I have not, previously, been much of an "exercise" person. When I say this, I don't mean that I work out every week, but not all that hard, or once a month, or anything like that. When I say this, I mean that my work-outs are so sporadic as to take place every few months or so, and I am miserable afterwards, and I lack the motivation and willpower to keep going.
Every so often I promise myself this time will be different. I buy a video, or a yoga mat, or promise myself I'll go to the gym, or something like that. It never pans out; working out is just so exhausting and painful the next day there's never been a part of me willing to deal with that quite long enough.
Well, the end result of such an attitude is that the shape I am, which is definitely a shape, is not the shape I want to be.
I don't look at the scale. In high school I let myself care about numbers and pounds and what happened was that I became pretty disordered in the way I ate and looked at food and I don't think it's healthy to be that person. At this point, we don't even own a scale. I hate them; I get obsessed with the numbers too quickly, too easily. I try to think about the food I eat in terms of what it gives me; how much calcium is in a glass of milk, not how many calories. How much protein is in my scrambled eggs at breakfast, not how much cholesterol.
It's too easy to make that my entire relationship with food, and it's not really fair to myself.
The truth is that I've always mostly just needed to exercise. But it has been a Herculean task convincing myself to really just buckle down and do so.
This apartment complex we've moved into has a fitness center. It's a medium-sized room, with two treadmills, a stair-stepper, a kind of weird hiking-skiing looking thing, and a bunch of weight machines.
What I have done for the past three days is make myself spend at least 40 minutes attempting to exercise there. I have managed it, every day, for three days.
It is a testament to my sad lack of exercise that this is actually an accomplishment for me.
The first day was sweaty and awful and my legs hurt afterwards and I kind of curled up and was a bit of a whiner about it. The second day i took Jason and we mostly focused on weight-training, because Jason can help me with that. Today I was by myself again, and I can feel a loose discomfort in my legs. They're going to hurt when I'm at work tonight.
But then I thought, if I keep this up, maybe I can lift more weight in two weeks than I can today. Maybe if I keep this up, I can run for longer periods of time before I collapse in a thoroughly unattractive mess on the floor. Maybe I can climb higher, hike longer, have more energy, feel less guilty on days I am mostly lazy.
I am attempting the power of positive thinking, and trying to keep in mind that there are people, people I know even, who do this because they enjoy it. Because it's fun for them. Because it's a stress relief. Somehow, they got to a place where the way their legs feel about doing a mile on that skiing-hiking thing isn't a torture that would induce them to confess to witchcraft if the Spanish Inquisition got curious about it but an actual positive experience for them.
I am told the secret is to just keep doing it. Just keep going, just keep working, just keep your heart rate up, just keep on keepin' on.
They tell me this.
I suspect they are telling me this so I will keep it up in search of some mythical land of endorphins and strength I may never reach.
I am told day three is the hardest, when you are just coming out of having basically not worked out at all beyond the simple walking and occasional hiking you like to do. They tell me this.
I suspect I am being lied to, and that several of the days ahead will constitute the "hardest" in my mind.
Nonetheless, I have a goal in mind, and I plan to reach it. Right now, it is to work out for seven days straight. After that, it will be to manage to work out for two weeks straight. So on and so forth. Bit by bit, week by week.
I want to be stronger than I am, I want to run farther than I can, I want to stand the humidity with tempered steel instead of turning into a wilting, sweating blade of grass.
I am told exercise eventually becomes an enjoyable pastime. I will regard this advice with skepticism until such a time exists for me; for now, it's a long, slow slog towards my goal.
I'll be really proud of myself if I can accomplish it.