Working out has always been a struggle for me. It has been something that I had to do “to be skinny” (a mindset that was instilled in me far too young). As I have been working on reshaping how I view my body, my relationships with food, etc., I have been really trying to also change how I view exercise. This quote perfectly sums up the shift in thinking that I have been trying to make.
Today I went to a Barre fitness class. I’ll be honest, I was terrified. I have looked into this class for a while and always landed on the same, ridiculous conclusion: I need to get more fit before I can take this class. What?! Even I can read that and know it makes absolutely no sense. But again, I grew up learning very skewed, unhealthy things about fitness, food and my body.
I went on my first diet at the age of 12, which I actually thought made me “cool” back then because dieting was what adults do. But now I look back and I can see just how much that messed up my idea of what it meant to be healthy. Food was also a solution chameleon in our house growing up—you had a bad day? Food. You’re celebrating? Food. Catching up with friends? Food. Watching a movie? Food— I could go on and on, but you get the point. Now, at almost 32, I don’t know how to truly be healthy. Sure I can hop on the fad diet bandwagons, but when you have an unhealthy relationship with food already, cutting things out and limiting is just repeating the cycle in a different way. Exercise, growing up, was never something that was a normal part of life. It was not viewed as fun, it was painful and it was what you did to make up for what you ate.
But, today, I ignored those demons and I went to a class that intimidated me. And you know what? I didn’t die. There were many moments in the class where it was really hard, and it hurt. Just a few weeks ago, those struggling and painful moments would have cemented my mindset that exercise was something I needed to do TO my body, a punishment almost. But today, I kept repeating in my head “your body can do this, it was made to do all of this” and I pushed through. Now let’s be real, I had to take breaks, my muscles were shaking, there were definitely moves that I am far from proficient in at this point and I know I am going to be really sore tomorrow. But I also know now that being sore tomorrow is not because of what I “put my body through” in that class, it is because of what I put it through each day that I just sat on the couch, each day I made an excuse not to take care of myself. Realizing that, and claiming that new truth, is what I think has been the missing piece for me trying to get healthy and fit.
I have nearly 32 years of wrong thinking to undo, I know it is not going to change overnight. But today, pushing through in that class helped start the rethinking process.