This post is partly an addendum to yesterday’s post (Gym discouragement? Not anymore). I do not do this often – usually my posts are like epic novels about nothing in particular in the blog worldview – but sometimes I am caught up in other stuff and forget something I want to remember later.
So anyway …
M and I were doing our weekly grocery shopping and errands on Saturday, chattering about the day as we typically do on these excursions. I was talking about my morning at the gym, how hard
I felt I worked, dripping sweat on the floor (and being mildly horrified as well as kind of proud), and how the hormone replacement therapy is boosting my energy in the day and my restful sleep at night. But mostly about how I wondered if the sides of my butt cheeks are ever going to cease feeling like I’m stabbing them with ice picks.
My husband is encouraging without being overly rah-rah enthusiastic. During the course of that conversation he reminded me that setting goals does not work out well for most people, at least in his opinion. When I got started the only goal he said I should pursue is to get to the gym and do everything I can do that day with the parameters of my time and ability, and then wash/rinse/repeat for all the days thereafter. He, J, others in my world promised me the consistency would lead to changes and improvements.
I’m glad he/they were right, and I’m really glad M leads by example. As much bitching, moaning, weenie-whining he might do about his daily runs, he gets out there, every single day for years now, and runs or runs/walks or sometimes even just walks for at least a couple of miles. The last couple of months he’s been clocking north of 100 miles per week every week and very happy about his training and having a lot of fun with his buddies, so life is very good for both of us as individuals as well as us the couple. I am trying to imagine how life might look and feel if he were still racing, but if he ever chooses to go that route again, we will adjust.
Today’s conversation, as we ran all over the place chasing down loose end items we needed to acquire and nail down for the week, we were talking about how difficult the commitment to regular exercise and healthier lifestyle can be. Or not. We do not really see it that way, but that’s just us and our simple, mostly uncomplicated, mostly drama-free lives. Our days begin early (4 a.m. for me, 3 a.m. for M), so our electronic notifications go off by 9 and we are both typically sleeping by 10 most nights. Weekends I have more latitude – my alarm goes off at 6 – but still, I try to stick to my regular sleeping schedule. Most people we know are unwilling to get up so early, and I completely understand their point of view. However, what I have learned is that my better health quest required some sacrifices that seemed so hard at first yet have made me so much happier to date.
Anymore, I don’t see the time I spend at the gym as such a supreme sacrifice. It’s an addiction, for sure, yet one I could likely quit without too much difficulty if I applied myself. It seems to me only bad habits are difficult to let go of – my battles with soda and sugar are defining moments in this line of conversation. The old “I am so busy” excuse could also be applied very easily, because there is always more work to do, to chase, to market. And I have superior skills in the art of dawdling and wasting time.
But a sacrifice? Not hardly. In considering this process and the choices I make every day about exercising and eating better, I recognize again and again it is a simple matter of priorities. My desire to take better care of myself pushed me out of being comfortable with existing habits and into the big scary world of the gym. When I could not do this by myself, I hired professional help with J. When I stopped making excuses, and stopped allowing myself to accept the excuses as reality-based reasons to not do what was necessary, I got better at the exercise. When my anxiety, insecurity, fear threatened my progress, I went back to TM for more professional help improving my self-esteem. My outlook and confidence have both soared dramatically in all aspects of my life. While I am safely on the healthy side of diabetes, food remains a struggle. It seems as if I have given up so much, I am unwilling to completely commit to going a lot farther and cut even more. That said, the marvelously patient and talented RD continues to work with me to suggest and
bully encourage me to implement tiny changes that will add up to significant differences overall. He has not given up and therefore I have not given up either. It will happen.
I have gained so much confidence and simple joy from the experiences, even the less pleasant ones. The challenges before me are not so daunting anymore, although when in the thick of them I have some doubts and feel as if my gym crazy has morphed into another kind of insanity … what most everyone else refers to as self-confidence. Having never really had any in fitness or athletic pursuits, it is as if a whole new world has opened and the black and white monochrome landscape suddenly has a kaleidoscope of colors leaking into the small, fine details. Sure, there has been sweat, tears, even occasional bleeding involved in the process. At the same time, I am more capable. My balance continues to improve. My strength and the shape of my limbs has altered. I pick up and actually use kettle bells and dumbbells with double digit weight ranges and think nothing of it anymore, and when I do stop and realize I am pushing a 25 lb. dumbbell or pulling a 45 lb. kettle bell I am a little in awe of me. J has been working overtime on a new set of upper body sequences, and I am very excited to see what the test kitchen has prepared this week.
Months and months ago J planted a tiny little idea seed that this week, this weekend has been nourished and coaxed into a little more growth – I could be on the road to badass-ery in the gym.
The thought makes me smile and makes my heart happy.