds extreme doesn’t it? I too had baby weight from baby #4 lingering and my journey lead me to Mark Sisson’s Primal Blue Print OR 21 Day Transformation. I don’t count calories EVER (no app needed!) and lost 20 lbs. You have to be willing to cook and plan, but you will feel better than ever and you don’t have to run half marathons. We eat real food…meat, veggies, good fats, tons of eggs, nuts, fruits and baked goods made from coconut flour and almond flour. My hubby also lost 40 lbs. when he STOPPED doing P90X and started eating real food. The book Wheat Belly is a great resource also. It gives the short version of why wheat is your enemy when trying to lose weight. AFter years of feeling hungry (even though I ate every two hours!) and tired, I’m greatly relieved that I don’t have to live that way anymore and the label in my new GAP jeans reads size 4. :) Best of luck to you!

  20. I love your title and can so relate… years of pregnancy, nursing, yo-yoing. All the best to you. I can already tell that my body is going to “bounce back” different after this baby is born… things are not the same the older you get!

  21. Love your honesty as I can relate to what you wrote but now I need to take action and sign up for a gym membership or start running! You look beautiful and love your energy. Could you share what the calorie counter app was on your phone that you used? I must use it as it may help me stay more on track. I just started doing the clean eating diet and love it as we have cut out all processed foods, but would like to keep track of my calories. Best of luck to you and again thank you for being so real.

  22. Oh, do I relate! Yes, I struggle with this too. Nearly word for word.
    I don’t own a scale. I know I weigh more than I “should.”
    I have friends heavier than me, and friends thinner than me.
    I don’t feel that I’ve lost any weight since my baby was born.. he’s about to turn 5 years old next month. (I hadn’t really thought that out that way before… My weight has not changed much, nor have I felt good about it in FIVE YEARS??”
    It’s not the weight number, but the way I feel. The way I feel in my jeans. I don’t feel comfortable with the way my clothes fit.
    I don’t have a specific weight loss goal, and I hate the idea of dieting.. it’s not me. I’d like to be a smaller pants size. I’d like to be comfortable with how my clothes fit.
    My excersize routines come & go with the changing seasons & weather here.. and with work loads on the computer. Editing photos is one thing that keeps me sitting around a LOT at certain times of the year. Then there is the loss of daylight, and the hectic schedule keeping up with the kids when they’re back to school in the fall. I hate using excuses, but it really is hard for me as a mom of five busy kids to find the proper time (or time when I have the energy) to exersize.
    I feel like I eat ok. I’m a light eater, but I like treats.
    Part of me screams – “life is short – eat chocoloate! Enjoy it while you’re here.” I believe in moderation, and I don’t think my eating is the cause of my body shape.
    I get frustrated that I could walk/run miles every day & not see ANY change.
    There are times when I almost convince myself that I’m satisfied that this is me, this is my shape.
    But I KNOW I’d feel better, because I’ve been thinner, before kids, even after some of them, and so I know it’s possible, some how. I just haven’t figured out how yet.
    Thank you for being honest & real, Kristen. Good luck. And I think you look amazing.

  23. susana galindo says:

    hola Kristen¡¡ que interesante todo lo q has escrito y tu hermosa familia ,soy de Mexico DF,y soy miembro de la iglesia desde 1976 ahora tengo 51 años 4 hijos y bueno aparte de tantas cosas q pudiera decirte,una cosa q me ha motivado es mi eterna lucha con mi peso y depresion he intentado mil dietas,,ahora yo estoy frustrada¡¡¡ hice por mucho tiempo ejercicio ,,,pero ahora estoy desmotivada muy cansada ,sin hacer nada y nunca habia pesado tanto ni embarazada ¡¡ paso 77 kilos con 1.48 cm de estatura …y no quisiera darme por vencida crees que en mexico pueda conseguir tu tratamiento para bajar de peso?? sera adecuado para mi?? te agradecere tu ayuda ¡¡¡ y felicidades por todo o que haces eres una santo de los ultimos dias muy especial¡¡¡


  1. […] I was tired of the struggle, but worked hard at exercising to shed some baby weight. I just wanted to eat whatever I wanted (funny post about that HERE). […]