Get inspired to get fit


It always starts off innocently enough. Eating a little more here and there, extra calories adding up. Maybe you’ve been stressed out or traveling. And then all of a sudden you’re standing in your closet in your underwear crying because your clothes aren’t fitting the way they used to.  You’re having to buy larger sizes than you previously were. And even those are a little snug. Oh dear.

Please raise your hand if this has been you. Because it’s me. Right now.

After several months of stress over infertility, the craziness of working, not to mention the schoolyear, my body was, well, less than happy. I’d put on some weight from infertility meds (YUCK), and I’ve been working to get my thyroid regulated as it’s also been outta whack. It kind of all came to a head in May when I decided I just couldn’t go forward with any more infertility treatment (for now) because I was in a huge, anxiety-ridden funk. I didn’t want to create anything, I didn’t want to do anything. So back to counseling I went, and finally my head and heart are in a better place about it all. I had to deal with the depression that was present because I had never acknowledged to myself that I’d had three miscarriages and how terrible that truly is. In other words, I went to what I like to call Emotional Bootcamp. Because counseling is exactly like having a personal trainer, except it’s for your feelings. There are some days you REALLY DON’T WANT TO GO WORK OUT YOUR FEELINGS, but after you do, you feel SO much better.

So. Emotions are healthy. That is good. Now what about my body?

I had a semi meltdown when I realized that not only were my clothes not fitting correctly, but that also I was dreading seeing photos of myself. I didn’t want to wear anything remotely form-fitting; hanging out in leggings and long unflattering tshirts was sounding pretty attractive.  And while it’s not like I’m morbidly obese or something, I’m not as healthy as I could be. Additionally, I started feeling the itch to get out and do something active – like my body was saying “Hey! I’ve got needs too, ya know! And it’s not just ice cream!”

Three years ago when I had my final surgery, I started running with the Couch to 5K program. I had had zero interest in running prior to this, but I realized that I was itching to get active again after having spent the previous 4 years being insanely sick. You’d never describe me as athletic, but something happened to me about midway through that program. I actually liked it. And beyond that, I liked that it wasn’t about being in a gym class full of other sweaty people, feeling like I didn’t measure up. It was me versus me. That was it. I was pushing myself to do better and better — it was paying off, but not just in the physical sense; I loved how it made me feel about myself.

And I want that back.


Over the past week, I started thinking. If I believe in my gut that I am capable of (1) doing hard things, and (2) encouraging others, why can’t I do the same thing for myself? Why can’t I encourage myself to make some changes? I want to be my own personal cheerleader to do hard things that really pay off. It’s taking the first step that really is the hardest.  But like that old adage, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  A plan is absolutely necessary so you can get rid of any excuses along the way. Because I know myself – I KNOW I will have excuses!

So here’s my plan of attack, put together from my first Couch to 5K experience.

1. Buy good running shoes.

This weekend Jude and I went to Red Coyote and I got fitted for another pair of running shoes. My first pair that I purchased 3 years ago had seen better days and my feet were starting to hurt in them. I believe that running shoes appropriate to the way you run are vital, as are good socks.

2. Have a booty-shaking playlist on your iPod/iPhone/etc.

Guys, I won’t lie – when it comes to music to get me moving, I’ve gotta have something that makes me want to get up and dance. Booty dance (somewhere my Dad is DYING reading this. Sorry Dad). I want it loud, thumpy, and vaguely inappropriate.  Have it ready and queued up in a playlist so you don’t have to mess around with it to get going.

3. Take your measurements/weight/whatever.

I absolutely love looking at stats (hello, Google Analytics!), so I took my measurements and I plan to re-measure again one month from now. I don’t want to obsess over them by any means, but it’s motivation to keep going. Currently my stats are as follows:

waist : 32″
hips: 43″
butt: 47.5″
thighs (right below the butt):  45″
arms: 10.5″ circumference
4. Have a reward system in place.
One of the best things I did to stay motivated the first round was to have a reward system in place. For example, maybe you reward yourself with a massage after sticking with the program for 3 weeks (or whatever).  I haven’t decided what mine is yet, but maybe it will be something like a cute new running top or something similar.
5. Find inspiration
This is going to sound really cheezball, but I would google “top 100 running tips for beginners” on the days when I really could barely pull it together to go for a run. It was really helpful to read some motivation and get my head in the right place. There were some runs that were absolutely AWFUL. But that’s normal – there’s good days and bad days.
6. Have your contingency plan for when life happens.
The hardest part of any of this is when the routine falters. We’re going on vacation next week, which means it could be really hard to stay on track.  Eliminate the excuses by having a plan before they even creep up. For me, I’ll be packing my running shoes and will plan on taking advantage of the gym where we’re staying.
I don’t know if any of you are in the same boat as me, but I’d love to hear from you how you stay motivated to keep fit. And you can follow me on Twitter as I follow the Couch to 5K program again. We can stay connected w/ hashtag #OperationFit if you want to join up!
(images via here and here)


  • Erin Haines

    So I’m totally starting couch25k this morning…thankful to see this post for a lil extra motivation! 😉 good luck! I’ll be right there with you!

  • Oh, how I resonate with every word you said! Just last week I started Couch to 5k and so far I really like it (for a lot of the same reasons you listed)! I picked a mud run that I wanted to do in August as a goal. Ive always thought those were for “tough people” but there is no reason I can’t do one, too 🙂

    I’m excited to hear how everything goes for you and I’lll be cheering you on!

    • I’m cheering for you too! We can do this!!

  • mandybeth01

    I can relate to this so much Rachel! I go through spurts when I get motivated to workout and eat healthier but I’m a major stress eater and well, life with two 5 years olds is a bit stressful! LOL 🙂 I have a super hard time sticking with anything for more than a week at a time. My main area I need to work on is my belly, but having the boys took such a toll on my skin in that area that it is hard to stay motivated to keep working on it (I would really need a tummy tuck to fix it completely if you know what I mean.) But I’ve noticed that just working out a few days a week puts me in such a better mental place, even if the scale/measurements haven’t changed. You’ve motivated me to try to stick with it!

    • I’m such a stress eater. I eat my feelings ALL. THE. TIME.

      • mandybeth01

        Yep…same here. 🙁 We had a super stressful day with the boys yesterday (5 year shots) and I had a horrible tension headache all day. The first thing I could think of when I got up was all of the yummy things I could eat/drink today to make myself feel better. After this post yesterday I actually caught myself before indulging (too much anyway). 🙂

  • kate mccutchin

    Love all your tips!!! The “vaguely inappropriate” comment about your music cracked me up- I will only use the unedited versions of songs on my running playlist. A good curse word here and there can be very motivating at times:)
    I start week 7 of C25K tomorrow! I love it- couldn’t even run down the block 7 weeks ago.
    Get it gurl!!!

    • Hehehe yeah, I liken my running playlist to the People Magazine version of music. It’s not exactly high brow, if you know what I mean. 🙂

  • Lauren Corbyn

    You are so my best! That is all.