Along the years, I’ve started and quit going to the gym more times than I can remember. As a teenager, I’ve always HATED physical education activities at school. I was never good at any of the sports (badminton in particular!) and all I had going for me was that I was a ok-ish runner. So, I automatically thought that I was bad at everything that had to do with getting fit.
This is where I think the educational system should improve. Physical activity is solely associated with sports. Those who are not good at sports are automatically left to think that they hate physical activity. And, who can blame us? Getting picked last for every team is not the best feeling to boost your self-confidence! I believe that this is such a terrible picture to paint on the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. Exercise can be fun and have nothing to do with basketball, handball or that stupid game of lions and tigers. If only I realised this sooner, I would have started this journey a long time ago. But it’s always better late than never!
I started going to the gym regularly when I started enjoying it rather than going for the sole purpose of losing weight. Just like most people who start going to the gym, I wanted to lose weight but I began to see more progress when I thought less about the calories I ate and more about how my body was changing. Of course, your diet and what you eat in a day is a HUGE part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But as time went by, I became more concerned about how stronger and fitter I started to feel. Succeeding in what, you thought your body was never capable of, is an amazing feeling. It kept me, and still keeps me, coming back for more.
Apart from wanting to lose a few kilos, I started going to the gym for myself. I wanted to feel confident in my own body. This mind-set has taught me so much about loving myself and making time for me. Exercise slowly became an activity that I can do for myself and not to please others. I slowly stopped caring about the number on the bathroom scale and focused on how my jeans were getting less tighter and how I was lifting more weight than the previous month.
Exercise is also a BIG stress-reliever for me. I spend most of my time writing and working from home which means that I regularly spend most of my days in my pyjamas, typing behind a laptop screen. Although you might think I’m living the dream because I get to work at my own pace, freelance work sometimes might take a toll on you. Getting out of the house and doing something FOR ME is why I keep going to the gym.
For the first time in my life, I have a good relationship with food. Instead of looking at it as the enemy, I started looking at food as fuel for my body. I also stopped feeling guilty (but I’m human, I sometimes still do) when I have cheat days. Your body needs everything in moderation and I’m so thankful I finally understood that. I’m strictly against cutting anything off from your diet. I still have a massive sweet tooth and do not plan on restricting myself from anything. I’ve simply learnt that healthy food should take priority in my diet but that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy my favourite pick ‘n’ mix sweets. I will always be of the opinion that food is one of the greatest pleasures in life.
It’s not easy to adopt this mindset towards food and exercise. My only advice is to give it time. Do not do anything that you don’t want to. If you’re not enjoying your workout routine, change it. If you don’t think you can keep your diet up for a long term, it will probably fail and you’ll have to start from scratch. Having said that, don’t be afraid of failing. Just get back up. Find a balance and it will get easier. And don’t be too hard on yourself!
One more tip:
If you shed blood, sweat and tears at the gym (mainly sweat!) like me, these Dove products have been a lifesaver for me.