What is about making healthy choices that suddenly puts a glaring spotlight on just how unhealthy I’ve been?
I’ve been doing Weight Watchers for almost 2 months. I joined the YMCA in addition to my other gym membership in an effort to have a workout facility available evenings and weekends and in order to encourage my husband to focus on fitness, too. I’ve been making a serious effort to try new group classes and invest myself in what is offered to me with the Y and with Weight Watchers.
I’ve lost 14 pounds. I’ve been working out consistently. I’ve tried Zumba, Strength & Endurance, Interval Training, and Water Aerobics. I’ve been slowly working my way back into running but my passion isn’t back just yet. I have a strength training program. I am on my way to healthier living.
So why does making these healthy choices lead me to realize how fat I am? How unfit I am? How much I struggle?
Truth is… it’s easier to be fat and lazy. It is easier for me to choose to eat food-like products and sit on my couch and tell my kids what to do and what to play and watch TV than to focus on eating real food and plan my day to include time for exercise and focus on getting the entire family up and active.
The first group exercise class I tried at the Y was Water Aerobics. It was a 90 minute “Super Session” and I have to say that I enjoyed the workout. It is definitely easier on the joints and ligaments and such as I didn’t have that post-workout pain that can happen from certain muscle use. This was my first ever group in a pool experience and I was definitely nervous about it when I walked into the locker room. I found 2 friendly faces in bathing suits and asked if I could tag along. It broke the barrier for me- from there, I was ready to try a new class. I felt like I had taken a risk and discovered that maybe I wasn’t so bad off in terms of fitness.
The next week, I ended up in FitCity’s own Taylor’s Strength & Endurance class. Um…. she whooped my backside. Well, really she shredded my thighs. I think we did about 1 million different squats and lunges. Then there was the weight work that killed my arms and shoulders. It was a great workout in terms of really working all the muscle groups. But I had a very emotional moment in that class. We started doing a series of push ups and I could barely do 2 or 3 and that was doing them “girlie style.” A year ago, I was working my way toward being able to do 100 push ups and I was up into double digits and here I could barely do 1. I almost broke down, I almost quit.
This is where I should say uplifting and encouraging things about how I kept going and stayed strong. But that isn’t where my head went next. I felt like a failure, I felt damaged, and I felt like I had really let my body go downhill. I felt like it was completely unfair that I knew how it felt to be fit because I’d been there just a short time ago and so now I have this real gauge of just how unfit I’d become.
From there, I struggled with my clothes, my belly, my food choices for a few days. How can it be that I was working so hard to get healthier but I was suddenly very painfully aware of how bad I’d let myself go? I’m one who really focuses on loving myself- this self-pity was an old demon that I didn’t want back in my life.
So I wallowed in it for a few days. Partially not by choice since Taylor’s workout left me incapable of walking for 4 days. But I allowed myself to have my pity party while my head sorted some stuff out. And when I came out the other side, that’s when I was ready to start up with the encouraging words and thoughts. That’s when I realized that this isn’t about the past (can’t change it and can’t go back to it). This is about the choices I make each day in how I will care for my body with the food I eat, the schedule I keep, and the activity I choose.
I am not as fit as I was 1 year ago. And a year ago, even though I was making great progress, I wasn’t as healthy as I’d been as a teenager. I’ll never be as anything as I was in the past- my focus is on today and the goals I have set for tomorrow. Yes, I backslid over the past year. I gained some of the weight back and I lost a lot of levels of fitness. But if all I do is focus on being fat, all I will ever be is fat. If all I do is focus on what my body can’t do, I wont ever get my body to do those new things or reach the next level.