My friend Karen (who is the most physically fit person I know) was reminding me last night how she remembers vividly one of the last times I was dieting and attempting to exercise. What she remembers most is how pissed off I was. I had joined the gym to try and increase my weight loss efforts but at the time I was working in Boston so I had a long commute. I couldn’t get myself there in the morning and at night I would go only to be incensed that I had to wait for the machines I wanted to use. I was also dead tired. I complained about it and complained about it until finally I stopped going. Was I simply a big baby and a quitter? No. What was actually happening was I didn’t have enough fuel to sustain a workout. I was exhausted, I was starving and yes I was pissed off—can you blame me?
I don’t think I have ever experienced until now (age 46!) joy in exercise. When I have taken up any form of exercise in the past it was always coupled with dieting to lose weight. It wasn’t about getting out into nature for a hike or working out to be healthier or to get in shape. It was simply about losing weight and since the exercise was coupled with one of my crazy no nutrient low calorie diets it was impossible to sustain. I would go at it great guns and burn out seemingly seconds later. And of course for the short periods I was doing it I pretty much hated it because I felt like crap and had no energy. Exercise was never something I wanted to do—I tried to do it because I thought I should to lose weight. It became associated in my brain with the torturous diets I would force on myself. Lose, lose situation, and I don’t mean weight loss.
So, as it went with the diets the exercise inevitably fell by the wayside. I may have had some sort term success and weight loss. But guess what? If what you are doing to lose weight is not sustainable it’s going to come back bringing with it a few more pounds to join the party. Another reason to be pissed off!
We had a really good laugh as Karen described how mad I was all the time. For those of you who know me or if you read the blog you may have picked up that being angry is not my usual demeanor. I am a total goof and like to laugh at just about anything. So being in that state of pissed off a lot of the time was a sure sign that something was wrong. What was wrong? I was getting very little nutrition and had very little to fuel my system while I was working at a stressful job with a long commute and trying to work out. Yeah, that’s pretty wrong.
Believe it or not, now that I feel good from eating nutrient dense foods I actually enjoy exercising. When I first started running it was hard—I was still overweight and of course out of shape. But now I like it and it feels good—I want to go. And as I was coming home from working out with my trainer this morning it cracked me up thinking of that old pissed off self because I have been having FUN working out with him and I can feel myself getting stronger. Wow, what a difference—going from having a fit to getting fit.
So if you are trying to start an exercise routine and nothing seems to stick take a look at two things. Are you eating foods that nourish you and give you the energy to start? And are you coming at it from a place of I should or I would like to? Try to find a balance and start with something you might find fun like walks in the woods, short hikes or maybe tennis. The more you do the better you will feel between moving your body and feeding it nutrient dense whole foods. Your exercise routine will go from pissed off to playful in no time!