Former couch potatoes... how long did it take you to make your lifestyle permanently active?

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  • nadeishiko
    nadeishiko Posts: 1 Member
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    First time posting. I only started logging just about a month ago, and frankly since New Years for more activity (no resolution, just worked out that way). Here's my story:

    I am 23 years old right now. I became a vegetarian during the summer of 2017 (unwilling at first out of solidarity, then ended up being the only one to stick to it). But I ended up realizing around the holidays that no meat doesn't translate to health. Thus I started to incorporate more greens and less chips into my diet. Soon after, I decided that I wanted to lose the extra pounds AND, more importantly, be healthy (a death in the family plus sudden diagnoses in my family made up my mind), so I started to force myself on the family's largely unused stationary bike. I was afraid I wouldn't stick to it since I have tried all sorts of videos and routines for years.

    Here is my "saying no to Netflix" hack: Say yes to Netflix, or youtube, or any other tantalizing screen. This is probably not the best for actually concentrating on my workout, but while half paying attention to whatever I am watching, I can also work on hitting my distance and speed goals while being distracted by something I like. I am restricting myself to watching a particular show (currently New Girl) only during my workouts, so if I want to watch, I just need to work out more. Just make sure your main focus stays with your routine!

    Also, it takes about 15-21 days to develop a habit. Do it daily for 3 weeks and you'll feel weird not doing it, provided you find something you enjoy. I just experienced that while on vacation last week (I gained back what I lost D:) and even though I walked so much, I felt wrong not doing my usual workout. I was surprised at how amazing it felt when I started again!

    Best of luck!
  • Cprys1
    Cprys1 Posts: 23 Member
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    Like many, I too have been on and off with the gym many times. 6 years ago I lost 40 lbs in one Summer by going to the gym every single day and eating semi healthy. Then I completely stopped. I gained about 10 lbs a year and every pound was put back on, plus about 15. Throughout these 6 years I’ve gotten “serious” about the gym at least 5 times. But I also have anxiety and am getting my degree in IT so I absolutely love just sitting in bed, coding, and watching Netflix. This time around, it’s still been a challenge for me but the one thing that has changed is that I realized that the gym is NOT a chore. I don’t HAVE to go, and no one really cares if I do or don’t. That to me made me feel more in control of the situation, and that much more motivated to actually go because I WANT to be healthier. And like others said, if I don’t go for a few days or weeks or months, I can just try again. Good luck with your journey!
  • sgt1372
    sgt1372 Posts: 3,994 Member
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    I'm retired and, unless I'm exercising, I'm still a couch potato too - either driving, sitting in front of the computer or TV or sitting in a chair while listening to music and/or reading. That's why I set my activity kevel to sedentary and log all exercise separately.

    When I started my current weight loss effort, I just incorporated lifting and then cardio as a regular part of my day. Over the padt 19 months, it has just become a habit (and more like a hobby) for me to lift for an hr every other day and to do cardio (mainly rowing) for at least an hr almost every day.

    Just second nature to me now but it helps that I have a full lifting setup in my garage and a rower in the house so that I can do tbem 24/7 anytime I want w/o the need to go to a gym.
  • danniej312
    danniej312 Posts: 24 Member
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    I’ve wanted to get into running for YEARS! I’ve tried multiple times and always failed. In January of this I started C25K, and I have been running since. I finally stuck to it and now running is becoming me. I started running three days a week and then at about 5 weeks in. I started running daily. It’s only been 7 weeks but I know this is who I am now. I have my first 5k in April (part of the reason I finally started running, it’s a charity 5k with my church) and just this past weekend I went above and beyond....and registered for my first Spartan race which is in December of this year! I’m also getting a gym membership so I can start training properly for the Spartan race. Running isn’t for everyone, but whatever has been interesting you, have a go at it and try to stick with it for a while. You may find you love whatever you do! It took 3-4 weeks for running to stop becoming a chore and to start becoming a passion. Up until then, I forced myself to do it.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 33,066 Member
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    The turning point for me was finding something I enjoyed so much that I'd do it even if it weren't good for me, just for the enjoyment. I was so terrible at it that I then started doing other things I didn't like nearly so much, just so I'd be get better able to do the thing I did like. I was pretty consistent from the start of doing this, which was around 15 years ago, when I was still obese.

