Exercise for me is a necessity, it’s not about losing weight, getting a six pack or a pert ass, it’s all about how it makes me feel. After a period of not working out, I feel sluggish and tired and generally blah. Moving my body and getting those endorphins pumping really helps me to feel fabulous and energised, but it hasn’t always been this way.
Since there has been a bit of a fitness theme on the blog this week, I thought that it was only appropriate to share my personal story/relationship/journey (call it what you will) with exercise. Of course, it’s not all unicorns and rainbows around here, it’s real life after all and even a ‘healthy living blogger’ can fall in and out of love with working out or even hate it all together.
Up until a few years ago, my mindset was completely wrong where working out was concerned and I was a slave to the gym. Generally, my routine would revolve around cardio (because that’s the gateway to being slim, right?) and I was hitting the treadmill 6 times a week without fail and each session would last for up to 90 minutes. Talking of failures, I was racked with tremendous guilt whenever I didn’t manage to squeeze in a workout and would compensate by eating less and depriving my body of what it really needs. Ah, just reading this makes me sad! The fact that I was so naive and basically punished my body for not being superhuman. Sometimes life gets in the way and we can’t fit everything into our day. Everything is OK, we haven’t failed ourselves. This is just reality and there’s no reason in this world that our bodies should take a beating as a result. I wish I had acknowledged all of this back then because it would have saved me lots of anxiety and body image issues and allowed me to enjoy my life instead of focusing on how I looked.
Going to the gym back then was about wanting to lose weight or fit into my clothes that I had outgrown. Not that I think there is anything wrong with wanting to lose weight and feeling better about yourself, it’s nothing to be frowned upon. I champion anyone who is currently on a journey to a healthier version of themselves with the fierce desire to love their bodies and become healthy. Here’s the thing, I wasn’t working out to become healthy, I was there because I thought I had to and it was the only way that I would feel fabulous again. Going to the gym and training hard under the pretence of wanting to get fitter actually concealed the damaging relationship that I had with my body. Pretending to be healthy, but maintaining a routine of unhealthy habits under the disguise of wanting to be healthy is one long dangerous road to self-hate that needs tarmacing over fast!
My motto used to be “go hard or go home“, now I’m much kinder to my body and treat it with a bit more respect. It’s the only body that I will ever have, so of course, I want to look after it to the best of my abilities. Most certainly, there are times when I’m still getting wrong, it’s definitely a work in progress. However, identifying where I went wrong has allowed me to heal my relationship with my body and has helped me get to the better place that I am today.
With the house move and having a busy toddler, I haven’t been able to workout as much as I can, but I’m OK with this because my priorities have changed. I’ve given myself the permission to be flexible, reign things in and focus on other important aspects of my life. Exercise will always will be there and I will get back to it when I can. I’m not going to force it into my day when I feel exhausted because I will hate every minute of it. Life is far too short to be doing something that isn’t bringing you joy. Just because I’m not working out that much right now doesn’t mean that I’m going to pile on the pounds overnight, let’s be realistic here.
Exercise shouldn’t be punishing or grueling, it should be something that you enjoy doing. It’s definitely worth taking the time to find your favourite way to move your body. This may not be the gym, but a long walk in the countryside, running, dancing, yoga, rock climbing – whatever it is, embrace it and love it! Workout because you adore how it makes you feel not because you want to be smaller or fit into a certain dress size – it’s definitely a happier and healthier way to be!