As someone who has been overweight practically my entire life, physical activity is not something I have ever really enjoyed. With a family that had no interest in sports, the outdoors, or anything that required any kind of physical activity, I was never encouraged to participate in anything that would promote physical fitness and my family never did anything like this together. As a child and teen, the required gym classes in school were complete torture for me. Things like running relay races, rope climbing, or even playing games like basketball were never fun, but instead, typically left me in tears because I never had the strength, speed, stamina, or energy my classmates always seemed to have.
The one exception came during high school, when my love of playing music and acting edged out my hatred of being active only slightly, but it was enough that I was in the marching band throughout high school and for one year of college, and performed in many stage shows that involved choreography and basic dance. I credit my involvement in these activities as helping me keep from gaining even more weight than I did when I was younger.
When I first started my weight loss journey 13 months ago, I did a little bit of exercise in the beginning, but my heart really wasn’t in it. I dove into the deep end immediately where my food changes were concerned, but I still made a lot of excuses for not working out regularly. I still felt like the chubby little kid that just wasn’t cut out for exercise, so I pretty much gave it up until I was 11 months in and had lost almost 100 pounds. It was at that point I resigned myself to the fact that I really needed to start working on toning while I continued to lose and move forward towards my goal weight.
Over the last 2 months since I joined the gym, things have changed drastically for me. I have found that I actually love working out! I won’t sugar-coat it…it’s been hard work, but as the saying goes, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!” I checked in with a trainer before I got started initially, and he gave me specific instructions for both cardio and strength work to do 3 times each week at the gym, and he told me to make sure to get in an hour of some other exercise (swimming, group classes, at home DVD’s, etc.) at least 2 other days each week. At the end of each month, the trainer works with me again to assess my progress and add new things to my workout program, which has involved adding new exercises as well as increasing sets and reps, and increasing how much weight I’m lifting.
For the first time in my life, I can truly say that I look forward to exercising. I don’t give up half-way through, and I don’t skip out or cheat on my schedule. I have made it a priority. Some days I go to the gym at 5:30am, other days I go at 5:00pm. Some days I’m in the middle of my living room with the furniture pushed back and the dog trying to stay out of my way. Wherever or whenever, I am determined to take care of my body and work towards making it the best it can possibly be. I have dumped the excuses, and instead have chosen to view each workout like this:
I don’t stop when I’m tired.
I don’t stop when I don’t feel like doing it.
I don’t stop when it hurts.
I stop when I’m done.