I started my journey into health and fitness in high school. I began by running weekly in the neighborhood with my friend to get some exercise and eventually joined a gym with my family and began taking fitness classes.
Playing = Exercise
Before this I remained active just by being a kid: I played tag, roller bladed, rode my bike with friends, and jumped on the trampoline. Until I reached 14 or 15, exercise didn’t exist in my mind, I simply played.
Unfortunately, as I aged, my playfulness decreased. Gone were the days of flashlight tag with the neighbors and endless nights jumping on the trampoline or making up dance routines in my basement. Enter the days of binge drinking, partying, and ‘clubbing’. Things change and so did my idea of exercise.
Exercise then became something that I had to do to be healthy. Since I wasn’t nearly as active as I was being a kid, I had to make sure I remained active by going to the gym. I enjoyed working out (and still do!) and it became a passion of mine.
A Never Ending Journey
My exercise journey has evolved over the years. It’s a never ending journey, really. Even when I think I’ve “got it all figured out”, I learn something new that completely changes my point of view and I feel like I am back at square one.
For example, when I was around 20 and 21 years old, I thought training like a Figure or Fitness Competitor was the end all be all of training. However, my obsessive way of life completely diminished my quality of life. I realized that having goals that were only based on how I looked rather than how I felt was not something that was going to work for me.
Aesthetic Goals VS Healthy Goals
There have been times where my sole purpose of exercising was to have a “hot body” and to be thin. And when that is my only reason for exercising, I begin to loath it. I begin to see it as a way of saying to myself that I am not good enough and that I need to continually bust my butt to look better until I look “perfect”.
My Turning Point
My turning point was when I dropped out of training for a figure competition. My life became all about my looks and trying to get “skinny” and “lean”. Living a life only thinking about myself and what I look like physically made me miserable. I was hard on myself. I lost sight of what really mattered in this life.
It was a huge lesson. I think it was something I had to attempt to see that it was not the route I was going to keep going down in this journey. It was a sign that I had to reevaluate my goals and figure out what was important to me. It was when I realized that my fitness journey has no end, it’s a never ending journey and I will continue to learn.
You don’t see me writing posts in this blog about being on a diet or trying a new plan to lose weight or “tone up”. That is not who I am anymore. I don’t strive to be skinny. I now strive to be accepting of myself. And let me tell you, striving for self acceptance takes a lot more work and soul searching than striving to be thin ever did. It’s easy to let thoughts of losing weight take over. It’s more difficult (yet more rewarding) to have thoughts of working on self acceptance.
I currently exercise because I love it. Exercise helps me in life and makes me feel good. It’s the number one reason I do it. I sleep great, I have a ton of energy, and exercise increases my self esteem, which in turn helps me with self acceptance. I also feel like it makes me a more positive person and improves my outlook on life.
Exercise does help me maintain a healthy weight, but that’s it. It doesn’t aid in self obsession to be something I am not. I am not a size 2 and nor will I ever be. Some people find it of great importance to be thin. I don’t. I find it important to be healthy and to accept my body. I find it important to work on other aspects of myself, not just my physical body. I will not spend my time forcing my body to be a size that it is not.
My journey will continue and I will yet again learn things that make me reevaluate my current views. But this is the beauty of life and the beauty of health and fitness: it does not end. It’s a process and it’s something that you have to continually work at to evolve, learn, and grow.
Why do you currently exercise?