THE SLIPPERY SLOPE
Another huge part of my recovery has been the battle with exercise. Growing up, exercise was always connected with team sports—swim team, cross-country, soccer, lacrosse. I wasn’t a sports superstar, but I was a contributing member of several sports teams. However, I stopped participating on sports teams for a few years, and rapidly gained weight. That’s when my exercise habits shifted from sports teams to an individual pursuit of some goal. As an overweight teenager, I began dieting and using exercise to lose weight, become healthier, and fit in. And indeed, I shrunk fairly easily, got new clothes, received compliments, and felt confident in my new body. However, this began my journey down the slippery slope of using exercise for something more than recreation or joy of movement.
Once started, I couldn’t stop exercising for fear I would gain the weight back. So, from then on, I made sure I exercised everyday. I remember berating myself when I missed a day, and trying to make it up the next day by working out twice as long or twice as hard. Whenever I missed a day, the whole day was ruined—I body bashed and binged myself into psychological oblivion. And that moved to using exercising as punishment. Whenever I binged, I would work out twice that day, or I would tell myself that I am really fat and my body is disgusting throughout the whole next workout. I engaged in extreme exercising, programs like Insanity, Turbo Fire, and P90X because I believed that they would finally change my body into what I wanted.
THE BETTER WAY
With IE, exercise is all about enjoying the movement of your body—its natural grace and agility. Since embracing IE, my exercise habits have been difficult to change. I still have a mini freak-out each time I miss a day of exercising (even when I’m sick or injured.) But I have learned that I do not like extreme exercise programs or regimes, at least, not right now. I enjoy working hard, straining my muscles, and sweating, but not to the point of exhaustion or pain. I enjoy the feeling of sore muscles because I know that means my body is building and growing, however not sore enough that I cannot play with my little girls and complete daily chores.
This breakthrough has been huge for me. I was doing those workout programs for the wrong reasons—for weight loss, for self-esteem and confidence boosts, and for punishment for falling of the diet wagon. Now, I am beginning to enjoy exercise because of how I feel afterward with building muscles, but also during the actual workout. I am beginning to change my workout voice from I need to keep going because my abs are flabby to I really love how I am feeling my abs work but I can stop when I need to, and from I’m working off those brownies from yesterday to I have the energy to go all out—I can do this! This change has been huge and I find I am a much happier person because of it. I still feel pangs of guilt or envy when I see someone training for a marathon or doing Insanity, but I know what kind of person I am when I do those things myself, and I don’t want to be that person again. I want to be happy and healthy, and now I am (well, at least I’m working on it.)