90 Pounds Down, Jamie Shares 7 Tips for Sticking with Your Workouts

By , Jamie Berube, SparkPeople member
I’ve been going to the gym for a long time. I love to exercise and move my body while tuning out the world to the sound of Kanye West on my iPod.
But I wasn’t bred and conditioned by Herculean, health-nut parents who cycled on Saturdays or ran 5Ks for fun with their Spin class buddies. I learned to love exercise on my own.

I grew up in the suburbs of central Florida in a polished small town, where both popularity and athletic prowess escaped me. I was chubbier than most of my classmates and started wearing plus-size clothes at 16.

I hated P.E. class and exercise because I was insecure about being too big or not good enough. The summer before I turned 20, I decided, would be the summer that I would lose weight. I had moved away from that small town, and I was ready to flaunt the independence I had discovered in college.

It took a lot of courage, but I joined a local gym and was strategic about my choice.
I wasn't looking for the best deal or the biggest facility: I deliberately chose a gym that wasn’t popular or hip. I didn’t want to be spotted by the cool kids as I waddled on the treadmill in my size XL T- shirt or heaved through a set of lunges.
I chose a gym dominated by retirees who read newspapers or listened to books on tape on the stationary bike. It had TVs and an easy exit, too, in case someone I knew spotted me. I was sold.

Those first months and pounds were excruciating. But once I dropped my first 30 pounds, it became easier. After 40 pounds, it started to feel good.

Today, I'm 90 pounds lighter, I still go to the gym several times a week and I run outside on the weekends. It’s not always easy to stay motivated--even now. I get burned out and need breaks and lose motivation… like when it's 95 degrees or I've had a bad day and want to devour a plate of cookies. Still, even if I slip up, I don't give up.
Here's why--and how.
1. I've come a long way, baby

When I think back over the past four years, I realize how much my life has changed because of exercise. I have confidence. I’m less stressed. I feel strong and healthy. I wouldn’t trade any of these things to be 19 again. 

Even if you’ve just started to exercise, that's a huge step in the right direction. You’ve already made the commitment. Celebrate that.

2. I just go.
I never regret going to the gym (unless I ate a bean burrito two hours before). I always feel better after a workout. Have you ever met someone who, after a 5-mile run or yoga class says “That was a bad decision. I feel lousy”? I haven’t.

3. I treat myself.
I love magazines. If I’m having a bad day I treat myself to a magazine to bring to the gym as both a reward and reinforcement. I love pumping my legs along the elliptical machine with the latest issue of Real Simple or People. It makes my workout go by faster, and I feel more relaxed.

4. I make a new playlist.
For me, it’s all about the workout playlist. When I’m sweating all over the Stairmaster, I need hip hop or rock n’ roll to keep me going. I choose music that makes me happy and want to dance. I make a new playlist every other week--and I'm not afraid to ask for friends' suggestions. I download new music and explore different music, too.

5. I work and play.
Sometimes I plan something fun or relaxing after my workout. If I work out at night, it might be a good meal, a glass of wine or vegging in my pjs--or meeting my friends for dinner. I keep my eyes on the prize and envision it while I work out.

6. I'm not alone.
When I lace up my shoes for a run, I like to think about all of the other women across America who are doing the same thing at their gyms or in their neighborhoods. There are so many people just like me who are passionate about exercise. Sometimes I think about the sophisticated magazine editors and Carrie Bradshaw-esque writers in New York City, and that they too, will probably go to the gym today. Remind yourself that we’re all in this together.


7. Sometimes, it's OK to not work out.
Sometimes you just need a break.  Exercise requires a certain amount of mental strength. It’s natural to feel mental and physical burnout. Working out is an incredible discipline. We have to go easy on ourselves when our bodies tell us to.
If a formerly overweight, unpopular, and unathletic Italian girl from the South can do it…well, I think you can too.

