Fitness Update: Honest Fitness

I decided that I want – no, NEED – to be honest about how I feel about my fitness journey this year. So, here goes…

I hate working out. I mean, I really don’t like to do it. I don’t like having to change my clothes, drive to the gym, then work my ass off for an hour or so, only to feel exhausted, sweaty and sore by the time I’m done. I had spent the previous 30 years (before last January) in a happily sedentary lifestyle, slowly gaining weight while losing strength, endurance, flexibility and my overall health and wellbeing. I enjoyed sitting most of the day, eating whatever I felt like eating, and not worrying about how I looked or felt.

But last January, I knew something had to change. I was nearing 200 pounds, and hated how I looked and felt. I had no energy, my body ached all the time, and I was just not very happy about it. How I wished there was a magic wand or spell, and that I would simply wake up one morning, and be young, lean and strong again. That I would magically have all the energy I wanted, and that I would suddenly enjoy physical activity and eating healthy, nutritious food.

The truth is, there is no quick and easy way back to health. My body didn’t gain that weight in a day, a week, a month or a year. It took time to happen. And it will take time to get rid of the weight. Also, I’m over 50 and female, so it’s that much harder for me to get rid of the weight and build the muscle. Combined with a variety of other health issues, this means my fitness track is slower than I would like. I hate that it is taking me this long to get back to a healthy weight and become “fit”. I regret that I allowed my weight and health to get that bad in the first place.

Here’s some hard reality for you:

  • It’s much easier to stay healthy and fit, than to get that way later. Cheaper, too. My fitness membership is $35 a month; my personal training is $100 a week.
  • Fitness is work. There is no easy way to stay or become fit.
  • There’s no magic pill, food or routine that will guarantee permanent success. Fitness isn’t an event; it’s a permanent lifestyle change. If you take a shortcut today, the weight will likely return sooner, rather than later.
  • You will hit a plateau. You will probably plateau more than once, maybe for long periods. Deal with it; keep working your program.
  • If you don’t have patience and persistence, you will fail.
  • If you’re not stronger than your excuses, you will fail.
  • You really only fail if you give up. There’s always tomorrow to get back on track, but if tomorrow never comes, you will fail.
  • I fear failure in my quest for fitness, because it might mean that I die younger than I would if I were fit and healthy. Or worse, be a physical mess for long years before my eventual demise.
  • You have to motivate yourself. If you rely on external motivation, you will fail if that external motivation stops.

That’s some pretty heavy shit, right there. Fear. Failure. fear of failure. What I would give to just BE at my goal right now. I’ve been working on this for 11 months now, and I’m so very, very tired of it. If it weren’t for my personal trainer reminding me All. The. Time. of how far I’ve come, how much progress I’ve made, I might have quit by now. Again.

Out of the 60 pounds I wanted to lose, I’m down about 35 or so (according to my home scale, which lies, by the way). Now, you have to agree that 35 pounds is a huge improvement. It’s more than halfway to my goal, and it’s so much better than where I was when I started. Unfortunately, I’m not a patient person, and it’s not where I want to be. I WANTED to be at my goal weight within 6 months. But minor injuries and medical issues kept cropping up, and slowed my progress. And, let’s face it: I made excuses to not go to the gym every day, and to not eat the best food every day. My current plateau has lasted 2 1/2 months. Ten. Weeks.

I’m hungry all the time.

My body aches from all the exercise.

My knees and shoulders are always sore.

Still, I keep going. I refuse to go back to the 200 pounds me. I understand why I’m doing this, what’s at stake. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it hurts. But when my workout is done, I feel a great sense of accomplishment. I feel like I’ve done something wonderful for myself. I know that it’s all worth it. I’m stronger, faster, more flexible, have more endurance and am healthier than I’ve been in years. But I still have a long way to go.

My doctor recommended that I get down to 140 pounds, and stay there for a year. After that year, I can decide if I want to drop more weight. She says that my body needs to acclimate to a new “normal” weight, since I’ve been so heavy for so long. Maybe that’s why this plateau has lasted for so long: my body thinks this is where I should be. After all, it’s much lighter than where I was before. But I disagree. I need to get down to that target of 140, and I need to do it sooner, rather than later.

I love working with my personal trainer! She’s awesome! She switches up the routine for every workout, and adjusts if I have any particular issues going on for a particular day. I’m also learning to love yoga, even though I still struggle with flexibility and balance. Still, she encourages me and tracks my improvements constantly, reminding me when I hit milestones, or improve my form or technique. She’s amazing, and worth every penny I pay for her help. I highly recommend that anybody who is working to get fit look into personal training. It’s excellent to help ensure that you are doing the right exercises the right way, and helps to prevent injury due to overwork or incorrect form.

So, there’s my reality. I’m not interested in pity-parties, but encouragement is always welcome. This is hard, but so is being overweight and unhealthy. It gets better. I’ve come so far, and I’m so proud of what I’ve accomplished already, but I still have a ways to go. Once I get there, I’ll be able to switch to maintenance, but one step at a time, one day at a time, and one meal/workout at a time.

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