In my 40 years on this earth, I have never found an exercise that appeals to me enough to actually keep doing it. For example, I like yoga. It’s stress-reducing and actually would be good for my anxiety, but you can’t just do it once and call it a day. I have to keep doing it, and that is not my cup of tea. Setting healthy goals and continuing to make the right choices each and every day isn’t a simple matter for me.
Do you feel the same?
Even though I’m lazy (Yes! I admit it,) physical and mental wellness are important to me. I am mom to two incredible littles and wife to my favorite man in the world. I need to be around for them, and frankly for me. I want to try as best I can to be confident, happy and healthy even though I hate exercise.
So what’s an exercise hater to do?
How do I inspire myself to reach my healthy goals?
Technology, for me, has become a real motivator for making better choices when it comes to my health. I’ve found support, encouragement and inspiration, seriously, I’m not joking…from technology.
Since having my last baby 4 1/2 years ago, my body image has been on a roller coaster. About 2 years ago I motivated and lost over 30 lbs and kept most of it off for a while, but this year I started to realize I was slipping. So much of me was slipping, mentally and physically. With about 20 pounds back on, my stress and anxiety levels rising, and my confidence waning, John (who was in a similar boat) and I decided to make some changes.
About one month ago, we each picked up fitness trackers and decided to start focusing on increasing our steps, our sleep, our water intake, and our healthy eating. I reminded myself that my health or lack thereof was not just about exercise. During the past year I had stopped paying attention to everything: to what I was ingesting; to what I was doing physically, such as sleep and exercise; and therefore had stopped noticing what my actions were doing to me. It’s pretty amazing what a device, app and web site can do to keep me aware of all of that information.
Being connected and interacting each day has gotten me back on track.
Fitbit: John and I both purchased a Fitbit Flex (the bracelet kind) and got it all set up and connected. Neither of us had used this type of device before and I was honestly skeptical whether or not it would actually help me. But my psychiatrist requested that I track my sleep for mental health purposes, and she mentioned the Fitbit as an option. With doctor’s request in hand, we took the plunge.
We can automatically track steps, calories burned, and sleep, which has been incredibly interesting. There are also manual ways to monitor weight, calorie intake and water intake. I started by tracking my sleep, and then made the commitment to check my steps and weight each day. Seeing those numbers in black and white every day motivates me to try to improve on an ongoing basis.
Doing it with John has been so helpful and we’ve even been able to connect our Fitbits to “compete” for steps. We keep each other accountable. I can’t stress how important social support is for the lazy exercise hater like me.
Balance Rewards healthy choices: As a long term Walgreens customer, we’ve been #BalanceRewards members for a long time, so we’ve always gotten points for purchases. But after buying the Fitbit, I discovered that I could connect it to my Balance Rewards account via their healthy choices program.
With each step I take, and every time I enter other tracking info (such as weight, blood pressure or blood glucose) I earn points. Knowing that I’m getting points toward money off my purchases at Walgreens has been a motivator too. Plus I get fun badges and awards as I hit milestones, which is nice to see in the inbox.
You can manually track using Walgreens healthy choices app or web site, and you have the option to connect other Fitbit devices, the Jawbone Up, and certain fitness apps as well like MyFitnessPal, for example and you get rewarded when you link up. There are also features to connect with friends, make groups and join forums, which is awesome for social support.
Connect with Friends: Speaking of connecting, the social support has been key for me. In addition to the connections I talked about above, John and I also have a small Facebook group with a few other friends where we report our progress each day. This group was vital to my weight-loss two years ago and again has been great this time around. Finding the right supportive social connections, whether via Fitbit or Balance Rewards or Social Media can go a very long way to hit healthy goals.
Other Tools: There are also other offline tools that I’ve integrated into my daily routine that make the tracking possible. The most important for me have been the scale for daily weigh ins (yes I said daily) and a good water bottle (for which I know the exact ounces) that I carry around.
For weight loss and management, we’ve been focusing on a no to low carb diet that worked very well for me two years ago. If I stick to the weight management phase, I actually do awesome. Just remind me to stick to it! I’ll be sharing more about what we’ve been doing soon. It has been less than one month this time around, but I’ve lost 5.6 lbs, have been sleeping better (yay!) and have been drinking loads more water.
I’m not always good about my steps, but some days visibly seeing the counts motivates me more than usual. I do think in general I’m moving more. But of course I’m glad school is almost back in session so I’ll have the extra walks to the bus stop to help me reach those step goals.
I do believe I’m well on my way to hitting those health goals, and I’m feeling pretty inspired in the process.
Do you use tech to improve your health?