(illustration by me, drawn on Paper for iPad)
I have a difficult relationship with Health + Fitness. I’ve always struggled with my weight, which I think first comes from my lack of good information on nutrition growing up. I ate chips, fast food, drank sugary pops etc. And then there’s my daily lack of activity. I’m not a huge outdoors person. I like playing sports, but in the summer it’s too hot, and in the winter, it’s too cold. I’m a Graphic Designer, after all. Most of my day is spent sitting at a desk.
Basically, I make excuses. I make excuses for EVERYTHING. And I lack motivation or will power or, at times, good judgment.
There was a point in my life, though, where I was gung-ho on losing weight. And I did. A few months before my 21st birthday I had a meltdown and decided to turn my life around. In the span of 5 months I lost about 25-30 pounds. I went to the gym, ate healthy and I was obsessed with it. Eventually, I got distracted by school, and being social, and I was drinking alcohol now that I could go to bars, and I stopped exercising. I didn’t gain all that weight back though until about a year later when I started dating Alan. We went out to eat more, drank more, and suddenly, I was rapidly getting bigger and bigger.
That’s where I’ve stayed since 2010. Despite several attempts to “turn it around” again, it hasn’t worked. It’s a really difficult thing to hold myself accountable for. There’s always excuses: The gym is too expensive, it’s cheaper to eat junk, I don’t have time. But as I already know, the real problem I have is conviction. I know I have to get healthy, but I don’t feel like I need to do it now. I’m still young. I have time. So if I fail this time, there’s always another time.
So last weekend I saw a Groupon for a boot camp in Minneapolis for $29 dollars over 10 days. I took an exciting risk and signed up, and I was super pumped. It’s going to be a great challenge! And it’s going to be hard but I can do it!
It was hard. Like, really hard. Like, way harder than I thought. Each session is 30 minutes, but within 10 minutes of the first time, I was close to tears, feeling like I was stupid for thinking I could do this, and feeling embarrassed in front of everyone else who could do a simple push up (I can’t even do a proper plank!) and just, in general, feeling hopeless and way over my head. Before it was over, my arms had just stopped working. The drive home was pretty much a straight shot, but even taking turns was a struggle.
I had noodle arms. And I felt so ashamed. And the next day was incredibly painful. But I got encouragement from Alan and he said he was proud of me (AND, he did all this stuff like make my dinner and get me mineral waters because I couldn’t move!) and I SAID I wanted a challenge. I didn’t want to give up just yet.
I went again on Wednesday. It was still hard, but I didn’t have to use my arms as much and I felt slightly better. The next day was the first day I thought it was fun. I began to compartmentalize things. Like, after this workout, I only have to do 4 more minutes and then I can have water. Each little workout is 2 minutes long, divided into intense 30 second bursts. It’s amazing how long half a minute can feel. But it was better when I didn’t make it into a big thing. Before you know it, you have 10 minutes left, and you just have to push like hell.
I took the weekend off but I’m going back today. I’ll be done on Thursday. I almost feel like I’ll miss it. To somewhat fill the gap, I bought myself an exercise ball and some weights so I can do this stuff at home.
These workouts, while just god awful and hard, strangely make me feel good about myself. I gave myself a challenge, and dammit I gave it my all, and I didn’t give up. Sometimes you just have to dive in head first and give yourself a kick in the ass you really need.
When I was telling my dad about it the other day, he put it pretty well; “Your body needs to be broken before it can be rebuilt.”