Tuesday, February 01, 2011
"The hardest part is getting off the couch - and congratulations, you've already done that!" - Sensei Randy McElwee, American Black Belt Academy
I just finished Day 1 of the 28-Day Bootcamp Challenge here on SP. I had to force myself to do it for many reasons, all of which I'm sure anyone in this community is familiar with. It's mostly excuses - I still have a whole sink full of dishes to do, a house to sweep, laundry to fold and put away. My husband requested chocolate chip cookies that I said I would make, and still plan to (once I get those dishes washed). I don't have time after work - I'm exhausted already and there's so much left to do before I go to bed. How can I be so selfish as to take time to exercise?
It's only a ten minute video, I tell myself firmly. Ten minutes and you're done. You used to go to martial arts for an hour, three or four times a week. Ten minutes is okay.
Once I get myself over the excuse hurdles, then it's time for me to get past the fears. I have always had body image issues - I'd give anything to be back where I was earlier in college, when I was 155 pounds and mostly active, whining about the marginal amount of fat around my midsection. And with the body image issues comes the insecurity about working out. Like others, I would rather pretend that I'm happy with my body as far as everyone else is concerned, and keep my insecurities to myself. But I can't do that anymore. I can't pretend that I'm okay with looking in the mirror and seeing my stomach fold over my waistband; or having to wear Wranglers that are 38x36 instead of the multitude of 34x36 in my closet, some never even washed; or having to wear jeans and button-downs to work because that's all I can fit into anymore. I hate not being able to wear a bathing suit comfortably because of the fat rolls. I hate that two years ago, I was reasonably fit and active in martial arts and other activities, that a year ago I was on the beach in St. Augustine, Florida in a polka-dotted bikini and a tan line, riding waves on boogie boards with my new husband and no thought of how fat I looked. I hate looking in the mirror every morning when I put on my underwear and liking a small part of myself, only to have that thought ruined by the thousand other thoughts of how bad everything else looks.
Most of all, I'm conflicted. I don't want to be made fun of for working out. My husband and I are not small people. We will never be small people. And we don't want to be small - we want to be fit. He says he wants to get fit so he can get in the Army; I want to get fit because I was, once, and to support him. But I'm afraid of being made fun of for working out to a video on the Internet, or sticking to some kind of "diet plan." To be honest, fear is more dangerous to me than the excuses. I know I can beat the excuses if I follow Sensei's advice (seen at the beginning of this post), even if it takes a little time to get where I want to be. But the fear of embarrassment, the fear of starting new things and being mocked, almost kept me out of the dojo and now it's kept me from working off this accumulation of extra weight that is hurting my knee and causing back spasms. And that's the catalyst to all this - I'm still afraid of getting embarrassed, but the knowledge that my embarrassment will be overcast at the end of this 28-day challenge, or 3-month routine, or 6-month training schedule, when I have lost inches and gained back muscle; when I have proven myself to be stronger than my greatest adversary: myself.
I am done with old injuries hurting because I have amassed too much useless weight to support. I am done with hiding behind clothes that "just fit" and covering up all my old clothes in the closet because I am ashamed that I can no longer wear them. I am so over being poked at by family members because I've "gained a little" since I've gotten married/moved back home/gotten a desk job/etc. This is my declaration of war on laziness, fear and unhappiness.
I will choose better foods 90% of the time - fresh vegetables and fruits, more whole grains, fewer empty carbs and sugars - so that when I want to make less-healthy choices 10% of the time, I won't have to beat myself up internally. I will watch better what I eat, make most of my food at home and hopefully grow most of it, so I can guide myself and my husband's eating choices better than choosing a Double Stack over a Single at Wendy's. I will do this not only for myself, but for my husband and my future children, so that I can set a proper example for all of us. I do not want to worry about diabetes, heart disease, premature arthritis or any other preventable disease so prevalent in our country today.
I will buy a pair of girly jeans and love looking good in them. I will buy a polka-dotted bikini and look fabulous in it. I will eat what I like, in moderation, and exercise to maintain a healthy figure. I can do this. I am strong. And no amount of fear, embarrassment or judgment can stop me.