The Tale of the Girl Who Hated to Exercise, Part II

Thursday, March 10, 2011

One of my favorite books is The Hobbit by J. S. Tolkien. The main character Bilbo Baggins says something that has resonated with me and especially my journey to become a runner. He says, "It’s a dangerous business going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to."

In my first blog entry I described how I had hit a plateau. Until then, I had a great deal of success losing weight just by changing my diet. At this point in my healthy lifestyle journey I HATED everything to do with exercise, especially running because of poor physical education teaching in my middle school years.

I equated exercise with torture, which is what my sadistic gym teachers did throughout my middle school years. They physically and mentally tortured me and other students, expecting us to run miles without prior physical training and ridiculing us viciously if we could not; making us do push ups, sit ups, flexed arm hangs, and climbing rope with no instruction on proper form and publicly shaming students who did not meet their expectations. I carried the idea that I was weak, fat, lazy, and lacking will power for years and years.

And then I decided to leave my ideas at home and follow Bilbo out the door and step onto the Road. Two things made me reconsider my idea of exercise equals torture philosophy: Biggest Loser and a group of women who wanted to start a walking club in my apartment complex.

You will probably laugh when I tell you this but watching The Biggest Loser really changed my mind about how hard it is to exercise. I know they start the season with dramatic scenes of really heavy people being pushed to the limits of their physical endurance and fortunately I did not start watching the show in the beginning of the season. The first episode I watched featured a track workout where the contestants had to run 400 yards with as much weight as they had lost added in a weighted chest vest and see how much just their physical fitness had improved. The man who won the challenge ran the slowest but he improved the most from day 1 to the time of the challenge. I had a light bulb moment. Aha! It's NOT about how I compare to others and their expectations! It's about how I compare to myself- Am I making progress...? I felt a profound sense of relief, I was only responsible for doing 'my best.' I did not have be perfect, I only had to make progress.

I have written a little more than I intended to for one sitting and have come to a convenient stopping point. Next time I'll write about the walking club...

Until then,

Keep on Keepin' on!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • CASJ57
    Yes, comparing oneself to others is just an exercise (heh) in frustration, at least for me. Great lightbulb moment!

    2662 days ago
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