A few months ago, Lance and I made a deal. I had to work out 5 hours a week for 12 weeks in exchange for a $500 shopping spree. I had never felt more motivated to work out in my life! Even still, 5 hours a week is a large commitment. The first week I logged 4 hours, the next 5, then 3. For one entire week, I didn't work out a single time! I was seriously behind on my hours but was determined to push forward and make it to my shopping spree. It wasn't until last week (just 2 weeks shy of the end) that I realized I was not going to make my deadline. We had an especially crazy couple of weeks and I just couldn't commit the time necessary to reach my goal.
Of course I was completely bummed. Not only because I wanted the $500, but also because I had worked so hard up to that point! However, a crazy thing happened along the way. All of the sudden I realized that my motivation to work out had shifted from gaining something, to getting fit and treating my body right. I can actually say that I enjoy running now. And the next day when I went running for no reason other than I just wanted to, I felt more satisfaction and pleasure from it than I ever had before. It was exhilarating!
The other thing that's been exhilarating about this whole process is seeing the change in my body. I think being fit can be compared to getting good grades. Did you ever have a class where earning an A grade was exponentially harder than earning an A-? Earning an A- would take, say, 10 hours of work a week while earning an A would take 15 hours a week. Very few would earn the A but it meant a lot if you got it. That's how I feel about my body. I think I've been an A- most of my life - I've stayed relatively small, eaten pretty well, maintained the same weight since I was 16... but I really haven't done anything or put in that much effort for it.
Probably most people wont notice any difference but to me, it is so rewarding to see the little changes in my body! First I noticed my love handles were much smaller, next my face thinned down, then my arms and legs thinned down and lately I have started seeing the muscle tone improving. Not a single pound different, and I still fit in all the same clothes but it is so rewarding! The going was slow and the progress took awhile to notice but it's been very worth it!
My hope is that no one will feel discouraged or sad when reading this. I would hope that you will feel that it's worth it! If you would like to be in better shape, feel better about your body and have more energy, start today. Start your own 12 week challenge and see if your attitude about exercise doesn't change as well. Because none of us want's to be 40 thinking, "How did I get here?" And the only way around that is to start today; to be outside hitting the pavement every single day.
As a side note, I bought a few things for the shopping spree in advance and Lance is graciously letting me keep them because he sees how hard I have worked, even if I didn't reach my goal. So I did get new clothes out of it anyhow! :)