My whole life I have not enjoyed exercising. Gym glass was always tough for me as a kid. I could not run very fast or for very long. I could not climb the rope. I did not enjoy the monkey bars. I preferred to spend recess curled up under a tree with my diary, recording my playground observations, or with my latest book. When forced to interact, I would chill at the top of whatever tall structure there was and chat with my friends, or teach them French vocabulary. I took 1 dance class, did soccer for 1 season, and took all the light sports in high school: archery, step aerobics, even "aerobic walking." HA! I ran a cool 10-12 minute mile and nearly barfed afterwards. I did not pretend to be sporty.
As an adult, my exercise became tromping through the city streets, dodging slow walkers. It became hauling ass up and down subway stairs and running to catch the train before the door closed. It became hauling groceries up 3 flights of stairs to my apartment. Only when I returned to my native land of NJ did I realize what I thought was a sedentary life was actually quite active.
1 pregnancy, and 10-20 pounds of weight gain later, I have been hit with the reality of my aging mom bod. In addition to my loathing for the gym and physical activity in general, I also enjoy the finer things in life, mainly delicious food that is bad for me. Bacon, fried anything, cheese, carbs on carbs on carbs. I absolutely love food. I know that any weight I put on is my own fault but yet I don't care. I'd rather be fat and happy and enjoy my life, to be honest!
And then: A routine physical and a blood test revealed elevated liver enzymes - this was the wakeup call I needed.
A friend of mine who is into yoga, healthy eating, and all things organic shared a free workout plan with me by Betty Rocker. Normally I am one to cringe at these types of things. I hate working out. I hate challenges. I hate being told what to do. Something about this one felt different though. I have to say - I really like her. She is genuine, encouraging, sweet, and energetic. She feels like a person I would be friends with - not some intimidating gym person spouting "No excuses!" (Because trust me, I am really good at coming up with excuses).
I also was browsing Pinterest and came across 100 days of Real Food. I am always trying to figure out what to feed my finicky one-year old, who rejects food she loved only the day before. It only so happens that when mommy is quietly enjoying her own delicious food (or her rejects) that she shows a sudden interest. I started to think that it would be really nice to be able to feed her off my plate without having to grab the box and read the list of ingredients.
It also occurred to me that if I am so concerned about putting the right food into her little growing body, why am I not affording myself the same courtesy? Why don't I value my own body as much as hers? Why do I consume chemicals, fat and salt and not think twice about the damage I may doing whereas with her it is my primary concern? Obviously it's because I'm her mama and I'd move heaven and earth to give her the best of everything because SHE is my everything. But what about me? Where do I fit in? How many times do I forget to value myself? Where am I?
So I started Betty Rocker and I must say I was really impressed with what I am truly capable of (not to say I didn't sob audibly through the first 4 or 5 workouts). But 15-20 minutes a day when I would otherwise be crushing candy is not that much of a commitment. The noticeable changes in my strength, the mood lift, and the energy increase were all palpable. I finally broke free of the "exercise is not for me mindset" and it felt really good.
I have an "I'm a bad cook" mindset also and default to microwaveable meals whenever possible. But I started a 100 days of Real Food meal plan with my family anyway. Thanks to the meal plans and shopping lists I made some gorgeous meals like Halibut with sweet potato and fresh green beans, and a whole chicken in a crock pot which became stock, which became soup. I felt like a galdang pioneer woman!
It all boils down to a choice and the readiness and willingness to make that choice. It's not about not making excuses - sometimes we really just can't or don't want to do things and I don't think we should have more guilt thrown at us by holier than though "experts" who know nothing about us. I think the best thing is to realize that you are worth it, that you are capable, and you will actually enjoy it. Do it when you're ready, and do it in a way that is authentic to you. Take care of yourself and love yourself - you're worth it!
Nice to meet you!
I am a tech pro, blogger, DIY'er, reader, TV binger, music lover, nerd and semi-crunchy mom. I write about professional development, being crafty, motherhood and politics. Thanks for joining me and letting me share my thoughts with you!