Working Out: What’s Your Motivation?

People work out for a bazillion reasons. Healthier lifestyle, tone up, slim down, get ready for  summer. For me, it was a combination of all these and it all started last September.

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”

My wedding dress had finally come in and I hadn’t tried it on in months. Would I still love it as much as I did in the bridal salon? I had to try it on to be sure.

So there I was, standing in my childhood bedroom at my parent’s house, stepping into the whitest, most beautiful gown I’d probably ever wear. And it wouldn’t zip up. I tried that exhale-all-of-the-oxygen-out-of-your-lungs-and-hold-your-breath technique, but it didn’t work.


How could it not fit? This was my wedding dress! It was loose when I’d tried it on in the bridal salon, but that was almost a year ago. I thought for sure I’d have to take it in. I tried my best to remain calm while my mom worked on zipping it up.

You see, in the year since I’d ordered it, I half-heartedly worked out on a semi-regular basis, but my eating habits were horrendous. In my mind, as long as my weight didn’t fluctuate, I’d be the same size. Wrong. Couldn’t have been more wrong.


I ran, maybe did the elliptical for twenty minutes. Nothing extravagant. What else was there to do at the gym other than run or do the elliptical? (insert sarcasm). The bottom line was working out wasn’t a priority. Neither was eating well balanced meals.

Finally, my mom squeezed me into the dress. Thank God, I thought. I walked out into the living room to look in the mirror. The dress was fantastic, better than I remembered. The only problem was I couldn’t breathe. I quickly twirled around, examined my reflection and scurried back to my mom, who freed me from my straight jacket of a wedding dress.

As I pulled on sweatpants and a t-shirt, I saw that the boning from the dress had left several indents. It was at this point that I took one long, hard look in the mirror. I may have weighed the same, but my body had definitely changed.  And I wasn’t a fan.

This time, I knew I needed a complete makeover, not a fad diet or temporary fix. A permanent lifestyle change. Determined to slim down enough to fit into my dress, I decided right then and there that my days of yo-yo dieting and half-ass workouts were over.


I left my parent’s house eager to start my new lifestyle. I could do this – slim down and tone up enough to look like a rock star in my big white dress. I knew this wasn’t going to happen unless the change started with me.

“I cannot change yesterday, but I can change today.”

The first thing I did was throw out all my junk food. Looking back, I like to think of it as purging. I took to the internet to find healthy recipes and I wrote out an entire meal plan for the rest of the month. Every day I’d keep a food journal (there are tons of apps for this) so I could hold myself accountable.

The gym, open road and I became best friends as I started working out at least four times a week. I even incorporated weight lifting, something I’d always been apprehensive about. By sticking to healthy meals, staying away from junk food, and working out on a regular basis, I was able to drop fifteen pounds in fifteen weeks. It took some serious dedication and hard work though. And I’d be willing to say most of that wasn’t lost at the gym; it was lost in the kitchen (read: my eating habits are what helped me slim down; working out just facilitated the results).

Don’t fool yourself into thinking your body will change overnight; it won’t. You have to be committed on a long term basis if you truly want to establish a healthier lifestyle. Don’t let this be your mantra:


Eight months later and I’m still eating well and working out. Yes, I indulge every now and then (did you see the strawberry cheesecake I made last week?). I even go out to lunch or dinner a few times a week with friends, but rarely do I skip a work out. The key isn’t abstaining from having a social life. The key is not indulging every meal, every day.


“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

So whatever your motivation is (hopefully yours wasn’t as traumatic as mine), cling to it. Before long, you’ll realize that you’re no longer trying; you’ve established a healthier, more active lifestyle.


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