I have got to get back in the gym! When I last left you all i was in the beginning of my fitness journey and starting to fall in love with a lifestyle that included exercise.
I remained an active follower of this new lifestyle until about 4 months ago when I took on a large project that was incredibly rewarding, but also made me lose sight on fitness.
Now here I am. I have made it to the gym 4 times in the last two months. Now, in my defense I did have a strange medical problem surface in October, but that does not fully justify my negligence.
Between job stress, attempting to start my own business, and trying to remain mentally healthy I let my body take a back seat. I also have been dealing with loss of appetite the last two months so when it would be time to go to the gym I just have no energy. Life certainly has not been a crystal stair y’all.
I wanted to return to writing, because it is something that not only brings me enjoyment, it brings clarity. Clarity, is what I think I have been missing all of these months in my absence. I did not know how to maintain that feeling with out putting pen to page, or in this case, finger to keyboard.
Writing and fitness. Need to remember to keep these in my mantra. Otherwise, I will grind for money that I will not be able to enjoy.
Eight weeks into my fitness journey and it is still not an easy feat to get me into the gym. Even though I look forward to the post workout endorphin burst; I still have to battle my demons to walk into the front door. It is no secret that I used to find exercise incredibly boring, but I no longer feel that way. I started out on this journey only going to the gym two days a week and I knew to see the results I wanted I needed to up the ante. So about one month in I switched to going three times a week and I saw a dramatic change in my endurance and my physical appearance. Now here I am in week 8 and have only been to the gym once.
Now I am not going to be too hard on myself because this week has been one hell of an emotional roller coaster (major car problems, trying to apply for new jobs, life in general) and I still made it to the gym and managed to sweat it out for almost 90 minutes. Now that I am approaching the weekend (read: calories from imbibing) I am apprehensive that I may be setting myself back. I have sworn to myself that I will get up early and hit the gym before work to make sure I get in at least two days this week. There is also little doubt that I will make it as I have enlisted an early riser friend to call me to make sure I have my shit together. Plus the fact that I legitimately feel that if I don’t go I will be letting myself down and that is the last thing that I would want to do right now.
It has been a weird transitional period in my life these last few months and as I come closer and closer to the end of this chapter with my job I cannot help but feel a little listless and in need of additional emotional support. But like all things in life that make me feel better (exercise, writing, meditating) they are easier said than done when it comes to moments of true emotional peril. I write all of this to ask anyone who reads this to rally with me and have the strength to get up and exercise one more day to get myself closer to optimum fitness.
Exercise is hard, particularly when you are trying to build it in as a part of your life and not just “that thing you do occasionally for a few weeks after New Year’s”. I have also been trying to make sure that I have been doing the same with my writing, but that is for another post.
For the past two weeks I have completed 3 gym days and I could not be more excited about my progress (lost 6 inches from various places thus far) but the thing that I am most excited about is that I am excited about exercising. Now I get in the gym and push myself, and it feels good. Granted, I am ready to pass out by 9:30pm on days that I exercise but it feels so nice to be a little bit stronger. I went from struggling through 30 minutes and watching the clock the whole time to powering through my work out and not even realizing that I have been at it for over an hour.
I went from barely breaking a sweat to not getting off of a machine until I was pouring and unable to breathe, this is what pushing feels like and for so long I was scared but it has actually turned out to be one of the greater moments of my life. In my job I can’t see results in a short amount of time, I certainly don’t see improvement this fast in any art form I indulge, but I have taken my body and made into something stronger. I feel proud. I feel motivated. Moving forward.
Have you ever just wanted to throw all caution to the wind and say
“I will not eat another piece of fruit, nor will I drink another ounce of water! On this day, I only want bacon and wine!”
Well, that day is today for me. I have managed to not totally fall off of the fitness bandwagon. Successfully completing two days a week in the gym for the first three weeks of the plan. I am headed back in today after a 4 day hiatus and I must say that I want to go, but I know I will be battling my laziness come 5pm. The mission for this week is to go a minimum of three times. I need to shorten the gap between my visits and I also want to feel all those happy endorphins a little more frequently.
I have also been maintaining my diet (I use the term loosely)fairly well. One of my main food objectives has always been to eat well because I have never been good about exercising . So, lean protein and dark leafy greens have been a staple of mine for a long time now. Don’t let some of the recipes you see posted lead you to believe that I eat like that everyday, because I have not the time or the energy.
For the firs time in almost a year I stepped on a scale and was SHOCKED by how much I had gained since I had last been on one of those contraptions. I have a new motivation as I step into the weight room this week, an actual goal. At first I did not want to put any strenuous timelines or goals on this process but one has developed organically. I am not quite ready to share that goal here but the overall focus is that I become stronger and healthier.