    But to find it, I had to kiss a lot of frogs, metaphorically speaking. The initial motivation for trying things was trying to feel minimally decent again after back to back cancer treatment (surgery, chemo, radiation, Rx drugs) and hypothyroid diagnosis.

    I'm not sure how anyone could learn anything from that. I could say: Just try a bunch of different stuff, and stick with each at least long enough to get past the inevitable "awkward newbie" feeling . . . but you'd need a motivation to do that.

    Sorry.

    These days, I enjoy quite a lot of active stuff, as it blurred together a bit over time . . . and as I got fitter, more things felt doable, too, I guess.

    P.S. "It" was rowing, long skinny boats like the ones in the Olympics, only mine is slower. But that part doesn't really matter, because everyone's "it" will be different.
  • AudreyJDuke
    AudreyJDuke Posts: 1,092 Member
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    About 2 years, slow and steady
  • canadianlbs
    canadianlbs Posts: 5,199 Member
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    born, raised and going to die as a couch potato. i'm just a cp who lifts weights and travels mostly by bike.

    with that said, my turning point was not habit, but 'love'. for baffling reasons i really like lifting weights. and for different reasons idk, the bike thing just works better for me than all the hassle and glaggh of a car.
  • toxikon
    toxikon Posts: 2,383 Member
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    Wow, thanks everyone for sharing your stories! I really enjoyed reading everyone's experiences with being active.

    It's nice to know that most of you are couch-potatoes who have managed to commit a daily hour to being active.

    And I'm totally jealous of those of you who actually enjoy going to the gym!

    I think my main issue is just being in the slump of a long winter. I'm sick of snow and feeling cold and I have little motivation to go outside - even if it's just to drive to the gym.

    In the spring, summer and fall I love to walk. I desperately miss my outdoor walks in the warmth!

    I think finding a sustainable plan for me, that I will actually enjoy, will be good. I have been doing a bit of yoga for the past few weeks and actually looking forward to it after a day in the office, so I think I will continue to do that every day and try to find longer routines on Youtube to get a better workout from it.

    Then in the warm weather, I will return to my walking and maybe add a few weekly hikes too. And perhaps start C25k again (I've done it twice and had even done a few 10ks!).

    I think I just get hung up on the idea that I HAVE to go to the gym, I HAVE to lift weights... but if I know I don't enjoy it and can't stick to it, what's the point? In the long run, it's better to find activities you enjoy, right?

    Anyway. Thanks again y'all!
  • pondee629
    pondee629 Posts: 2,469 Member
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    Turning point? You're on a fools errand. It is an on going process, a day to day decision, if you're looking for that point in time where it will be an easy, reflex decision you're out of luck. Every day you have to draw on the dedication to get up and do it again.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 33,066 Member
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    pondee629 wrote: »
    Turning point? You're on a fools errand. It is an on going process, a day to day decision, if you're looking for that point in time where it will be an easy, reflex decision you're out of luck. Every day you have to draw on the dedication to get up and do it again.

    Wow, that's really grim and pessimistic!

    Good thing it's not universally true.

    Why does working out for an hour every day require dedication, but (say) knitting or watching TV for an hour a day doesn't?

    For some reason, a healthy way of eating and moving is so often seen as needing to be punitive misery in order to be good for us.

    Nope.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,865 Member
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    toxikon wrote: »
    Wow, thanks everyone for sharing your stories! I really enjoyed reading everyone's experiences with being active.

    It's nice to know that most of you are couch-potatoes who have managed to commit a daily hour to being active.

    And I'm totally jealous of those of you who actually enjoy going to the gym!

    I think my main issue is just being in the slump of a long winter. I'm sick of snow and feeling cold and I have little motivation to go outside - even if it's just to drive to the gym.

    In the spring, summer and fall I love to walk. I desperately miss my outdoor walks in the warmth!


    I think finding a sustainable plan for me, that I will actually enjoy, will be good. I have been doing a bit of yoga for the past few weeks and actually looking forward to it after a day in the office, so I think I will continue to do that every day and try to find longer routines on Youtube to get a better workout from it.

    Then in the warm weather, I will return to my walking and maybe add a few weekly hikes too. And perhaps start C25k again (I've done it twice and had even done a few 10ks!).

    I think I just get hung up on the idea that I HAVE to go to the gym, I HAVE to lift weights... but if I know I don't enjoy it and can't stick to it, what's the point? In the long run, it's better to find activities you enjoy, right?

