Exercise

Improving physical health improves your mental health.

The harder you work for something, the more worth it has. Everything has its opposite and traditionally there is one that is easier than the other, but both has consequences. I have struggled with weight for as long as I can remember. My metabolism is so slow like a turtle. All I have to do is look at ice cream and bam I think I see and extra roll on my hips… ’Tis a cruse that I fight on the daily with every bite that my tummy greets.

I have been so many different sizes that I don’t even know what I look like, as my other struggle is looking in the mirror. Heck, I don’t even look at my reflection when I walk up to a glass door of a public building and the literal definition of window shopping isn’t my favorite. How can I focus on the items on the other side of the glass when my horrendous self is looking back at me? (Now if it there were puppies on the other side of the glass… I probably wouldn’t mind as much…)

There was a period of time when I was so mentally and physically sick that all I wanted to eat was sour cream and Doritos. Now try before you judge, it is actually really good and one of my favorite treats. It is a SERIOUS comfort food.

I ate it every night and I am almost embarrassed to say that I ate half a container of sour cream almost every night before bed for weeks… Oh geez… That is kind of hard to admit… I have something else to confess as well… I was so beside myself that I had myself convinced that it was even healthy. Sour cream is only dairy… And the serving size is reasonable (I think it’s 60 calories for 2 tablespoons? Forgive me because I can’t remember; which is a good thing!) The chips I figured that I could eat a certain amount for little calories. Oh boy.

All in all, I gained 25–30 lbs. (11–13 kg) and I was disgusted with myself. Granted I was trying all sorts of different medications as to help treat my mental illness problems, but still… Sour cream with Doritos as accessories is not the newest fashion trend.

I remember hating myself. I would look in the mirror and not only see the daemons that were hunting my mind, but now I was seeing even stronger daemons swirling around the sour cream induced belly. I spent many nights crying about my appearance.

I didn’t have any real grievances to working out, but really never had in the past due to other health problems. (All stories for different days…) I also never felt like I was good at anything. I did swimming when I was younger, but quit because I didn’t have time and I did basketball for a couple of seasons before my social anxieties shoved me into an isolate corner screaming stay there. I was too shy to get into anything and the health problems only gave me more reason to just sit on my behind and look pretty.

I remember getting up one morning and I was in the shower and as you know it is in the shower where one receives life changing ideas. The shower is my ultimate think tank… (Hahah tank… water … Shower HAHA… Okay, I’m done.) In the warm water I thought:

“I am done feeling this way. I am don’t want to look in the mirror and call myself fatty names anymore. I just have to start and stick to it.”

So I did.

I got out of the shower, finished getting ready, and went to my brother. The kid loves working out and is a total gym rat. He has spent years working out with my dad, who has been working out his whole life. Thus, moral of the story is that they know what they are doing.

I told my brother I wanted a work out plan and at first he just looked at me eye brows raised and then grabbed a pad of paper and a pen. He gave me a 4–5 exercises to do and also how many reps I should do of each. I started that day and I thought I was going to die.

The routine was only 15 minutes long and when I was doing it the first time I thought I was going to faint and the second day was only worse. I did them in the middle of my bedroom and my brother would sit on my bed at times to give me encouragement.

I was embarrassed that I could barely do 15 minutes, but before I knew it I was at 20 minutes with one more exercise. I also moved to the bonus room because it got more intense. Oh I sweated and cried.

After a few weeks of my grueling 15–20-minute torture, I started going with my dad and brother to work out. I had all the different days with the different parts of the body and geez ab day is the absolute worst. I’m cringing just thinking about it!

As the months went by I got stronger and stronger. I could go for about 45 minutes worth of lifting and 10 minutes of cardio. I would come home dripping that if I wasn’t wearing exercise clothes would you probably think I went swimming (sorry that was gross…). I am not your picture perfect sweaty athletic model that is for sure. Hey, burning calories is wet work!

Not only did my body change, but I noticed that my mind was changing too. It was lighter and happier. I was working out all the daemons and releasing all kinds of happy chemicals in my brain. (I am not a science person and I don’t watch enough doctor shows to know the correct words or how it all works.) I started thinking more positive and I started to feel gross if I didn’t work out. I also kissed my comfort food good bye… May it rest in pieces… Outside of my stomach.

Exercise does amazing things for your brain and your body. It helps you see everything in a better light and it helps you see yourself in a better light, especially if you cope with horrible body image problems… Like me. I find that when I exercise it is something that I can do to take my health in my hands and have my “fix it” moment. No medication, no doctors, no opinions. It is just between my body and mind, working together to become one. I am a firm believer that there is no greater feeling than that of walking out of the gym door ready to conquer whatever crazy comes your way.

As of right now I focus on cardio. Because I shy away from working out in front of others, I use the elliptical. Something that I have had to keep in mind is that it is worth more that I go and only stick to what I am comfortable with than not go at all.

I am proud to report that I can now go 60 minutes on the elliptical and burn between 700–800 calories. I am not perfect, but I go about 4–5 times a week. It has been about a year and a half since my lightbulb moment in the shower (which was just short of electrocution).

To take care of your mind, take care of your body, because both are knitted together so closely that chances are if one is out of wack so is the other. So I encourage you to go do a sit up ;) or simply take a walk around the block. That is all you need to do to start. If you are already a fitness guru, keep it up because you are an example to us all! We salute you!


Thank you for reading! Remember to clap to show your support! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.