I wasn’t sure if I should write a post on fitness because I am not an authority on it. But fitness has been a constant part of my life for the past five years. After my accident, my lifestyle changed dramatically but my eating habits did not. This resulted in my gaining a lot of weight. I also became very weak physically, using a remote and a fork doesn’t require a lot of physical strength. Shocking I know. Mentally I was a mess, a hot pocket mess, but a mess.
One morning when the rubber band I used to close the button on my size 16 jeans snapped I knew that I had to make a change. I somehow got up enough courage to walk into a huge shiny gym and join. I found the first person behind a desk, told them that I was there to make a change; I wanted a membership and a trainer. One thing I have learned about myself is that it is always best to take immediate action on a new idea. If I don’t take immediate action then said new idea will get buried. Buried under the second-guessing and constant research of the best way to proceed with the said new idea.
I started going to the gym immediately and working out with the trainer. It. Was. Brutal. I did not want to do this. I had certain physical limitations that made working out a more difficult than it had ever been in the past. I also felt like a blob of Crisco in this bright shiny gym. The weight didn’t magically fall off like it did when I was 16 years old. Then, to add insult to injury; my trainer had the nerve to imply that my diet was a problem. My diet had something to do with the fact that I wasn’t losing weight as quickly as I wanted. What? I couldn’t just exercise and eat whatever I wanted? This was brand new information.
This whole physical fitness/being healthy stuff was so hard. After six months I had lost about 25lbs. I was still unhappy with my weight but it took so much effort. The trainer I was working with opened her own gym. So I started going there and working with another trainer at the big shiny gym. I also added cardio two days a week. Shit was about to get real. Oh, and I completely changed my diet and became obsessed with reading food labels. I stopped eating fast food and even dabbled with a plant-based diet.
All of this extreme effort helped me drop another 50lbs. I was finally a little happier with my weight but it took a lot of effort. I was working out 5-6 days a week for 90 minutes a day. I was planning every meal. I talked about food constantly. Is it a whole food? Does it have any artificial ingredients? How does your body process it? I got a little insane with it. I looked better. And I felt better physically.
Mentally I was back and forth. The stress from everyday life was easier to handle. I slept better. But I was still beating myself up over every little thing. Did I eat too much? Is this a healthy food choice? Do I look fat today? Is that cellulite? Also, it was tough to see all the super fit Barbie’s at the big shiny gym. But one day I overheard one of the Barbie’s who was training for a fitness show talking about her diet say, “I’m so hungry.” It was like a light went off and I knew that it’s not easy for anyone.
When the second gym I was going to went out of business, I had a little time off. I stopped working out as much. I started to find a little balance in my diet. I focused on eating mostly whole foods. Nothing from a package. No fast food ever. And eating smaller meals more frequently. I also started eating more tacos, life’s too short not to eat the tacos. This is what worked best for me. I stopped listening to what every single person was telling me and did my own thing. I think that everyone is different and we all have to find our own balance.
I still workout anywhere from 2-5 days a week depending on what is going on in my life. I try to maintain a good balance in my diet. I do these things now for my physical, mental, and emotional health. I have realized how important it is to be mindful of the little things that we can control regarding our health. I have also realized that I am never going to be a physical fitness gym bunny. I am perfectly happy with that. It is too much damn work that I have no interest in. I am very thankful for the gym bunnies that I know personally and that I follow on the Instagram. Without them, I would have zero motivation on some days.
The only thing I can say with authority about working out is that small changes add up to big improvements. When I first joined the gym I could not even raise my left leg. I can do that now, with weights. It’s the little things.
Please remember to be respectful to everyone at the gym. We all go there for our very own reasons. Some people may be beginners, they have no idea what they are doing but at least they are trying. Some people may be injured, they may look different than you but they are working to get better. Some people may be there for stress relief, they may look angry but they just suffered a loss. Some people may need their ego stroked. They may be loud and obnoxious, but their partner wakes them up each day by telling them how worthless they are. Be kind. You don’t know their story.
Do you have a fitness journey to share? Tell me all about it in the comments below.
Photos by: Sherika Mathis Sims
Shop the post:
Shop The Post