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Oh Eff You, Exercise.

Dexy's Midnight Runner?  (Terribie.  Sorry.)The desire to exercise is just as cyclical as diabetes burnout, for me.  There are months when I'm all YES, EXERCISE, LET'S ALL DO THAT NOW! and then there are months when I can't even find the caps button at all.  sure let's exercise if we have to ... snooooooozefest.

During my months of deep diabetes burnout, I didn't go to the gym without literally dragging myself there.  (Literally.  Like tying myself to the bumper of the car and putting a brick on the gas peddle, eeking myself down the road until I had couriered myself into the parking lot.)  I went, but not with excitement or vigor or any kind of desire to do anything other than plod around on the treadmill and hit the 33 minute mark so I could put the mental gold star on my chart.  

Finding the motivation to exercise can be as challenging as the motivation to stay tuned in to diabetes.  I think it's because there isn't an instant payoff - walking out of the gym after one cardio session and I don't feel like I can pick things up and put them down.  Similar to how a week of intense diabetes monitoring doesn't immediately drop my A1C.  It's a slow burn, and not seeing the immediate results of hard work makes sticking with the program a little tricky.  (Versus the consumption of delicious cheeseburgers equaling instant and delicious gratification.  Cruelly unfair.)

Before the baby arrived, Chris and I would go to the gym together.  His dedication to a consistent(ly annoying, sometimes) gym schedule has always impressed me, because I'm very easily distracted by things and would oftentimes wander off to check on ... hey, something shiny!  But when it was just the two of us, heading to the gym was something we did together, and something we did almost every day.

Then pregnancy.  And baby.  And that whole "ugh, I feel a bit strange in this new post-baby body."  And then the "Wait, I want to shed the rest of this weight and be done with it."  But I relied too much on Chris's schedule before, and since going anywhere alone together (oxymoron much?) requires wrangling in a babysitter, I needed to find my own inspiration, my own reasons, my own routine. 

A way of feeling good about exercise, instead of always muttering "Oh, eff you, exercise," in my head.

So, even though it feels scattered and even though my head isn't always "in it," I'm back to regularly exercising.  At least four times a week, I'm either at the gym doing a cardio workout (with a nice, long cool down where I take 20 minutes and read a book, which is the only time I ever have to read) or in our basement, using the ellipmachine and catching up on episodes of Uncle Stephen

It feels relaxing.  It's nice to have an hour to myself, where I sweat and keep an eyeball the Dexcom graph and let my mind go blank for a little while.  And even if the effects aren't immediately obvious in my A1C or my level of fitness, my mental health is already benefitting.  Like I said, small steps.  Focusing on the emotional and psycho-social stuff.  For me, that's the only way to reclaim my health.

That, and it's the only way I'll ever finish reading a book again.  


I think anything that gets us moving, is motivation enough! My latest guilty pleasure is heading to my ellpmachine with the desire to watch a movie on my iPad. I've got a nice little collection of movies I love on there so I can watch at any time. And if that is what gets me on there for even 30 minutes, just like your book reading, it's all fair game :)

Keep on with it Kerri.

I have to say that I think you are in a particularly busy period of life. Actually, the right word would be "chaos". It's a miracle to get anything done IMO.


I've been a lurker of your blog for a while now, but have decided to come out of lurk-mode. First off, you're an inspiration to everyone in the diabetes community. I want to thank you for your honesty in your posts.

Second, I totally feel you on the gym thing. I actually never consistently worked out until I was diagnosed with diabetes. Luckily, I have a gym where I work, so I just hop on in there during my lunch and walk at a fast pace while reading a book.

Like others have said, my desire for gym time (and I do actually look forward to it) comes from the fact that I actually have a solid 45 minutes to read, which is something I can't do any other time of the day. It makes it much more enjoyable.

So keep on rocking the gym with your book, music, movie, tv show, whatever.

I'm in the camp that every little bit counts!

You are doing wonderfully Kerri! Small steps are the key to management. You are doing great and i'm proud of you. We can do this! #badasses

I found bike riding to be my ticket about 4 years ago, and I did some running in the winter. I switched to running last winter and biking took a back seat. I sign up for races and it keeps me motivated. I am now training for my second marathon, so I have a schedule to do, so it helps. I would not be doing any of this if I didn't have diabetes. Why would you want to go run 26.2 miles? My answer is to prove to myself, I am not broken.

Hrm, this makes me think gym-with-an-attached-daycare might be a good business model. I'm sure you're not the only couple who finds it easier to get to the gym together.

Also, I was so happy that your "Uncle Stephen" link went to Colbert Nation ;)

I agree that life gets crazy busy and we drop exercise. I have a hard time prioritizing exercise even though it's the most important thing we can do for ourselves.

I like to think of exercise as my "me" time. It's the time when I can listen to music, watch a movie while on the elliptical, or just get lost in my own thoughts. Granted, I've always sort of liked exercise, and I use it as an excuse to spend more money on iTunes than I probably should. Once I started thinking about exercise in this way, it became something that I really looked forward to!

I hate exercise. Every single bit of it. I sometimes get in the mood, but usually not.

I, too, have found my bit in bike riding. But we already have a treadmill in the house, with nowhere really for a bike. And I like going places, doing things, so biking is releaged to the spring (when it's not too hot) and summer (when it's REALLY not too hot). Now that the weather is warm (curse you, schitzophrenic seasons), I'm desperately craving bike rides...

I'd love to take up running...if I could motivate myself? It sounds so cool, to just be able to run. Too bad my body hates it.

You're right about the lack of instant gratification. If only we could see a decrease (even if it's only temporary) in weight or A1c immediately after exercise to motivate us...

Good for you, for jumping on the exercise bandwagon!

Thanks for this, Kerri. You're right that it's beneficial for mental health. I need that. I've been talking about it for so long, but haven't embraced exercise and think it's about time for that small step toward the future. Thanks for the motivation, my friend.

I think you are such an insiration. Only once in my life did I exercise on a regular bases and that was 7 years ago. I only stuck to it for a year and a half. I have not yet found that thing that gets me going. I could really use some of that "ME" time.

I like mixing up my routines to keep myself interested. 3 days of strength training and 3 days of cardio. I work out all week but Saturday I get to dance. Okay aerobic dancing with Zumba. I have so much fun.
And there are some days that I just don't feel like working out. But I go and most of the time feel a sense of accomplishment and a great dose of endorphin.
Keep up the good work.

I am soo the same. It's so easy to NOT work out. But I remember how important exercise is just for insulin absorbtion purposes alone! I just started taking a Zumba class and I love love it! Maybe try something new to spice it up like Christine was saying! That is so awesome that you work out 4 days a week, I really need to up my exercise as well. Good luck!!

I go through the same cycle of burn out and figuring out how to pull myself out and start again. We all know that exercise is absolutely necessary to our mental and physical health (not just diabetics). I agree with others about changing your exercise routine when it becomes a chore. Find something that is fun to do, and don't be so hard on yourself. This happens to everyone, except maybe olympic athletes. Wii dance is a new favorite of mine and your birdie will love it too!

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