I used to pound the treadmill every morning and feel absolutely miserable. Not only was I slaving away the hamster way, but I still couldn't get rid of the last few pounds I carried around my hips and stomach.
Then one day, I just thought, "Fuck it." I canceled my membership and made my own exercise routine using these simple tricks to lose the last few pounds without going to the gym.
The thing is, you need to stop thinking about exercise as a chore and start enjoying it.
I like to run sometimes, but doing it six days a week on a machine felt like torture. Plus, the least amount of weekly exercise you need to be healthy is far less than six days.
My obsession with the gym caused my joints to hurt and my knees were making this creepy, cracking sound. So I thought, what is it that I would actually enjoy doing?
1. Jumping rope
I remembered how I used to love jumping rope as a kid, so I picked up a cheap one and began the new routine. Now my cardio includes 20 or so minutes of listening to The Weeknd (and imagine us dating) while jumping in whatever patterns my brain can come up with.
2. Using nature like a playground.
I still go running, but I do it outside and in places that have some sort of scenic nature. I'm telling you, I run for a half hour up a steep bridge and enjoy it because I'm surrounded by trees and the sea.
Hiking is an excellent way to be in shape if you really don't want to run. Being in nature is not only super relaxing and will clear your mind, but it will also tone your entire body.
Jumping through branches and rocks while propelling yourself up is no easy business. Hiking will encourage healthy appetite, too. I'm talking about fresh juice and quinoa craving, not Ben & Jerry's.
3. Channel your inner child and hit the swings.
Once you lose the idea that the gym is the Holy Grail of wellness, you'll find this fun world of movement that actually feels good.
When was the last time you went to the park and hit up the swing?
Doing just 20 minutes of this every other day will give you rock hard abs. I'm not kidding, one night I woke up in pain after a particularly intense 60-minute swing session.
4. Do yoga and pilates in your bedroom.
Staying in shape and losing weight is not only a physical reaction. A lot of what is standing in between you and your results is in your head. This is why I picked up yoga.
What yoga will do for you is make you aware of your mood, so you'll stop binge-eating for good.
Yoga will also tone you up super quickly. The most important thing is to find the best yoga mat for yourself.
Poses like triangle, warrior one and downward dog will have you walking around with tight buns and thighs in no time. Plus, you can take your mat anywhere and it's a one-time investment.
Pilates is a great option if yoga isn't intense enough for you. You can find a ton of videos on YouTube and do it right in your bedroom.
5. Stop eating junk by meditating.
The final step of my wellness strategy is meditation.
I was absolutely shocked to discover how just 10 minutes a day made the knot in my back from the office chair disappear. After you meditate, you will be more aware of your posture and of the dozens of ways you tense up during the day.
Recognizing your emotions will also prevent you from emotional eating, so you'll lose pounds for good. This is a lifestyle change and a great investment in yourself.
Finding what you enjoy will make exercise more pleasant, and coupling it with meditation and yoga for self-awareness will forever end your weight loss struggles -- yes, without a gym or a diet.