It struck me this week: I am someone who exercises every day.
It was kind of an anticlimactic moment. I thought to be here I’d be some totally different, better, fitter, more “perfect” person who always liked what she saw in the mirror. And yet I was still me, having plenty of moments where I felt irritated at something or didn’t like my butt or whatever.
I had this picture in my head of what “exercising every day” meant: 1-2 hours sweating at the gym with a smile on my face (because I was happy to be working out!), doing high intensity exercises — maybe lifting weights and doing plyometrics — or some other hardcore (“real”) exercise. And this wasn’t what I’d been doing.
I can’t tell you the last time I went to the gym to work out; it’s been years. I pull out a DVD in the morning from my stack (and in full disclosure, I use a yoga one the vast majority of mornings with an occasional kick-boxing or cardio dance if I’m feeling a little zippier). I go for 20 minutes. Occasionally it’s a bit more, like 25, but it’s incredibly rare that I go longer than 30. 20 minutes of low impact exercise feels doable to me, somehow. And my joints don’t complain as much.
And you know what? While I’m still me (because I always will be — there is nothing wrong with me (note to self!!)), I’m also so much farther down the road.
I AM way fitter than I was 5-10 years ago (I would have loved to be where I am now), and it isn’t something I have to try hard to make happen because I must be fit like it used to be (though didn’t work with that mindset anyway). The exercise has become part of my morning.
I (most days) do it not because I want my butt to look better but because I like my energy and emotional state so much better after doing it: those 20 minutes help me work out the wonkies and calibrate my brain and body for the day. I’m much more fun to be around once those 20 minutes are done. Ask my husband.
I exercise now because I see it’s selfish not to. Grumpy Robin helps no one. And in taking care of myself, my body takes care of itself (yes, my butt et al. are fitter these days, though without the side of “should workout!” that I used to think was mandatory). I’ve lost weight by tuning into what leaves me feeling good and actually seems doable to me (not what I think I should do), rather than focusing on must lose weight now.
Skip the shoulds — what feels good to you? What feels doable? A minute or two of exercise actually done is light years ahead of shoulding on yourself to do an hour and then doing zippo. Jumping jacks, squats, crazy dance moves? There are so many possibilities you can do without needing to change your outfit or put on shoes.
What can you do today? Take a minute and do something. You’re worth it.