Monday, August 26, 2013
As August comes to an end, I'm facing my first month of the 8 this year without hitting 1000 exercise minutes. Between a few injuries that I decided to rest from before they got worse and then being sick last week, this just hasn't been my month when it comes to getting to the gym. In the time off, though, I've had the chance to really discover a really interesting truth about myself and exercise.
Exercise, in and of itself, does not seem to help me lose weight. At least not in any significant way above and beyond what diet alone does.
So why bother?
I bother because exercise makes me care more about my eating habits. When I'm able to get to the gym, I'm a lot more motivated to track my food and I'm more attentive to healthy habits in general.
I bother because I like instant gratification, and even when I don't see the scale move, I can still point to a great workout as a way I'm getting healthier.
I bother because I'm truly in this to get healthier - not just to lose weight. If I get to a point where my body is truly not holding me back from things I want to do and I can run half marathons and I hit some wall where I simply cannot lose another pound, that will be ok with me. Sure, I want to look good in clothes as much as the next person and would prefer to hit my goal weight, but the longer I stick this journey out, the more I really just care about treating my body well and being healthy.
I bother because on days when I feel totally unmotivated and feel like I'll never reach my goals, I can go to the gym and set the treadmill to 3.2 and walk - then run some intervals at 4.7 or 5.0 - and I can remember that the first time I went to the gym 6 months ago, 2.3mph was the fastest speed I could maintain. When things seem impossible, it's a nice reminder of just how far I've come.
I bother because I like feeling accomplished and proud!
I bother because I secretly get a kick out of the looks of surprise that I inevitably get from new gym goers when they first see my nearly 270-pound self start jogging.
I bother because working out helped me quit smoking. I wanted to get fitter and faster, and knowing that smoking would interfere with that goal helped me get through a few early cravings. It's now been over 7 months since I became a non-smoker.
I bother because it's doing something great for my body and my heart and my skin and my mood.
I bother because I'm worth all these great benefits.
Maybe most of all, I bother because working out has made me truly believe that about myself.