Now, if you ARE an exercise machine, killing serious cals in your workouts, do about a gazillion gym sessions each week, running out your door and bragging about your multiple-workouts in a row - this one's NOT for you! You're fine... you don't need me!
Nope, I'm talking to the person whose hiding out in their loungeroom with serious 'exercise envy' because they simply don't know where to start, or are talking themselves out of even trying because they "can't match it with the others".
... and I'll tell you why.
.... and it's taken its toll since. Not only has my body battled pulling ANY numbers since, but I lost the plot - literally - and went into self-sabotage binge-mode eating, emotional breakdowns, enormous self-doubt, and I'm really loathe to say it, but the "black" started to seep back into my psyche. Then the onslaught of Bathurst's fantastic winter weather hit, and my knees packed it in, mobility became an issue and the 'hibernation munchies' took over...
Tomorrow I lose my gym membership (which was sponsored for three-months for the course of the Challenge) and shattered at the prospect of losing that outlet, promised myself I'd take advantage of my final week.... and you know what, I haven't even walked in there once this week. I'm just too gutted because I can't financially afford to pay to renew it. Needless to say, some part of me threw my hands up in the air and said "why bother?!!!" - and I've been fighting it since, somewhat pathetically.
I've been sitting here this week working on strategies to get myself out of this horrible funk, self-analysing what's going on and why I'm so upset, and wondering "what the hell I did BEFORE all this stuff" - publicity, gym, competitiveness - when I used to do this in secret and without a gym - that was working so well, before I turned into the ignorant, arrogant, number-obsessed junkie that I've turned into!
I sit here and read other people 'bragging' about their results, successes, wins and big calorie-smashing exercise sessions, and the lump in my throat is enough to suffocate me. I'm seriously shattered. There WAS a time when it was ME sitting here doing the bragging (which in all fairness, before someone takes offense, it's NOT bragging really - it's often someone surprising themselves with something they never did before, so are so excited they just want to share with everyone else! ... well, that was ME anyway... am sure there's others out there who ARE literally bragging!!!)... I read this, I congratulate, I fly the happy flag for them... but I'm hurting. A lot.
The last few weeks I've been loathe to exercise at all - my mobility is very much hindered with my knees out of action, and it breaks my heart. My eating-binges have me up and down a few kilos on the scales, and I feel bloated and icky because of it - and just want to hide away in a moo-moo cuz my self-perception is so distorted, I'm back to feeling the way I did three years ago at my heaviest! I want to hide, I don't want people stopping to stare at my lumpy body, trying to move when I can't... and I can't even begin to explain how disappointed and upsetting it is to see so few calories burnt when I DO exercise (distorted perception again, because my fitness became so strong, I have to keep working more and more to see the same levels of calories burnt = superior fitness. So going back to 'realistic' routines and smaller burns, I'm so distorted, that I'm severely disappointed..)
It was only a few weeks ago I was doing double classes a day at the gym, or a good solid 2+ hours nearly 6 days a week. I was kicking BUTT - like a freaking "professional exerciser" - but let's face it, I was so wrapped up in that constant WIN, I was living off adrenalin and so brutally obsessed with my results, I was completely ignorant to the fact I was hurting myself (literally) - and stuffed my body entirely because of it. I minced my knees, exhausted all the reserves, and my body started retaliating with weird side effects (ones I didn't tell anyone about when they were happening). NOT realistic, NOT normal... ignorant, arrogant, brutal and quite frankly.... STUPID.
I lost the love of exercise - which broke my heart - because for a girl who could barely move 'before', it's that liberation that I'd fallen in love with... The more freedom I found, the more I loved it. ... and now, I'm stuck in a zone where I degrade doing something simple (because it's "not enough"), I question why I bother if it's not big or brutal enough, fob-off the basics and opt for hiding instead, because my head-space is so out of whack!
My breakdown the other day was necessary - they always are - it's the trigger-point where I come to cross-roads about what I'm doing versus what I SHOULD be doing. I sat here and cried, because I miss the girl who was happy to plod along with her weightloss - who rejoiced in losing half a kilo a week cuz she worked to pull that and it IS enough... who rejoiced in going for a half-hour (!!) walk and didn't care so much that it wasn't burning "over a thousand calories", the girl who ate realistically and was humbled by finding new things about herself and her body all the time that she didn't know she could do... who didn't feel compelled to hit goals (or hurt herself for them) for a 'deadline' or let someone else's expectations rule her actions!