    Anyway. Thanks again y'all!

    I think that's pretty normal, even for people who are fit and active.

    And Yes...
  • suzantn
    suzantn Posts: 2 Member
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    I am retired to in the winter it is hard for me to get motivated. I do workout 6 days a week without fail. Sunday is usually my rest day but even on that day I try to at least get in some cardio. I lift weights and I really prefer that to cardio. I am much more active in the summer because I love to be outside. The pool and sun are my thing so I love swimming and being outside. The winter is tough though.
    My suggestion is to just do it. Make an appointment to workout at least 3 to 5 days a week. Set an alarm to get up at least once an hour and just walk around, if that is what it takes. Also a fitbit does help because it reminds you to walk and it becomes a competition to see if you can do better than yesterday. Also join a group either on facebook or in person where you need to check in everyday to keep you accountable. Eventually it will become a habit. Now I can't even imagine not working out and I even workout on vacation if I can.
  • bbell1985
    bbell1985 Posts: 4,571 Member
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    I'm a coach potato and spend about 10-12 hours per week in the gym. I can't imagine sitting much more than I do...

    I got a trainer. Realized I loved being strong. Then never wanted to be average ever again.
  • Ghostofachance
    Ghostofachance Posts: 305 Member
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    Still a work in progress. There are days when I have to talk myself into going to the gym, but once I’m there, it’s time to get my work done. What keeps me going is that I always feel like I’ve accomplished something when I’m done and I’m starting to see real results. For me, it’s a combination of habit and a positive mindset.
  • lorrpb
    lorrpb Posts: 11,464 Member
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    I started and never stopped. I keep increasing my activity as I'm able to, I was desperate for change then and I'm dead set on not going back now. I don't know when it became "permanent" but it was a lot more than 21 days. Nearly 4 years later I mostly feel like it's permanent, but some days I feel like it wouldn't be that hard to let it all slip away. I guess that's what keeps me on my toes!
  • zeldon919
    zeldon919 Posts: 118 Member
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    So no idea, because I haven’t been to the gym in months. I was doing good for a month then life then winter and now I’m back at zero.

    But my gym has wifi, and if you have a tablet you can download from Netflix to watch offline. Honestly that’s the only thing that makes a cardio machine tolerable for me. It helps if you find a show you really like that great for working out (you don’t have to pay too close attention to follow and is well paced), and then only watch while working out. Even if your walking on a treadmill at turtle speed.

    And a killer workout playlist helps with the strength training. There are a bunch of options on Spotify, or make your own, but I find it helps a lot. Silently doing squats and leg presses and stuff is torture, but add a great playlist and it’s just unpleasant/annoying.

    Also I hear you about winter - I live in a city that gets very cold and a lot of snow. My hope is that if I start now that it’s nice, by next winter fitness will be a routine enough part of my life (maybe I’ll enjoy it, but I’m not counting on it) that I’ll be able to keep it up when it’s -20 and there’s giant snowbanks everywhere. I think that’s reasonable and realistic.
  • zmida
    zmida Posts: 35 Member
    edited March 2018
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    I'm a total couch potato and I'm back at it again after losing 30 pounds and gaining it all back. I heard something recently that really resonated with me, "self-discipline is self-love." I lack self-discipline so if I look at it as self-love hopefully it will help. Giving up what a want in the moment to have a happy and healthier future.
  • BeccaLoves2lift
    BeccaLoves2lift Posts: 375 Member
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    toxikon wrote: »
    Just a question I'm curious about. I'm a total couch-potato, I love watching movies, drawing, reading, crafting, playing games... not really physically active hobbies. The only active thing I actually seem to enjoy is going on walks with my audiobook.

    Over the years I've started and stopped many different programs (lifting, running, biking...), never really getting into a good groove for more than a few months. I've started so many beginner strength programs at the gym I've lost count.

    My brain says "Hey, you need to put on some muscle mass if you want to look good and feel great later in life! You'll feel good after your workouts! Endorphins! Just go do it!" then the other side of my brain says "Meh... but Netflix."

    So what was the turning point for you, ex-couch potatoes? I know in my brain that I just need to MAKE IT a habit and go to the gym regardless of how ambivalent I feel about it... but I always just seem to slip back into old patterns.

    I would say it was about six months of consistency. But what was more important for me for sticking to it was finding an activity that I love doing.