The Hemp Connection + women

Mental Shifts That Lead to Physical Shifts: Psyching Yourself Into Exercise

One of the hardest things for any of us to do – except maybe Olympic athletes – is to maintain a
consistent exercise schedule. I don’t have to convince you of the importance of exercise, so what I want
to talk about is shifting your mentality.

If you approach exercise with a negative attitude, thinking “this is terrible, I hate it, I’m going to be
miserable,” then you will have a lousy experience. If you say, “I’m going off to the torture chamber”
when you’re heading out to the gym, you’re setting yourself up to suffer. If you think you can’t succeed
at a sport because you were always picked last for team sports in grammar school, you won’t even try.
And without trying, where do you end up? Precisely where you are, which isn’t necessarily a good place!

Yes, exercise involves discomfort, pushing your limits, and taking risks. It involves heat, sweat, and
sometimes actual pain (hopefully not too much, as this is an indicator that your body has been pushed too
far). It may involve wearing more revealing clothing in public than you’d normally choose. It may mean
being the slowest one in the class, or being the one who carries around a nerdy little notebook with tips,
schedules, and drawings of how to do exercises. It quite possibly involves getting out of your cozy bed at
the crack of dawn, instead of sleeping in. None of this is comfortable.

But if you approach exercise with a positive attitude, and look for the fun, you’ll improve the outcome
of your experience. For example, by changing your self-talk from [insert whatever negative thing you
usually say to yourself] to “I love how strong I am,” or “it’s amazing that I’m this flexible at this age,”
or “I love the way the breeze feels on my face when I’m bicycling outdoors,” you’ll also feel better
about what you accomplished. Other positives you might focus on include: the social aspect of gym
time or walking with friends, getting some Vitamin D if you exercise outside, improving your strength
or dexterity, or the fact that you’ve actually managed to put together a cute and coordinated outfit at 6:00
a.m. You get the general idea.

Quantity does matter, so you can say you went to the gym, but if all you do is ten minutes on the bicycle,
let’s be honest, you’re not really working out. No one else may know, but you’ll know, and that’s not
going to feel good later. Focus on quantity, as in, total number of workouts, or time spent exercising.
Keep a record, electronically or on paper, and note that little jump in self-approval when you’ve been
consistent. Even when the quality is lacking, if the quality doesn’t really impact the outcome (i.e., you
shouldn’t overdo it on weights, when your body’s crying out for mercy, or you shouldn’t keep walking if
you have a documented injury), keep going. And if you’re not in the mood to get out and walk (walking
being a great blood sugar regulator for us insulin resistant types), and you’re just going to slog along
instead of pumping out the power-walk you think you SHOULD be doing, then get out there and just
walk anyway. It matters, and it counts towards the achievement of the over-arching goal of getting some
meaningful exercise to fit into your life. Plus, if you’re suffering from depression, exercise helps to
improve it!

Also important to actually getting yourself motivated to exercise regularly is choosing what you love. If
you love it, you’re more likely to stick to it. You may need to try different things (surfing? Aerial yoga?
Pilates? Unicycling?), and, in the process, you may discover some hidden talents, even in your 30s, 40s,
and beyond. Try something new. Do the thing you never got to do. So what if your first ballet lesson is
at age 35? It’s good for your brain too, to experience the novelty.

On the flip side, give up what you hate, no matter what anyone else says about how good it is for
you. Although I thought my personal trainer was quite good, and I enjoy him as a person, I was pretty
miserable every time I went. I finally gave it up, because it was causing a negative mindset about
training. Every week, I dreaded going. Now I happily lift weights on my own.

Plan exercise into your vacations. Choose hotels with pools and gyms. Go to areas with great natural
beauty that will inspire you to get out, walk around, hike, rent a bike, etc. Remember that PCOS doesn’t
take a vacation, and neither should you – exercise should be a daily part of your life, for life.

Gretchen Kubacky, Psy.D. is a Health Psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles,
California. She has completed the inCYST training. She specializes in counseling women and
couples who are coping with infertility, PCOS, and related endocrine disorders and chronic
If you would like to learn more about Dr. HOUSE or her practice, or obtain referrals in
the Los Angeles area, please visit her website at, or e-mail her at You can also follow her on Twitter @askdrhousemd.

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Mental Shifts That Lead to Physical Shifts: Psyching Yourself Into Exercise + women