I hate exercising. There I said it. I so wish that I wasn’t stuck in this mindset, but I’ve always viewed exercise as a chore rather than a benefit. I’ve never been an active person and was severely jealous over anyone that was a natural athlete (hello younger brother!). On the flip side, I always hated people that just naturally without much exercise had a fast metabolism and could inhale McDonald’s 4x a week for 3 months and not gain a single pound. I mean look at Lorelai and Rory Gilmore: they ate at Luke’s Diner at least 5x a week, had takeout all the time, enjoyed Pop-Tarts for breakfast and once ate FOUR Thanksgiving dinners in one day and yet they were skinny as rails. Meanwhile I’m Kirk:
Childhood Exercise History
Truthfully, I think I was the only kid growing up that didn’t sign up to play in the Pee-Wee Soccer League. Sports weren’t my thing at all. I would have preferred to be at home in sweatpants playing with my American Girl Doll (I had Kit!), watching TV, baking with my mom and reading. Any sort of true sporty physical activity wasn’t my forte. My elementary school report cards always had the comment “needs to participate more” for the Physical Education grade. One spring, I begged my dad to let me sign up for softball. I spent the whole season picking dandelions in the outfield and getting one base hit. There also was a time when I asked for a full-sized trampoline for my birthday, where I would jump on it for 10 minutes and lie down on it for the next 30 minutes. In high school, I had my parents spend money on field hockey equipment to have me only play it for a week and miss team tryouts because we were on vacation. The few sports that I did (and still do) enjoy participating in were dancing, swimming, bike riding and tennis. I hope that I can bring forth the energy to revisit some of these favorites again soon.
Keeping Motivation & Setting Fear Aside
My relationship with fitness goes something like this:
Day 1: I’m totally inspired to try this new kind of exercise!
Day 2: I’m feeling motivated!
Day 3: Post workout glow: “wow I feel amazing after doing this!”
Day 4: Keep pushing forward!
Day 5: I’ve done a week and this is awesome!
Day 6: Oh it’s rainy today, can’t go outside.
Day 7: Hmm, it’s not raining today, but I’ll go this afternoon.
Day 8: Well, I never went yesterday afternoon. I should probably go today, but watching the Harry Potter movie marathon on TV sounds more appealing.
Day 20: When was the last time I exercised?!
It’s a vicious cycle and it’s obviously sent me on a downward spiral since. My biggest problem when it comes to exercise is keeping my motivation in tack. I prefer to exercise by myself for fear that in-group settings I’ll embarrass myself in some way by either not performing the exercise correctly or falling on my face. However, this is an anxiety that I easily get over once I’ve been to the group class a few times. Open gyms are my worst nightmare. I can’t focus on myself at the gym because I’m SO worried about what others are thinking about me as I work out. Is this an irrational fear? Most definitely. Why am I scared? I’m so convinced that somewhere in the room there is a person thinking (or pointing) ‘this fat girl can’t run/ lift weights/ stretch’. In truth, no one probably is doing that, but it’s my past fears that are brought to life in those kinds of settings. Until I become more comfortable with the exercise and the setting, my thoughts are in a completely different place when I’m supposed to be focusing on me.
Where do these fears come from? Mostly my fitness adventures in my childhood or the people that would tease me. Nobody wanted me on their team in gym class (*groans* not her!), kids would snicker when I wasn’t able to climb the rope, and there was a time when a dance teacher told me in front of the whole class how much I sucked as a dancer and I should give up now (that last one stung the most). Truly my low self-esteem combined with non-supportive coaches has endorsed these anxieties at a higher level. My father (god bless him) has been there for most of my ‘athletic’ endeavors to tell me that I can succeed at something rather than doubting myself. I’ll never forget a story where on a family skiing trip on the first practice run of the day, I regressed completely in my skills from the previous year and was so afraid of going down the beginner bunny slope. His temper flared and he made me take off my skis and walk down the hill back to the lodge. He got in front of me and told me “That hill is just the start of the day. You can do it; I’ve seen you do it! Last year, you conquered your fears, what’s different now?” After drying my tears and putting my big girl pants on, I tried it again. Did I join the Olympic ski team? Well not exactly, but his speech gave me the confidence I needed to get through that vacation and the rest of our family ski adventures. I could do it!
I Will Succeed
There were several occasions where I was quite successful in my exercise endeavors. I saw a personal trainer in high school that would stand behind me shouting tough love phrases as I ran for 30 mins straight on a treadmill. If I tried to stop he would make me go longer. Was it tough? Absolutely! But, for some reason it worked and I cherished (for the first time I think) our workouts together. Sadly, he moved and my replacement trainer and I didn’t match well. On a summer break in college, I joined a Zumba studio and dropped 20 lbs. in three months. I returned to school happy and refreshed to only then revert back to unhealthy eating and no exercise. In later years, I even joined a gym to partake in spinning, Zumba, yoga, boxing and weight lifting classes. Again my positive motifs came to a halt once I was back to my old habits.
So where I am now with my fitness journey? Mostly at the same place. I’m on a very tight budget; so joining a gym or fitness class isn’t an option right now. I’ve pushed my fitness priorities off to the side so many times anyway that if I were to spend the money on a fitness facility I would probably flounder. I’m out of shape, so I figured that if I want to eventually rejoin yoga, spinning or dance class I should first start on some basics. Last summer, I invested in a FitBit Charge and it’s definitely given me a better outlook on just how many steps I am getting in for the day. On average, I’m not getting those 10,000 projectile steps each day, but I figured walking 4-5x a week is a good start. On a random day before I started Whole30, I decided on a whim on a particular day that I was feeling blah that I was going to walk to the community center and back in 90 degree + humidity heat. In total, that walk is around 4.75 miles. But the best part about it, I did it. I wasn’t trying to beat a time, I wasn’t trying to prove anyone else; I did it for me. And now I use that conquering walk as an example and pusher for myself every time I complain that I don’t want to walk. I may not be walking 4.75 miles every day, but at least I know that I can accomplish walking. I will make it down the bunny slope and I will conquer my fears with fitness.
Peace & Love,