Monday, October 29, 2012

What I Learned About my Body

When I started to gain weight around almost 5 years ago now, it never occurred to me that it also meant gaining more pain in my whole body. The weight slowly crept up, and then the pain started creeping in. My back, shoulders, hips, legs, and feet were all hurting most of the time. I had developed plantar fasciitis, which can happen to anyone, but is more common about bigger people and those that have gained a large amount of weight. It hurt to do ANYTHING. I could not go walk around the zoo with my kids for a few hours before my hips hurt so bad, I thought I would double over.

I wish I knew then what I know now…. In that, when I first started working out, it hurt. It was embarrassing, because my body would not do the things I was telling it to at first. I am pretty sure I looked like an idiot, because my muscles were not trained to respond to my requests. This is why many people try things once or twice, then give up because they are not “getting it.” The truth is, you have to give your body time to “get it.” We have to train our bodies to respond to what our brains are telling it to do, and that only comes with practice.

I also wish I knew that once I got past the first two months, working out started feeling so much better than sitting on my behind all day. The more I hurt, the more I sat, the more I sat, the more I hurt. It was this awful cycle of pain that nothing ever helped. Now that I work out 4-5 times a week, something as much as 6 days a week, my body feels great. I am sore from working out, but that kind of sore feels great. If something hurts, I realize it quickly and take measures to help that pain. If there is anything I would like to convince those with chronic pain of, it’s that working out will not make it worse. It can only make it better. The more we work those muscles, stretch, and build them, the better we feel. It is just fact.

When I work out, I feel good about myself and my body. When I don’t work out, I feel like a slug or a busted can of biscuits. The harder I work, the better I feel.
So, stop making excuses, and learn to like exercise. And your goal should not be to get skinny; your goal should be to feel good about yourself and your body. It is all about feeling strong, flexible, and able to do anything we tell our bodies to do. It is all about living life free of pain. 

I am incredibly motivated by group exercise classes. My personal favorites are Zumba, Zumba toning, and Yoga/Pilates. I lift weights to burn fat and keep bone density, because these things are important for women to do. Many fitness clubs carry group classes and many even have childcare! Wow Fitness here in Lebanon is wonderful and there are some awesome teachers there by the names of Tamara and Amber. Just find what you love, and do it! 

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