Let me start by saying this before I began my wellness journey, I had aced the ‘lazy’ lifestyle. I had found shortcuts to make my keyboards, chairs and even my pillows, more ergonomic. In that quest, I had started ignoring my own body. This epiphany came between self-help books and sparked my motivation to get healthy.
But even before I could start, it seemed like I would self-sabotage by giving myself excuses to avoid exercising:
Excuse 1: It’s my right to relax with mindless consumption of Facebook & Netflix!
My couch disagreed with me on this, it creaked every time it was buried under my ever-increasing weight. My mind acknowledged the feedback, but then got distracted by its favourite TV series or snacks. After all, I had to know all about how the Dragon Queen died or how Harvey Specter saved his firm, courtesy the boundless curiosity created by the exhaustive world of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video!
However, these indulgences were neither soothing to the mind nor good for the body. Just diverting the thoughts for a bit, while the stress brewed stronger in the background, only to bounce back obsessively, demanding even more distractions.
Tired of the vicious cycle, I explored an antidote to my restless-self: Mindfulness!
I started spending 10 minutes every morning just to breathe and listen to my body. These became my ‘10 minutes into fitness in just 10 breaths’! I understood which parts creaked and what the mind stressed most about. I consciously corrected my posture or stretched a stiff neck/arm. I silenced the mind’s constant chatter and created a priority list for the day.
But most of all, I became conscious of the fact that I passively stressed about being unfit or unhealthy, but actively did nothing about it. The more aware I became of this, the more easily I was able to redirect the stress into flashes of inspiration towards a fitness routine.
Excuse 2: A fitness regime is boring!
I call them ‘flashes’ of inspiration, because the several fitness routines I pursued, ceased within a flash! The moment it became a routine, I got bored and started reducing the entire regime to just my favourite bits. My all-time favourite became the ‘shavasana’ or the resting pose, something I needed more of every time my alarm cried for attention, activating my finger’s easy access to the snooze button.
It took me a while to realise that we all have unique tastes when it comes to fitness and health. I could yawn myself into a slumber during meditation, sneakily skip sets while the trainer looked away or withhold cheat days from the dietician – all this if the regime did not excite me. So, I had to convert a boring routine into an exciting habit, and habits are easier to sustain than routines!
Now, the exercise regime did not matter, it could change daily just so it’s non-monotonous, yet effective at the same time. But, I applied my understanding of being mindful to how my body responded to the exercises. The more benefits I saw, the stronger and sustainable habits they became.
Excuse 3: I can’t regularly take out an hour for this!
This excuse had no counter, especially since I didn’t believe in routines. But because I now believed in habits I just converted the dedicated hour of fitness regime into a dedicated habit of an active lifestyle.
If I am unable to dedicate one hour to a fitness routine, I take out 10-minutes to do basic Surya-namaskars, full body stretches or just climb stairs/walk more during the day. I try to counter my hunger pangs with salads breaks, or just give in to my sugar cravings with one piece of chocolate instead of a bar. Above all, I give my body the priority it ached for, and fight the never-ending excuses! The universal fitness equation was now quite clear to me:
“Being Mindful = Healthy Lifestyle”