A little while back, I was talking to someone about my working out and how I felt “addicted” to it – that if I skipped a day or life got busy and I couldn’t workout for a few days, it was seemingly the end of the world. I felt dumb admitting this to someone, mainly because I don’t have the physique of someone a person would consider a gym rat. I don’t have a six pack or rippling quad muscles or huge biceps. But once I found myself saying this out loud to another person, something inside of me just clicked.
I normally try to fit in some kind of exercise at least seven days a week – I rarely give my body or my brain a chance to recover and recuperate. And it’s not small enjoyable walks, it’s Tabata style bike rides or 30 minute challenging runs – and if I feel like I didn’t punish myself quite enough with that, I’ll add on to it. Doing an arm, leg or ab workout. Intense is my style, and if I don’t sweat or get that heart rate up, I feel like my workouts mean nothing.
I plan my days on when I can get my workouts in. I have something planned that night? No problem, I’ll just wake up at the butt-ass crack of dawn. Vacation? Must make sure the hotel has a gym. And don’t even get me started on the Apple Watch and closing my rings. I love having the watch – I do. BUT it adds to my anxiety – I get upset with myself if I don’t hit that exercise or move goal. Surprisingly, and oddly enough, I don’t give too many shits about the stand goal, but I crave those sparkly circles at the end of the day like it’s my crack.
This past week, we went on a sort of mini-vacation to New Orleans. Like normal, I packed my workout clothes and planned on getting up to my workouts in. I told myself that I was going to get up early and get them in before starting the day. I will tell you exactly how many times that happened – it was a big fat zero. I did get a lot of exercise minutes for all the walking and swimming that we did – but there were no extreme treadmill sessions to make up for all the beverages and fried foods. And guess what – the world didn’t end. I knew my vacation self wouldn’t last long – I wouldn’t be constantly eating all of the not-so-great for me foods, and I wouldn’t continue to drink those super sugary, but oh-so-delicious, alcohol drinks. I told myself that my Apple Rings were just not going to get closed some days, and that’s fine.
I have toyed with taking off my watch, but I have grown so accustomed to having it on my wrist that I’d feel naked without it. Plus it comes with a pretty wicked farmers tan – so it stays. I lean heavily on the body positivity movement, and follow people that say to use exercise to get up and move your body because it feels good – not because you feel like you have to or because you’re punishing your body. I am holding myself to taking two days off completely during the week. I’m not going to not make plans because it doesn’t fit in my workout schedule, or because I wouldn’t be able to exercise if I committed to those plans.
I am slowly, but surely, coming to terms with this new body I inhabit. I will never be able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 125 pounds. It wasn’t healthy then, and it’s definitely not now. I want my focus to be on working out because I want to, and because it makes me feel good – I don’t want it to be something I dread. The apocalypse isn’t going to occur if I don’t feel like working out so I don’t – I won’t spontaneously combust if I don’t run or bike or weight lift for a few days. And I guess most of all, I don’t want Sheffield to see me like that – I want him to know that working out and moving can be fun – not something anxiety-inducing.
I have loved using the Peloton app – the instructors and their playlists make working out more enjoyable. And that’s what I’m going to focus on – getting a good sweat, but also doing something that I love. Life is too short to wake up and immediately start punishing yourself or putting yourself down. I know that I will slip back into the habit, so I’m putting this out here, now, to hold myself accountable.
To have something to come back to when I need it.