I miss her... SHE was real.
Yesterday I forced myself to walk to the post office, bank, shop and home. It wasn't a big walk by any means - in fact, it was nothing in comparison to what I've been known to do... but it was MY achievement. My head was telling me to drive, "stay warm Amy, your knees are bad, don't do it... Don't want to be seen in my tracky pants strutting down the main street... You can just hide and do the cross trainer in the loungeroom (which I probably wouldn't have - even THAT strategy isn't necessarily working!)... It'll take too long to walk there and back - you should be doing client work instead." BULL. It took about 40 mins, INCLUDING the stint in the shop... and it made me feel GOOD.
Simple walk. Didn't wear my heart rate monitor - because I didn't WANT to know...
SO WHAT if my heart rate didn't reach some ridiculous point that my temples wanted to explode...
SO WHAT if it didn't even register a solid hour's walk
SO WHAT if someone sees you in tracky pants
SO WHAT .... ?! What what what what?!!
I came home really humbled, and really relieved. I smiled as I unpacked my groceries and made my delicious lunch with the goodies I'd found marked down, that I'd have missed otherwise. It empowered me enough to strap on my shoes last night and go to my Zumba class (the one I ADORE but have been avoiding too cuz "it doesnt burnt enough cals"... OMG I cry for that... ) and it gave me the spark today to go and have lunch with my friend and LEAVE MY FREAKING HOUSE and be social, when my head is in "hermit mode".
.... and just as we were sitting there having lunch outside today, the sunshine broke out from behind the dark clouds, and I said to Dan, "I'm going to go for a walk! I NEED to walk!"...
.... and I did!
Came home, geared up and walked out the door. I walked for 55 minutes - out to Kelso and back (roughly 5kms). It was the track I was ECSTATIC to walk not that many months ago, when I'd built up enough stamina and endurance to handle such a long distance. It was the one I'd fobbed off since, because "it wasn't enough!" (ouch...)
As I was coming down the back straight on the way home, it hit me.... I was doing what I loved - I'd literally zoned out - had stopped telling myself this was wasting my time, wasn't good enough, my heart rate wasn't peaked enough, I wasn't working hard enough... BULLSHIT. My knees were handling it ok, I could feel it in my thighs, I wasn't huffing and puffing (fitness is awesome, but basic movement is bliss) and I felt GOOD.
SO WHAT if I'm not a freaking professional exerciser?! I stopped loving it when I went obsessive...
SO WHAT if I can't do what I did just a couple of months ago? That person killed her body because she turned ignorant and pushed herself into dangerous territory...
SO WHAT if I can't match numbers with people 20-30kgs lighter than me. They weren't nearly 200kgs to start with, and learning how to walk again from scratch!
SO WHAT if you have to start again Amy....
I thought of YOU GUYS when I was walking today. The people who are stuck in their loungerooms, broken hearted, hurt, with serious 'exercise envy', wondering how the hell to get up and take that first step... It wasn't that long ago that I was there with you. I was the girl who could barely move, was so ashamed it took a good couple of years before I was brave enough to exercise in public... I was the girl who cried the first time she went outside for a walk, from shame.... then cried the day she pushed a jog into the mix, from pure joy!
Sitting here writing this with tears streaming down my face (again!) - literally with my training gear still on, having walked back through the door and sat down to write this... I needed to talk to you guys....
I LOVE exercise because it empowers ME, it makes ME feel good. It humbles me because I gave myself a second chance to move, it recharges me and fills me with pride that I CHOSE to do this for the sole purpose of benefitting ME. It works hand in hand with my proactive lifestyle choices, healthy eating and working on the psyche... everything works together when it's balanced, heartfelt and REAL.
SO WHAT if we're not all insane, maniac-style gym-junkies and professional sweaters?!! It's not about them, it's about YOU. Every choice makes a difference. Every step is worthwhile.
SO WHAT I'm doing now... is empowering YOU to get up and make that stand. Next time you'd prefer to hide away, just don't. Walk out that door with me in your head - just as I had you with me today. You only need to take that first step... the rest is just magic!
Be proud, and just get up and DO. The smallest things can mean the most!