“I gotta work out. I keep saying it all the time. I keep saying I gotta start working out. It’s been about two months since I’ve worked out. And I just don’t have the time. Which uh..is odd. Because I have the time to go out to dinner. And uh..and watch tv. And get a bone density test. And uh.. try to figure out what my phone number spells in words.” – Ellen DeGeneres

Do you have five minutes? Whenever I’m avoiding something or don’t want to do something I say to myself “Everyone has 5 minutes. Set the timer and just do it for 5 minutes.” It’s not a matter of can I do it, but will I.

Many years ago when I wanted to figure out a way to lose weight permanently, I hated exercising. I’d made many previous attempts at exercising to lose weight and I was underwhelmed with my results. What I heard the experts saying about weight loss and exercise never panned out for me. I believed there was some connection between the two but I wasn’t sure what it was. I did however know that exercise was beneficial in other ways for my mind and body.

As I now wanted the best for myself, I decided to begin exercising in a way that was more comfortable for me. I didn’t listen to the general advice about how to exercise that I’d heard for so long and tried many times before. I started with 5 minutes one day a week. 5 minutes one day a week, I could do that. I wouldn’t hate it and it wouldn’t send me running the other way or avoiding it. In my own time what I found was, since I felt better doing 5 minutes one day a week I increased it to two days, then three and so on. After I increased the number of days, to a point that I actually liked, that felt right for me, I began to gradually increase the amount of time.

Don’t feel you have to listen to the generally accepted recommendations on exercise, or anything else for that matter, if it doesn’t fit for you. Figure out for yourself what’s the tiniest step you could take that doesn’t bring up a negative reaction inside of you and start there. You could start with something as simple as dancing to your favorite song, doing a few repetitions of any exercises you like while you’re watching TV, or substituting yardwork for exercise. Experiment and find what works for you. What makes it possible for you to enjoy exercise? This is a key point because if you enjoy it you’ll want to do it again.  Keep making the choices smaller and smaller until your mind and body say, “OK, I can do that”, or “yes, I’d like to try that.”

This is what I learned. Exercise isn’t just about being fit, healthy or looking better. It’s about caring enough about yourself to take care of YOU. So, I have a question for you. Do you matter, not to the other people in your life, but to you? Are you worth caring about? You may not know it or feel it now, but in the giant scheme of things you matter more than words can say.

With love, Jackie

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