Fighting the urge to hibernate!

Remember: bears hibernate, we do not (although some days we really, really want to!)

There’s no denying it: It’s cold, dark, and absolutely miserable in the mornings these days—making getting out of bed to go to the gym that much more difficult.

This morning, I shut off my alarm at 5 a.m. determined to cozy back under the covers instead of doing my daily workout. Then, I felt guilty and the voices started in my head: “Valerie, you took yesterday off (true!), so is this going to be a habit? If so, you will start gaining weight (a definite fact).”

“You feel SO much better, more invigorated, better about your day when you get your butt out of bed and exercise (true again).”

“So GET OUT OF BED!”

I did. I got dressed and drove to the gym in the pitch black at 5:45 a.m. But just 10 minutes into my workout (which included 2-minute bursts of jumping rope while listening to motivating music on my iPod), an amazing thing happened: I felt great—and was so happy that I got motivated.

Bikini here we come! And even if you never ever want to be seen in a bikini, zero belly overhang is a good goal for all of us!

Moral of the story: Yes, sometimes it really sucks to have to work out, particularly in the dead of winter…but you will feel SO much better, so much more confident, and so much stronger and healthier if you get your butt out of bed and exercise.

And for those who aren’t morning exercisers, the same holds true. If you commit to going to the gym after work, know it will be dark, cold (if you live on the East Coast, like I do) and you won’t want to go. But do it anyway. You’ll be glad you did, guaranteed!

And then come spring and summer, when your pants are not snug and your belly isn’t hanging over your bikini bottom…you will look back and be happy that you are the fabulously motivated person that you are!

Valerie LatonaAbout Valerie Latona
As the former editor in chief of Shape (the active lifestyle magazine) for 5 years, I personally spoke with a lot of women (thousands over the years, from around the nation) and what I found is this: it's not easy to stay healthy, to get (and stay) fit, and to stem the weight gain tide (and even the tide of disease) that inevitably happens to us as we get older.