Congratulations to me! I have once again started on a fitness journey. Now before you go and pop bottles in honor of my victory let me give you a quick recap on my previous fitness jouneys. They all end. No sugar coating on that one. There are as many reasons for not finishing a program as there are attempts at starting one. Usually I just get bored, or sad, or lonely in the fitness world. I am not a teetotaler so that excludes me from social circles at the gym. I struggle with patience, so the yoga cliques are not my comfort zone. Now you might be mad at me for what I am about to say next but it must be said. Runners look stupid. I just can’t. Watching people run in my city is just seeing a cacophony of limbs, haphazardly flapping about, and knowing that they are ruining their knees for life. There. I said it.
I am not knocking anyone that has found a fitness lifestyle that works for them, but I am jealous, obvi. Whatever. I do have hope for this new journey, because I am walking into it with no delusions of grandeur. I have been trying to find my exercise niche for so long that I have come to the conclusion that I just don’t like it, and maybe never will? But, I do know I feel better when I am done, my energy spikes, and I like how my clothes lay against my frame. So just like my morning vitamin/supplement regimen, consuming 64oz of water daily, or eating a metric fuck ton of fiber exercise is something that I do not like. However, I will continue to do it because the benefits far outweigh the costs.
Keep me in check, if you see me slipping, remind me about this post!
Why is it so hard to be nice to my body? I am not talking about my diet when I say “nice”. I live by the “everything in moderation” mantra so that is pretty much covered. What I am talking about is my almost comic incapability to have positive thoughts about my appearance without any harsh critiques. Everything is always something that “needs correction” or “almost there”. Nothing is ever just right at the moment of scrutiny. I had a physical recently because I was having some back issues and came up healthy. I just cannot ever seem to be satisfied with my body though. I know that I am healthy, and I can see that I am strong, and I have almost no physical ailments. Why am I constantly trying to “fix” something with my body?
When you absorb as much media as I do it makes sense that I grapple with not looking or feeling the same as the images that I consume. This post is not a pity party for me. I am not asking for compliments or reassurance. On some level, somewhere in the jungle gym that is my brain, I am well aware that I have nothing to be upset about. I just had to write these thoughts down because I know it gives me comfort to know that I am not the only person going through something. For me there is comfort in community so I am just letting the world know that I am here and sometimes I feel broken but my logical mind knows better.
This also is not just a post about being positive about your body, and loving your body, but about not shaming other people about their bodies either. That behavior is making it hard not only for others to feel confident but it makes you doubt yourself as well. Just think about it for a moment, if every other word out your mouth is something disparaging about someone how could you possibly have any confidence in anything you put out? Well, other than an extreme case of narcissism, I would imagine that you struggle with a positive view of yourself.
So short, tall, skinny, average, heavy, brown, black, white, purple, green, WHATEVER you may look like you need not feel stifled because you do not look like someone else. I know that the western beauty standard of beauty gives us all a hard line that we think we must follow, but lets one up the system and feel good no matter what (well, at least try to).
If you are starting out in the world of cooking then this list may be a great help to you. I have been putting it together for quite a while now and wanted to share it once I felt like it had really come together. With this list to end all pantry lists I believe you have the base to prepare more meals than one can count. Now everything on my list may not work for you, but you can tweak and fix as needed.
Herbs and spices: The temptation to buy everything they sell can be real but there is not a need for that, especially since you do not want to keep them for longer than a year. Just make note of what you end up replacing the most often. Sea salt, kosher salt, black pepper, whole black peppercorns, thyme, oregano, basil, cumin, cinnamon, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, Goya Sazon are some that I keep on hand and use frequently.
Flours: all purpose, whole wheat
Sugars: granulated and brown sugar
Evaporated Milk: you never know when you will not want to run out to the store to pick up the milk that you forgot the other 3473984 previous times you were there.
Dry Pastas: buy your favorite sizes and shapes
Grains: quinoa, rice
Baking soda, baking powder, corn starch
Oils: olive oil, some sort of inexpensive vegetable oil, and sesame oil
Chicken stock/Veggie Stock/Bouillon
Hot Sauce: I love Sriracha but I also keep a bottle of Texas Pete or Franks hot sauce on hand just in case
Dijon mustard: never underestimate the power that this condiment has to transform a bland dish into something gourmet, keep it on hand and once opened it lasts for months in the fridge.
Vinegars: balsamic, apple cider, white, and red wine are the ones I get the most use out of but if you do not have a strong affinity for vinegar then you can keep it to the basics of just white and apple cider.
Tomatoes: diced, crushed, tomato sauce, and tomato paste are all good things to keep on hand for a last minute sauce or soup base.
Beans: canned and dry (black, pinto, white, garbanzo)
Jars of your favorite pasta sauce
Nuts: whatever your favorites are, they are great for snacking and baking
Oatmeal: great for a cold weather breakfast, as a binder in your meatloaf, or for baking
Maple syrup: A little on the expensive side to buy the real deal, but the flavor is worth it
The musings of a WoC just trying to make beautiful food, an affordable lifestyle, and a successful career.