What is your best advice to motivate others? Do you reward yourself when you work out?
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Thanks! Report
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Exercise is now a habit! I always feel better even after my morning bed stretches! I won't give up my gym membership because I like "having to go to an exercise class". I hope we can be around other people once again. 73 and never giving up! Report
Thank you! Report
KATHYJO56 11/8/2020
Congratulations! You set a goal for yourself and you have seen it through. Report
CECELW 11/4/2020
I like the tips Report
RYCGIRL 10/1/2020
thx Report
I walk nearly every day except for a recent injury when I needed PT. This article had some thoughts I'd never considered that I think will be helpful when I increase my activity. Saved it to my SP Pinterest board for later. Report
wtg thanks for the great article Report
Inspirational!!!!!!! Report
Great article Report
Wow what an inspiration? Thanks!!!! Report
Great tips! Also, thanks for the encouragement. Report
I loved reading about your journey! Report
A motivating "if she can do it, I can too" story. Thanks for the inspiration. Report
thanks Report
thanks Report
Enjoy reading articles like this by spark members & how they motivate themselves. Report
Great recommendations, thanks for sharing Report
My reward is Spa Day at least once a month. When I have accomplished a good month of working out and sticking to my meal plans. When I don't want to workout or I just have a bad month I take a salt lavender bath with soothing music relaxing enough so that I don't beat myself up and give up all together. Report
I have definitely had bad run days- after five miles I've been like "ugh, that was terrible".
And I just want to say: IT'S OK TO HAVE A BAD GYM DAY. You won't have a PR every time you run and you won't always get an endorphin high. But you did it, and it's over, and you can try again tomorrow. Report
Love this and one of her comments is the one that stays with me "you'll never regret working out!" the other thing is do "what you can when you can." If I'm busy I can always work in at least a 10 mins walk and that usually turns out to be longer than that. Finally I remember that I feel better (and look better) than I have in my entire life and I'm 65. Report
Great stuff! I too had a moment this morning where I could easily gobble down something unhealthy for breakfast, or I could lace up my kicks and go out for a run. This is my Day 1 of starting to watch my diet and get moving! It's all mental for me. Even though my run was only for 5 minutes, I came back inside to do a quick cardio wkout. Feelin good...here's to Day 2! Report
Great article, i have been struggling to start exercising again because i have gained so much weight and i use any excuse i can find but this article is just what i needed to see and read. I will be exercising in about 10 minutes! : ) Report
very motivating blog-like so many of the others who have commented, I have to have daily motivation of this type while I am trying to return to my usual routine of exercising. The most motivating section of your blog is in the beginning, before starting the sequence- "whether it's hot outside or you had gobbled down an entire bag of chocolate cream filled Oreos"-I will not give up-I will get up and get going. Report
very inspirational. thanks for sharing! Report
Just getting serious about my weight problem. Feel free to friend me! I can use all the help I can get. Report
I love number 6!! We are not alone!! I have only been exercising for about 8 weeks now and for me, I don't focus on the calories burned. Right now there are two options: did I do it, or not! Just do it! :-) Report
I just started going to the gym. I'm loving it. I wasn't a gym person before I would just attend Zumba classes at the community center twice a week. I'm in the gym at 6am at least 3 days a week. My blood pressure is regulated, my confidence has increased and I've lost about 10 pounds. Thank you so much for sharing this article is encouraging. Report
Thank you for sharing. It's always good to hear the experience of others on the journey to getting and staying in shape. Report
Awesome article!! I never really pictured others doing the same thing somewhere else. Great encouragement!!! Thanks for writing!! Report
I love the way you chose the gym. Can't top that. But hey, it works! Congrats. Report
Thanks for encouragement Report
Thank you for sharing you tips. They are very motivational. Report
Thank you Report
Thank you all your motivation and support. I am going to find little treats for myself. Report
Thank you all your motivation and support. I am going to find little treats for myself. Report
Definitely going to read this again soon. Starting a serious diet and exercise regimen soon. This helped, thanks. Report
Excellent article. Thank you for taking the time time to write. Report
Loved your blog...I copied this to put on my fridge: Have you ever met someone who, after a 5-mile run or yoga class says “That was a bad decision. I feel lousy”? I haven’t. Report
LOVED IT !!! :) girl you are strong !! keep doing your best!!
xx Report
Great blog! keep up the great work!!! Report
i'm looking forward to when motivator #1 can be one i remind myself with Report
Way to Go!!! Thanks for the encouragement. Report
Thank you so much for posing this article.I really enjoyed reading it and I am very happy to know that I do #2,3 and 4 because music is totally important for me in terms of moods and keeping me motivated.
I agree with #106. I'm positive about all other things in life except exercise. Also, I must be the only person who feels worse after exercising, not better. Call me Debbie Downer
But I did enjoy the article. I could never complete the mile run when I was in high school and I've never been athletic. So if you can do it, I guess I could too. (or at least try...) Report
great entry!! Keep on inspiring others!!! Report
This was just the little pep talk I needed for today. Great advice and congrats on your wonderful goal achievements! Report
I retrieved my log in information just so I could comment on this post. I don't know what you do for a living, but I hope you write. You have a great talent for the written word - I enjoyed every one of them! Report
I used to be 263 lbs and I got down to 174, then gained some back again. I'm at 190 now and I just decided I'm ready to go all the way and get this weight off so that come next summer I'm the happiest I've ever been in a bikini. It helps that I have a roommate who's trying to lose weight with me too. This story was very inspirational and I wish everyone the best of luck on their weight lose journey! Report