I. Effing. Exercised. Not incidentally walking to somewhere I was going anyway, not counting doing laundry, I effing exercised. I exercised in the way that you like lace up your tennis shoes and go outside wearing workout clothes and a sports bra and carrying a bottle of water and purposely sweat it out for more than like 5 minutes. I did it and I’m excited.
Yeah, so I know that many of you will be like “Yeah, awesome … I do that every single day and I feel no need to alert the Internet.” I used to be like you, so listen up:
I confess I was a former Smug Exerciser. In high school and college, I was a gym rat. I loved the social aspect of going with my friends, loved the personal goals I could set, loved the relaxed feeling I got afterwards, and, shamefully, I loved the feeling of superiority it gave me when I darted back into the apartment with a towel and a water bottle to think judge-y thoughts about my roommates or friends om nomming cookie dough and watching ER (yeah, I was kind of a bitch and karma and stuff). I also loved having the freedom to indulge in one of my life’s great loves (food and drink) with a little less guilt.
So why did I stop? Well, a million reasons. Chiefly among them, I wasn’t really getting what I wanted out of my competitive debate career in college at the end of it, and I felt like I needed to devote every waking second to changing that (which failed, and should have been a lesson to me that neglecting your health is never worth it). After that I moved to a new city. I started grad school. I got into an awesome relationship where I no longer felt like I needed to do the single-girl body obsession thing (which may indicate I was exercising for all the wrong reasons).
I was busy but more than being busy, I FELT busy. I was overwhelmed a lot in work and at school and I just never had the energy.
More reasons include but are not limited to:
1. I AM NOT a natural athlete. I am in no way someone who can expertly step aerobic(s? is there a verb form?), run a 10-minute mile with perfect form, or execute blissful yoga poses while looking all glow-y and magazine-like (although my balance is awesome, weird talent, whatever). I am an UGLY exerciser. I am always sweaty, red-faced, and making it look exactly as difficult as it is. That can be intimidating in classes or gyms where, even though I know better, I assume everyone is looking at ME.
2. I’m a procrastinator by nature, which is deadly to going to the gym. I always put it off until it’s too late in the day and they’re closed and/or I’m sleepy.
3. I always feel entitled to days off. I don’t do the work to make the time on vacations and work trips, so I fall out of a pattern and I can never fall back into one.
So, today lacing up my shoes was a big step because I overcame all that nonsense. I am on vacation and I exercised. Here. In the nature. In hot weather. With hills. I DID that. If I can just bottle how awesome I feel for having made the effort and the time, I think I would never skip it again. As soon as I get past my three weeks on smoking and caffeine and HFCS, I’m going to start formulating some exercise goals with the real reasons why I don’t exercise in mind, but until then, I’m just going to try to do it. Because I can. And I will.