a glimpse : my hate/love relationship with my body and working out

At the beginning of this month, I made a commitment to begin working out.
Again.
Up until March 2, I had been doing yoga {inconsistently}, but I had stopped doing cardio and lifting weights.
Part of this was intentional and part of it seemed to slip away without my noticing.

Has this ever happened to you?
One day you wake up and you realize you’re no longer doing something you used to do?
It’s like, “Wait… When did that stop????”

You may or may not know this, but I used to be someone who worked out.
A lot.
Aggressively.
In fact, in another life, I taught classes at a women’s gym and I dabbled in personal training.
And I was intense.
I taught kickboxing classes and hiphop and strength training and I pushed myself and others.
HARD.
People loved it and I loved seeing their results.
I watched and encouraged women to grow and embrace their inner strength.
A strength that oftentimes, they had forgotten was inside of them.

However, it wasn’t pure.
You see, my personal reasons for working out were rooted in a very dark place.
In one breath, I was encouraging and speaking love into other women and using the same eyes and mouth, I would go home and inspect, pick apart, and criticize my own body in the mirror.
I was constantly searching for areas that needed to be “fixed” or “worked on” or “improved”.

Even after I stopped teaching, my reasons for going to the gym still stemmed from this unhealthy place.  If I didn’t workout for a few days, I would freak out fearing that… that I was getting fat or gaining weight or that my round face had become even more round.  I just knew that my belly was pooching out and that my arms and butt had suddenly become flabby.

Years later, as I began digging more deeply into my own personal development, I realized and came face to face with a harsh reality.
My motivation for working out was rooted in hate.
I hated my body and I felt the need to “whip it” into shape.
I was working out from a place of fear.
Fear of getting “fat”, fear of gaining any weight, fear of what you {me} might say if my stomach wasn’t flat and my arms weren’t ripped.

When I had this realization at the end of 2016 and began the journey of deepening my own self-love, I went to the opposite extreme.  I didn’t want to do anything that didn’t feel good to my body.  I revisited yoga, but I avoided any intense workout.  I didn’t want to push my body at all.  HIIT workouts and bootcamps terrified me and I hid from them.

All I wanted was to love my body and I didn’t know how to do that while working out the way I used to.  And, if I’m honest, there was a part of me that was afraid if I went “there” in the gym, I would go back “there” mentally and I was not going to let that happen.

The truth was, I didn’t trust myself.

This pattern continued for awhile and then one day last year, I allowed myself to get reacquainted with cardio and weights.  I found ways to move that felt really good to me.  I didn’t work out all the time, but I was working out and I was feeling pretty awesome.

But, at the end of last year, I fell ill.  And then came the holidays.  In December we bought our first home, in January and early February I was out of town for 10 days, and then we packed up our apartment and moved into our home.  All semblance of routine was lost to me and so were my workouts.

 I woke up at the beginning of this month and realized that I had literally stopped working out.
Like, I was not doing it.
At all.
I didn’t give the new realization a ton of attention.  I simply had the awareness, took ownership in accepting it for what it was, and took action to change.

  1. I got myself some accountability {the closest thing you can get to a “secret sauce” to success} around working out.
  2. I forced my ego to start small by committing to 3 workouts a week.
  3. I gave myself permission to have a do-over.

I have worked out 3 times a week every week this month and I’m feeling terrific!  I’m exploring new workouts like barre and pilates and I’m noticing what I enjoy and what I don’t.  I’m finding what feels good to me and it’s actually been a lot of fun!


But.  It has not been easy.


Despite muscle memory, if you haven’t worked out in awhile, you simply cannot just jump back in where you left off.  Expecting that you “should” be able to… well, that can lead to disappointment and frustration.  You might start to feel like you suck or even begin to beat yourself up for what you feel you’ve “lost”.  Please don’t do this.  It will serve ONLY to delay future progress.


The reality is, you’ve got to build momentum and strength and recondition your muscles.

This process will take time

Consistent effort.

Practice.


In fact, progress in any area of your life will follow a similar pattern.

MASSIVE results typically take time.

Consistent effort.

Practice.


HOWEVER.

Remember, recognize, and celebrate that you ARE making progress.

Small steps are still steps.


Here’s the truth:

You can make a decision to change and then you will spend every day moving forward actually changing.

Sometimes you will have to modify things because you simply don’t have the energy to go “full-out”.

That’s okay.

What’s important is that you keep showing up.

Keep giving your very best.

But recognize that “your very best” is relative and “your very best” may look different day to day or moment to moment.


Now?

I workout because I love the energy I create and feel.

I love knowing that I am doing something that is nourishing my physical self.

I love feeling strong.

I love how I feel when I’m done.


You wanna know what else?

My body has changed.

But so has my attitude about it.

I genuinely love what I see when I look in the mirror.

I am in love with all of my perfect imperfections.


I want to encourage you to check your “come from” the next time you head to the gym or to a class or head into the room where you do your at home workout practice.

Why are you there?

Why did you show up today?

Do you love what you’re doing?

If not, why are you still doing it?

Is it necessary to do something you hate?

How can you move your body in a way that feels good to you?

Or, are you not working out at all right now?  Why not?


Or, perhaps you are already coming from a place of love.  Of joy and celebration for your strong and exquisite body.

No matter your “come from”, awareness is the first step.

Comment below.

I would love to hear from you, celebrate in your most precious journey, and offer any support.

 

xo,

Michelle

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