This story begins in a harshly-lit dressing room located in the heart of downtown Vancouver. I’m standing idle, fixated on my reflection and not in a good way. We tend to underestimate the power of the dressing room mirror. It has the potential to make or break our self-esteem. The right lighting can boost an otherwise fragile ego, especially if you’ve managed to close the zip on those skin-tight jeans.
Our confidence is at risk every time we step into a dressing room. It’s a game of emotional Russian roulette. All it takes is one hit of bad lighting, and suddenly you’re reduced to an insecure, neurotic mess.
I’ve had my fair share of such instances, but thankfully I’ve lived to tell the tale. My most recent encounter with an evil, soul-destroying mirror took place last Christmas. I was shopping for a festive style dress to wear to an upcoming party.
What should have been a blissful afternoon of self-indulgent spending, quickly descended into turmoil. Glaring back at me amidst some seriously unfortunate lighting, was a reflection unlike the one I’ve become accustomed to. I found myself struggling to find a dress capable of concealing my new lumps and bumps. I quickly became familiar with Spanx, and other tummy-controlling weaponry.
For the last 35 years I’ve been blessed with an ironclad metabolism. I’ve pretty much been able to eat whatever I like with very little consequence. Exercise was always a choice, and never a necessity. People often marveled at my ability to chow down on grease-filled takeaways, yet maintain such a petite frame.
I’ve always been an advocate for self-love and acceptance. I want to love my body no matter what shape it takes. But I also want to feel comfortable in my own skin. I now have the difficult task of changing a lifetime’s worth of bad habits.
The problem is I’m a self-confessed lady of leisure. I have a tendency to oversleep, and love nothing more than indulging in an afternoon nap. I also cherish my couch time, especially after work. When I get home, the transition from office attire to pajamas is done quicker than a tire change at the Grand Prix.
I’m prone to extreme procrastination. However, I figured there’s no better time to initiate change than the start of a new year. Every January social media becomes flooded with “new year, new me” pledges. Like many others I vowed to join a gym this year. New Year’s resolutions tend to have a life expectancy of a few weeks. But somehow I’ve managed to maintain my motivation.
I've made it to March and so far my commitment to fitness remains intact. Believe me, no one is more amazed by this than I am. So how have I done it? I am the furthest thing from an expert when it comes to fitness. However I wanted to share a few tips that I think could help my fellow lazy counterparts.
When it comes to joining a gym, location is crucial. You want to eliminate all potential excuses. I tried to convince myself that I could save money by working out at home. But I had to be realistic. The second I enter my house it’s game over. The allure of the couch is far too tempting. So I decided to find a gym that was as close to my work as possible. I can now squeeze in a workout before I head home.
2.) The “Get In, Get Out” philosophy:
The idea of a rigorous and extensive workout can be daunting, especially at 5pm on a weekday. I have adopted a less is more kind of approach. I’ve picked a specific exercise to target each of my problem areas. I want my time in the gym to be effective, but I also want it to be brief. After all I have a demanding TV schedule to get home to.
3.) Put down the smartphone!
I accept that a lot of gym users rely on their phones to provide motivational music. A good playlist is vital, especially when it comes to cardio. I can’t face the dreaded treadmill without listening to my favourite Britney Spears megamix. However, all too often I see people sitting on exercise machines typing (or swiping) away. “Starve your distractions, feed your focus”. (Goleman, Daniel)
I only allow myself 30 seconds between reps, otherwise I run the risk of losing momentum and focus.
4.) Manage your expectations:
In the past I’ve let gym memberships go stale because I couldn’t see results quick enough. I became disheartened. This was a direct result of unrealistic expectations, coupled with a lack of patience. This time around I celebrate the small victories.
Joining a gym started out as an attempt to regain my former physique. However it’s evolved into something more profound. Nothing can top the sensation you get when you leave the gym after a good workout. You feel like you can conquer anything. This renewed sense of confidence has done wonders for my mental health.
I will always be a lazy girl at heart. I still take naps and sleep until noon on a Saturday. But I have to say those naps are even better now because I feel like I’ve earned them.