To Go to the Gym, or to Not? That is the Question.
In response to Coffee Challenge: Why I want to be a better me in 2022
Fed up of failed New Years’ resolutions, I attempted to start early and build a habit. Keyword: attempted. I’ve never been skinny and thanks to social media, I had always assumed it was possible for me to get there if I worked really hard. So, every New Year consisted of me adopting some crazy exercise strategy to lose weight and look thin the next year.
Except my body type isn’t skinny, which simply meant that while I can be healthy, I cannot be skinny. This also meant that I rarely saw any improvement and the scale refused to tip back beyond a certain point. This was followed by me spending the rest of the year in self-loath until it was time to repeat the same process next year.
That time of the year finally arrived when everyone began thinking about New Year’s resolutions and I decided that waiting for the first of January to start something new was cliché. Maybe beginning early and getting a head start might actually prove successful this time around.
So I didn’t wait for the next year this time and hit the gym for a month, visualising myself dropping pounds like crazy. But I didn’t follow my routine with a workout-friendly diet — I was soon attacked by intense hunger pangs and horrible fatigue. I assumed it would be fine to cope by eating all the fatty, sugar-rich foods I love so much, considering that I burnt calories at the gym anyway.
It didn’t work out that way.
In no time, I was gaining weight faster than I earlier did. This left me tired, salty and angry at my body for not listening to what I wanted. This added to existent body image issues and trouble accepting what I looked like.
Eating has always been a sensitive topic for me and I have tried to maintain a healthy balance most times. On retrospect, that balance might have been hanging on a very precarious thread because of the way it backfired as soon as I started working out.
So there I was, a month left of 2021, feeling completely unaccomplished, hating myself more than ever. Random email subscriptions to health apps and services that I don’t even remember signing up for continued reminding me of their New Year offers, pushing their audience to work out for that “Fresh and Better You”. All I could think of was how tired and fat I felt after my new routine.
My mother finally took things into her own hands when I kept beating myself up over this self-conflict and made me visit a dietitian-nutritionist. This changed the way I looked at a lot of things.
Adding that I do, in fact, fall under ideal weight, she identified the nutrients I lacked earlier and prescribed a healthier diet plan I could follow. And the best part of it all — 30 minutes of any form of exercise. She stressed that going to a gym was never necessary unless I really wanted to do it.
This took me back to all the articles I read about hitting the gym because it helped you focus on your weight-loss goals and kept you away from distractions while working out — which are all true.
Except it’s not for everyone.
I spent all of 2021 believing I was fat. Looking back, I wish I’d cut my body some slack. I never denied myself the food I wanted, but the journey included a lot of self-hate and body-shaming whenever I saw my reflection in a mirror. All along when it was perfectly beautiful the way it is.
I hope we all take a step back this New Year and find out what we really should be prioritizing. I’m armed with a prescribed diet-plan this time, but I’ve decided that my resolution will not revolve around that alone. It will involve appreciating my body for how it is. Most importantly, I’ve decided to break out of that unending loop of self-hate when I can’t lose weight.
My body deserves its exercise and my heart deserves to beat healthier because it is worthy of it. And for the same reason my mind is worthy of loving my body and I hope I can work towards it in 2022.
Here’s a shout-out to Coffee Times’ competition on New Years’ Resolutions. It is an amazing opportunity for writers on Medium, do check it out:
Finally, please check out Elizabeth Nixon Davis’s story on the important of doing little things instead of doing it all. She’s a badass mom and homemaker and writes about people and things that have shaped her life, for better or worse: