Monday, 21 March 2011

7 ways to starve the black dog

The black dog in me would much rather stay in bed, or on the lounge watching telly, or doing anything other than exercise. I would much rather eat whatever I feel like, than what I need. I like to sit and think through this idea of exercise again – maybe I need a rest day.

The battle is between my I-don’t-feel-like-it side and my just-do-it side. It’s the old black dog and white dog scenario. One will starve, and the other will thrive depending on which attitude I feed. Either way will involve some sort of pain.

I know all this. I know I just have to do it. And knowing me, I have also identified a few things that really help to feed the white dog and stay in the just-do-it place:

  1. A trick I learnt from my friend, PR, is to make a deal with myself – I’ll just do 10 minutes of exercise and then I’ll decide whether or not to continue, and I can stop if I want to.
  2. Social support. Knowing I have a friend who will ask about my goals and how I’m going is a gentle accountability that helps keep me on track.
  3. Meeting someone else for a walk and coffee, means I will be there regardless of how I feel. If it was just up to me, I would let myself down, but not someone else.
  4. Remind myself of my values and goals. Why am I doing this? Feed the white dog.
  5. Remind myself that never once – not oncehave I ever regretted exercise and thought to myself, “I wish I didn’t just do that. I wish I’d stayed on the lounge.” On the contrary, there have been heaps of times that I felt like staying on the lounge, but reluctantly went for a walk and within 5 minutes of filling my lungs with air and moving, then I was very glad I did it.
  6. Keep success stories close by – read magazines, books, blogs and watch TV shows where people are feeding their white dogs. Their attitudes are transferable.
  7. Just do it. Stop thinking, justifying, making excuses. That’s feeding the black dog. JFDI!

Success is a great motivator for me. A little bit of weight loss only spurs me on to keep doing whatever it takes to get more of the same. This is a powerful lever to get my butt off the lounge.

What feeds your white dog and the just-do-it theme? Do you have more ideas about how to keep yourself on track? Click ‘comments’ and tell us what they are so we can all benefit.

Note: this blog has been a response to a topic request from one of you guys! So keep em coming!


  1. Oh I hear ya Cynthia. I'm just not a person that likes exercise. (Not like my husband who ran 12km before work yesterday, "just because he felt like it") I really like the idea of the 10min deal with yourself. I might just go and try that right now. Thanks.

  2. Hi Leanne! So glad the 10 minute trick is a possibility for you! I agree that exercise is something that is best developed as a habit that you just do and not think about, but I do love the benefits it brings.