Change is hard to make, and even harder to accept; even the ones that are good for you.
My new year resolution did not include anything about joining a gym or working out for that matter. Wanting to get stronger physically was an invisible goal that kept nagging me with guilt, but the task seemed daunting and overwhelming. Thankfully, Chris felt it was time that we work out and get active as a family.
For the past five years exercising was a luxury that we overlooked for ourselves. With the plethora of health issues facing Ellis and other life stresses, we were just happy to survive. But my lack of energy frustrated me and it only kept getting worse. Countless people and doctors have told me how exercise would improve blah, blah, blah, and then some more blah, blah, blah. I needed to change so that I could do more than survive.
Even though being healthy and strong sound good, being proactive about it is terrifying. Change will require, well…change: a disruption in my comfort zone that will be very uncomfortable for a while. However, a dear friend listened to my woes and reassured me that working out is an opportunity to get stronger physically and not just about looking better. Strong sounds good: I want it. I need it!
Next dilemma: What do you wear to the gym?? The choices are overwhelming and I didn’t even know what I needed. All those magazines with toned bodies in trendy athleisure intimidated me: Will the ladies come to the gym looking like that? Hearing my excuses and knowing that I can get easily overwhelmed, Chris knew that I would stall going to the gym for weeks. As the practical spouse, he went and bought all my gym clothes and sneakers. All this from a guy who profusely sweats when I ask what he loves about me. He’s very squeamish when it comes to verbal affirmations.
After a few gym visits, I quickly realized that the perfectly dressed models in athletic wear are mainly reserved for glossy magazine pages. Those pictures drove my insecurity, set up unreal expectations, and made me feel that everyone at the gym would look like that besides me. Unbelievable! How could I be so naive?? gullible? I should’ve known. I’ve quickly learned that it’s perfectly fine to show up wearing whatever you like as long as you are comfortable in it.
Whenever I feel like exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes.
– Robert M. Hutchins
Baby steps. I’m hoping that I don’t run out of motivation. Chris and the kids are excited and their enthusiasm is rubbing off on me, so I’m hoping that keeps the momentum going for me.
Deliberately making exercise a part of life is stirring up a lot of inner turmoil. It’s hard to change and to challenge my prehistoric views about rest, exercise, body image, self-care, and the very hard fact that using energy to exercise will somehow give me more energy: it seems counter-intuitive. Another ancient view I need to dismantle is the false belief that doing something good for myself is selfish. I’m realizing the opposite is more accurate and empowering: not doing something good for myself is selfish.