Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pins for Motivation

This is going to be my biggest hurdle. I'm used to motivating myself with shame and guilt. But I just don't want to do that anymore. If you put "exercise motivation" in pinterest about 90% of it is how you are a terrible person now, and how you'll be an amazing person once you're thin; and won't your life be perfect then. Um, no. Actually, really, NO.

And then there's the ones that tell you to push on no matter how much it hurts. Again, NO. I'm not risking carrying a life-long injury for the sake of wanting to live up to a pin written by a nut-job. I'm over 40, I 'll take things at my pace thank you very much.

And then there's the ones that put other people down to push you up: "You might not be going fast, but you're lapping all the people on the couch". Honestly, I'm not doing this to be better than other people, but rather so I can feel better than I do now. Why would someone else's choice be a factor in how fast I go? Weird logic. Ditto for the "I want to be so good I'll inspire others" pins. Yuck. Can you say "narcissism"...

I do like the ones that promote the mental health aspect of exercise and of achieving goals. Like these:

And lastly, this reminder that no one feels motivated all the time without even trying:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Exercising for Happiness

A few months ago I attended the ICED conference in Boston where Dr Michael Otto was speaking. He is a professor of psychology at the University of Boston, and has written a book called 'Exercise for Mood and Anxiety'. It touched on a lot of important points for me.

I have read before that exercising makes you happier - but I have a history of over-exercising, so my experience has been the opposite. But Dr Otto stressed the point that in order to get the benefits of exercise there is a minimum AND maximum amount per session. And outside these boundaries you no longer get the good effects. That is, more is not better.

I want to try this out. And be scientific about it. I moderate an online support group for adults with eating disorders - and exercise is a very contentious issue. But Dr Otto was advocating this for people with dual eating disorder and depression diagnoses. But if I'm going to recommend it to people, I need to be confident of it. So I'm going to use myself as the guinea pig. Which means I need to stick with it. And stick with it within the boundaries that Dr Otto recommends.

So I need some SMART goals if I'm going to do this properly:
S (Specific): I have two goals and I'll use the first goal to test out the second.
Goal 1: I'm going to use training for next year's Master's Athletics Championships as my goal. I want to be able to run the 1500m in a competitve time. This will keep my training distance within a safe boundary for me - what's the point in running 50km when I only need to be able to run 1.5.
Goal 2: I want to feel better. I'm going to measure this using an app to chart my mood. Any suggestions?

M (Measurable): Goal 1: I need my time to be down around 5 mins. But first I need to be able to actually make 1.5 without stopping.
Goal 2: The app should make my mood measurable, and I should be able to see if there is an upward trend in my overall happiness.

A (Achievable): Goal 1: Yes, I can definitely run 1.5km. I'm fit(ish) and healthy.
Goal 2: Yes, I don't think there is any reason why I can't feel better than I feel now.

R (Relevant): I think that goal 1 is entirely relevant to goal 2. I want a goal that is going to help me stick to a health (mental and physical) outcome. Weight and weighing must play no part in this - and whether or not I gain or lose a kilo here and there will not be relevant to my overall time. Merely my fitness will.

T (Time bound): the competition is in April 2016. That gives me six months to test out this hypothesis.

I know that motivation is going to be a tough one for me. I'm very used to using the scales as my motivation, but as I don't want to do that this time, I'm going to need to be more creative. I'm going to reward myself with a copy of Dr Otto's book at the end of Week 1 as my first bit of motivation - I love books!!

So there is it. Written out in black and white. Hopefully this should help me to be able to refer back to when I forget what the point of all this is!!