Why Being Kind to Yourself Is the Key to Wellness
I've never been what you might call a "fitness aficionado." In high school, when we had to complete the mile for gym class, I wore flip flops and chatted with girlfriends as we walked along the track for our 15 minute mile. Later on, when a boyfriend suggested we go to the gym together, I simultaneously blasted him for calling me fat and seriously contemplating dumping him. But I've also had my fitness "binges" so to speak. There have been times in my life when I hit the gym pretty hard core, for months, even perhaps a year at a time. I credit my husband (then boyfriend) for helping me get past my fear of entering the scary side of the gym (you know, where they keep the weights) and teaching me how to pump some iron in a not too girly fashion. But working out has always been just that for me - working. There was a reason I was doing it, and I promise you it wasn't for the endorphin rush or the Spandex pants. It was more of a, "Oh crap, I just ate blank blank and I still want to give bikini season a shot!"
And then I got married, got pregnant, gained another person, made another person, stretched out the Spandex and somehow reeled it all back in. That's the condensed version.
A couple months ago I read something somewhere (I know, it's terrible) that completely changed my world. Don't do things you don't want to do. Quite possibly the most un-useful piece of useful advice I've ever heard. I mean, really? That's all? If it were that easy, I'd be paid six figures for obsessively checking Facebook and pinning pretty outfits I'll never buy on Pinterest. But actually, it resonated with me.
Because you see, even though I hadn't physically stepped foot in a gym in almost… well, let's just say over nine months, not one day went by when I didn't guilt myself about it. But I didn't want to go. But I thought I had to. But didn't want to. So I didn't. But I made myself feel like a loser because of it. I was hanging onto those last twenty pounds and I just knew if I hit the gym, that would tip the scale.
I didn't go to the gym.
Instead, I turned some kindness on myself and decided to bring some physical activity into my life in ways that I enjoyed. I started taking my son on two walks daily around our little neighborhood. He loved it, I loved it, and I felt good getting the fresh air and the movement. I fed myself with kindness as well, putting goodness into my body in the form of whole foods and nutrient rich juices. And I stopped criticizing myself. I stopped stepping on the scale with negativity.
Do you want to shoot me yet?
I'm serious though. I did that. And I lost the weight. I lost more than I intended do, and am now maintaining a body weight that's both healthy and natural for me. I feel good. I'm absolutely not saying a person should completely cross out the gym or other exercise from their regimen. I am saying that everyone should find ways to get moving that they enjoy.
And amazingly enough, I find myself craving some more strenuous physical activity. I want to sweat a little, pump some iron, perhaps fit in a Spinning class or two.
So tomorrow I'm going to the gym.
Because I want to.