Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ode to exercise...

So, since I mentioned last week that exercise has been the thing to pull me out of my funk of the last few months and FINALLY (knock on wood) has gotten me back on the path to being normal/healthy, I figured now would be as good of a time as any to mention why exercise and I have a VERY normal, healthy relationship.

When I first started adding exercise to my life 10+ years ago, my motto has always been "I could complain for a half hour about how I don't want to workout, or I could just be done in that same amount of time."  I never killed myself with HAVING to do hour long workouts, or NEEDING to do 8-mile runs a day.  Instead I try to focus on less is more.  I'd rather do 20-30 minutes a day MOST days of the week, than killing myself 1-2 days a week , DREADING starting that hour-long torture session.  I just knew that would never work for me, so I've stuck with my more manageable workouts all these years.  I also make it very manageable with my life.  When I worked full-time (and no kids), it became my near-daily ritual to get up every morning and get my workout in FIRST thing because that's when I KNEW I would fit in my workouts with no excuses.  Now my schedule is more varied, so I fit it in when I can (and at this point in my life, NO, I'm not really interested in getting up extra early.  I feel like I'm still making up lack of sleep from the kids these daysJ)  I just always try to make it where I have no excuses and it's actually DO-ABLE!
Not to mention, 95% of the time, the workout is doing something I GENUINELY enjoy doing.  I'll try ANYTHING & ANY class once, but I know the types of things that keep me coming back:  dance, yoga, pilates, walking etc.  Especially classes.  I've been on the treadmill & machines probably less than 10 times in my eight years of being a gym member, but I've gotten my membership money's worth of classes 10 times over.  You might be the opposite and hate classes, and that's totally fine too.  Although here's a class I didn't enjoy:  I took a cardio kickboxing class for about 2 months a couple years ago and while I loved the class AFTER it was over, I truly DREADED it before I went it....resulting in me quitting that class shortly thereafter.  

So my advice, in short, on exercise:  FIND WHAT YOU LIKE and DON'T DO what you DON'T like and MAKE IT MANAGEABLE.  It's hard to stick with getting up at 4am to go to the gym and workout for 2 hours a day (or, for some of you, that might work perfect).  I'm just saying, don't try to commit to something that you truly can't see as realistic in the long haul.  Ya gotta keep it simple.  Same goes with healthy eating too...find those things you TRULY enjoy and you're more likely to stick with it MUCH longerJ

The interesting factor here comes in with the fact that I've never really had ANY anxiety about exercise in all these years.  Sure, I've had days/weeks where I JUST DID NOT FEEL like working out, just like everyone else.  And sure, some days/weeks I give into that feeling.  But the key here is:  I never really beat myself up about it.  There are definitely times where I KNOW I'm being 'lazy' vs being GENUINELY tired.  And when you pass on a workout out of laziness, THAT'S when you get that 'blah' feeling.  But if you DON'T do it those times when you genuinely just DON'T want/have the energy for it, than that is OK too.  And even if there are weeks where I wasn't quite on my game, I just get right back to it, without getting frustrated or caught up in thoughts of all the 'missed workouts.'  Instead I just focus on how good I feel when I'm consistent with it and use that to carry me through to getting off the couch more and more each day.

I've been noticing a lot lately how this is a direct parallel to my eating, where I've spent MANY years obsessed, consumed and anxious over food.  I think there IS truth to the saying that 'you never regret a workout' and I'm sure that plays into the non-anxiety factor here.  But even more so, I think that because I chose early on to not really OVERdo and to make it manageable, that's why I've been able to keep it so positive.  Where as my eating tends to be up & down...thankfully it's more UP than down, but those 'down' times still make me feel COMPLETELY miserable.  As does overindulging in something and then spending time lamenting about how gross I feel and how I regret overeating, etc.  As does obsessively wanting chocolate, but telling yourself you can't have it cause you're trying to be 'good', until you finally burst and can't stop eating it...beyond even being able to taste it.

I'm wondering now, as I've been reading this book, if I turn my attention to eating what I REALLY want and NOT spending one moment bashing your body & your eating, will this help translate the MENTAL aspect of my eating to a calmer place, much like the non-anxiety I've had about exercise.  By not letting myself get on that scale and spend a week stuck on a number indicating how 'good' I've been during the week or how 'bad' I've done.  (or even MORE frustrating:  when you actually DID eat well, you get a bad number and then OBSESSIVELY try to think of what you had that made you gain.)  Could thinking of food as JUST FOOD and not 'good or bad' be a factor?  Could making a healthier choice because you know it'll make you FEEL good vs. how it will translate in pounds lost?  I'm not only at the point of wanting to ditch the scale obsession and body bashing, but also I'm EXTREMELY aware of how I FEEL when I make healthy choices vs. defaulting to any junk laying around.  As I've said before, I don't really know if I even HAD guilt regarding food until I started loosing weight.  And even then, I don't think the guilt started until after I had my big initial loss and then started to gain some back.  Maybe in all of the 'reloosing' is where all of this anxiety came in and I'm MORE than ready to pack it's bags and see it on its way

All questions I'm curious about, but infinity more than ready to start shifting my thoughts to that healthier side of the coin...where my exercise habit blessedly resideJ  It's interesting how all of the above factors seem to play off one another.  I'll be keeping you updated on the progress as I try to calm all of this crazy noise in my head.  I love being healthy & working out and I love ice cream & donuts and certainly don't want to live without eitherJ  I just want to enjoy all of them CALMLYJ

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