Changing Your Outlook On Health and Exercising
Don’t let your mind bully your body.June Tomaso Wood
I never in my life imagined that I would become a regular gym goer. I would rather stay at home and read or watch Netflix than take the time to go to the gym and exercise. I hated gym class in school and I would rather be anywhere else. As 2019 came to an end, I was thinking about what kind of resolutions I should make for the new year. I could go for losing weight, socializing more, improve my finances, get a promotion… the list is endless. There were so many things going through my brain before I realized what I wanted to do. I decided for 2020, I was going to love myself more. This can mean so many things. It can be eating healthier, exercising regularly, meditating, doing things to reduce anxiety and stress, spending time with people and activities that make me happy. The toughest one of these for me to achieve would be exercising regularly. Not that I physically couldn’t do it but psychologically, I put so much negativity on exercise and my body and associated it with feeling embarrassed about my size and didn’t want anyone to judge me. But part of loving myself more is breaking through these self-made barriers and exploring the world and myself beyond my own personal limitations.
Once I was a week into 2020, I decided to map out how to make all of these self-loving activities more realistic. What exactly would I do to put this plan into action? Step one: sign up for a gym. With spending the money as an extra incentive to go regularly, I went to a local gym and handed over my debit card. I was a little nervous at first but I needed to remind myself that everyone starts somewhere. I need to ease myself into my workouts to really get the hang of it. And before I knew it, my sessions were getting longer, I was going almost every day, and I was beginning to see results. I was so motivated. And it all came from looking to love myself more. And then came another incentive. The show I was working on had a giant turn-table as a set with two kitchens and a second-story bedroom and I was the primary operator of this. The more that got added to it, the heavier it got. I was so worried about making sure the show could happen smoothly and my fitness actually became a big part of this. The more I worked on my body, the easier turning the set became. And sometimes I didn’t realize how impressive this was until others tried to move it and were shocked at “how easy I made it look”.
This new confidence really pushed me to keep going until my gym and all others in the area were closed due to the coronavirus. It’s been hard to maintain staying physical at home because I didn’t realize how much I relied on the equipment and atmosphere of the gym to get me in the right spirit. I didn’t realize how much I would struggle to adapt to life and exercising during quarantine, so every new thing I try, I do with the hopes of distracting myself from the struggles of this time in the world and in that way, I am loving myself too. Being in quarantine isn’t fun and is pretty depressing. No wonder myself and so many people are struggling to find ways to stay active when the world is in such a dark place. That being said, I try to make sure I am doing as much at home as possible. I have been going for walks around my neighborhood, doing core and strength exercises that don’t require any equipment, and I have even tried my hand at yoga! I have a lot to learn in terms of keeping up with the strength and balance of yoga but I am looking forward to improving. I really do miss the gym but I love staying safe and healthy even more.
Regardless of the highs and lows of life, we need to take care of our bodies and love ourselves. I learned that in trying to love myself more, the gym stopped being a chore. I stopped seeing exercise as a miserable activity and that I needed to lose weight asap. While the goal still is to lose weight, I noticed that there is so much more to exercise than losing weight. In taking the approach of loving myself, I saw each step on the treadmill as a step towards outrunning any anxieties I had in the past. I saw each strength exercise as an opportunity to build up my strength and push passed any barriers life brought my way. I am so grateful for this new mindset towards health and as soon as the health crisis has ended and the gyms are open again, I will be back on track to continuing my journey.
You deserve to feel good as hell. We all deserve to feel good as hell.Lizzo