I’ve met people who have an addiction to exercise that seems almost as strong as a drug addiction.  They nearly have “withdrawals” if they can’t do it- they get irritable, get the shakes, feel anxious.  It’s really weird. 

They are crushed when they get sick, not because of being sick but because they can’t go for their run for a few days.  They won’t schedule activities with friends unless it’s after a certain hour, because they need to go home and exercise first after work.  These people will plan out their day to make sure they have time at the gym or time on the NordicTrack.  These people even pack workout clothes and shoes for vacations and cruises- and use the gym while on vacation!

I always thought those people were weird.  Had some sort of funky wiring inside them.

And now I’m becoming one of them.

I’ve been getting up early and exercising for nearly a year now.  At first, my goal was to just get 15 minutes in….whether it was a Pilates video, or walking on the treadmill…just something.

Then it turned into 20 minutes, then 30 minutes on the treadmill.

Then we borrowed an elliptical from my parents.  It has a tetris game in the console- and the faster you move your legs, the slower the pieces fall.  The high score on the game was 600.  My daily goal was to just play one game every morning, that would usually net me a 15 minute workout, minimum.  I beat the score, got better and better.  Started increasing the resistance.  Now I can play a single game and have it last about 40 minutes and I burn 350-450 calories while doing it.  My highest score: 2,400.

I’ve realized that I’m one of those people who won’t exercise if I can’t do it first thing in the morning.  Once I’ve been dressed for the day, it’s all over.   I hate getting sweaty.  I don’t want to take two showers in one day. 

I look forward to my morning workout now.  I don’t look for excuses not to do it, like I used to.  “Oh, I have a cold.”  or “I should use that 40 minutes to do receipts.” or “I deserve a break, I’m going to sleep in.”

I can’t sleep in, or be lazy in bed, not even on weekends.  I feel so guilty laying in bed.  My body tells me I should be doing something, not just laying there. 

OK, well actually, a couple weeks ago there was one day where I DID sleep in (instead of getting up at 5:15 I rolled out of bed at 5:45) and figured I deserved a day off of my cardio routine, and I know it’s good to do that every now and then, so it didn’t bother my mentality or mood.  Until it came time to eat breakfast, and lunch, and dinner, and my snacks in between.  Knowing that I didn’t start my day with 400 calories burned, I was more aware of what I was putting in my mouth.  Calories in, calories out. 

I’m aware of what I eat.  Thanks to Loseit.com.

It’s gotten so ridiculous that I can’t even buy treats for myself!  Riley and I went to the mall the other night and if I wasn’t so set on keeping my calories in check, we would have gotten an Orange Julius, or a Starbucks beverage, or indulged in one of Aunt Annie’s pretzels or something.  But no.  No calories added.  I was a good girl.  I know it’s the better choice.

Jim and I took the kids out to dinner last Friday night so I made sure to get an extra big workout in that morning.  And Saturday we had plans to go out again with some friends, and I originally planned to exercise that morning, but instead slept in.  The rest of the late morning I was torturing myself- feeling so guilty about not exercising knowing I was going out to dinner that night.  At 3:00 I found myself with an hour to kill, so I spent it on the elliptical and burned 550 calories!

Sunday we went out to breakfast and I was devastated at the extra calories I had eaten that week- already having two meals out.  But I decided to not beat myself up.  It’s OK to not exercise one day, or overconsume calories one day.  Maybe two.  But it was just eating me up.  I couldn’t believe how irritated I felt with myself!

My point is, I never thought I would be “one of those people”.  The person that has to exercise.  The person that craves it.  The person who wants to do better and better, burn more and more calories, etc. 

Now when I wake up the first thing I think of is….exercise.  Working out IS a little like a drug.  I feel good.  I feel like I’m getting healthier, stronger.   Granted, it’s taken me almost a year of getting up early and working out, but hey, you have to start somewhere.