That fitness test was terrible.
Struggling to get started? I have more tips to try. And they're not as crap as that fitness test, so that's good.
Kia ora my pals.. how’s things?
Earlier this week / last week - I don’t know exactly when, I had an email from a fabulous new pal of ours - Jane (not their real name but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say their name, so Jane it is.)
Jane asked me (more or less) “Hey.. do you talk much about fitness for ADHD people as I think I’d get some benefit out of it.”
And I thought it was a really good idea to talk about ADHD, because as someone with this condition (err, is it a condition? I dunno, but you know what I mean) I must chase the dopamine with literally everything I do that needs to be done. Otherwise the thing doesn’t get done and I just feel bad about not doing the thing. But not bad enough to go and do the thing. Ahh, it’s complex!
And then the epiphany happened - entirely down to Jane giving me a nudge about it.
What if everyone, regardless of whether they have ADHD or not.. like, what if we all chased the dopamine when it comes to food and fitness and things that are generally “good” for us?
Would that get us off the couch and moving, and would it help us choose nutritionally dense foods more often, rather than the nutritionally loose foods?
Like that awful fitness test I said was a good idea to do last time I emailed you.. did you actually do it? I started it. I did the squats, and then I stopped because the second exercise was just not interesting enough for me to want to do. So I didn’t. And I did a wall sit but honestly, I gave the whole test itself a really half baked effort because it was boring and uninteresting. The result is a terrible metric to measure my results and it was a terrible idea. I’m sorry about that.
Did you find it terrible too? Did you take one look at it and then maybe groaned a bit to yourself. Did you wonder how you could avoid the fitness test but still follow more or less what I’m doing to get my fitness and food back on track?
I hope you did. If the test or even the idea of it did not bring you joy, I hope you just chose not to do it, rather than slog your way through something awful.
The reason we find it hard to get started is because sometimes getting started where fitness and food is concerned generally means feeling pain from exercise, and restriction from eating “nice” foods. And those things are not fun or interesting or a source of dopamine. So we don’t want to do them. But, we might try to do those things because we’ve been told that if we do we will be rewarded with health. But the longevity isn’t there. And it doesn’t take much for us to drop the habit, and then feel like nothing works.
And so, instead of doing what we think we should be doing, starting, and then ultimately failing and feeling like crap because of it, what if we all chased the dopamine instead? And what if we accepted failure as part of this thing, and chose not to fear it?
Here’s what gives me a buzz with food and fitness. Could any of these things work for you?
Eating the ‘wrong thing’ at meal times
- Salad, dinner leftovers etc for breakfast is a great way to get more nutrients in.
- Dessert first hits differently and means you can slow down on eating other things as you’re not rushing through the salad to get to the sweet reward.
- Changing up the times we usually eat - it’s ok to eat ‘lunch’ at 11am if you’re hungry. Pay attention to your body cues and eat intuitively instead of the acceptable times we’ve been told is right.
And for fitness..
- Use gym time as a social time with friends and have a laugh rather than working out till you’re exhausted.
- Do exercises and movement that you don’t normally, like for me, I use machines that are not in my normal circuits, or I try different exercises that I haven’t tried before and the goal is to see if I can actually do these exercises rather than trying to get a sweat or a muscle failure out of them.
- Exercise while watching Netflix, like squats or static lunges. I call this type of movement exercise snacks, because they are small and frequent. It’s still movement and it’s still important for us to feel good.
And you know, if none of those things appeal, there are loads of other things to try. Seriously, there is an abundance of ideas.
Take guidance from your own lived experience. It will tell you what works, or rather what doesn’t work to get you moving your body and eating better.
That’s the beauty of starting over. It’s kind of limitless. You can just keep trying until you find the thing that will give you the dopamine hit you need to be successful. There is no end date on trying, until you stop, of course.
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