Exercise is many things to many people. Your reason for exercising may be completely different from the reason I workout. And reasons and goals for embarking on a fitness journey changes, because a journey is never meant to be stagnant. It’s a journey because it’s a lesson. And while I originally wanted to lose weight when I started making my workouts a priority, it’s not the main reason I have continued on my path.
Recently Little Bear asked me, “Mom do you do your workout stuff to lose weight and be skinny?”
*UGH!* Talk about a gut check!
My automatic, quick response was, “No. I do it to be healthy. That’s just a side effect.”
While this is true, to an extent, it wasn’t really the full truth. The full truth is that, yes, I work my butt off to be skinny – sort of – but I also exercise for me. But because I didn’t want to paint the wrong picture to her about her body, I answered “no” when she asked me.
I felt a little guilty for the response I gave her that day. But why?
Have I been dishonest with myself about my deep-down, hear-felt reasons for exercising? Or is that my reason and goals have changed without me realizing it?
In November of 2017, just 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, I joined a free two week trial of an online fitness company. When I started the trial, my goal was to see if I really had time to squeeze a workout into my daily life or if I was just making excuses. And to be honest, I could not have picked a worse time to change my daily routine.
It was the holidays. It was nearing the end of the school semester. And the girls had clinic visits in Cincinnati soon. All of that on top of my regular household duties and activities. What was I thinking? I had so much going on!
But I was fed up with feeling yuck. I was tired of being so self-conscious of my body. And I was just ready for something to change.
I knew that change needed to be losing weight, and my healthy eating habits were not cutting it. I mean, I had made progress with just changing from refined sugars to natural sweeteners and cutting out gluten and most processed foods, but there was something missing that my body needed. So I figured I might as well try a more proactive approach to exercise.
My two weeks ended the day before Thanksgiving and one day after all my in-laws arrived at our home for the holidays. Even with all the prep and craziness that was happening in our house, I seemed to still get my workouts in!
Every. Single. Day.
I had convinced myself, over these two weeks, that maybe I really did have time to workout, especially since all I had to do was log-in to my Beachbody account, pick a workout program, and push play.
I was ready to commit to this whole workout thing but I still needed the push from Mr. O to continue on. He was an integral part of me really continuing on with the Beachbody workouts.
Yes, I liked it. (Yeah, I just said I liked working out.)
Yes, I had already seen some small changes in my weight.
But I still wanted to give myself excuses to put myself and my health on the back burner.
Mr. O was persistent, though, and I committed, to myself, to continue beyond my free 2 weeks.
At this point, I still saw exercise as nothing more than a weight loss tool and I was determined to lose weight before Christmas.
I pushed play on my workouts almost every day the next few months. And I was feeling good. I had seen the numbers on the scale go down and inches drop off. These things didn’t always happen every week, but I was still noticing weight changes and my clothes were fitting better.
The Big Shift
Not going to lie, in the first month or so, there were times I got frustrated and confused with my weight loss results. But for some reason, I kept doing my workouts. Normally I would have given up if I had not seen the scale move in the right direction.
I shared these frustrations with my Beachbody coach and my challenge group peers. And I wasn’t alone in my struggles! Each and every one of them had struggles at some point, too. But you know what? They kept going because even though the workouts are hard and it could be difficult to fit it into a busy mom’s schedule, they had noticed a change in their bodies and lives.
Was I seeing those same changes?
I wasn’t sure so I started focusing less on my weight and more on how I felt as a whole.
By doing this I realized that since I made exercising a priority in my life, my hair loss had slowed down, I was more energized, I was nicer to my kids, I felt more attracted to my husband, I was more confident in myself, and I was just happier
It’s July of 2018 and I am now 8 months in. Eight months of getting my butt off the couch and exercising 3 or more days a week – and most weeks, 6 days of workouts. Eight months of staying up past bedtime if I had to, taking advantage of naptime, and squeezing in a workout where ever and whenever I can.
I am down over 15 pounds and 10 inches.
I have made progress on my initial goal of losing weight. And that makes me happy.
But exercising has become way more to me than weight loss. It has become a tool to handle stress in a healthy way. A way to get in some much needed “me time”. A part of my day that I look forward to, and it has become a way to be a better role model for my family.
Overall I feel happier and healthier. I am not a size 8 and I am not at my “goal weight”. And I am totally okay with that. This whole exercise thing is a journey, remember?
I know while weight loss is a benefit of working out, I have gained so much more. I have made friends and rekindled relationships that were lost. I am excited and encouraged each day that I log-in and push play on my workouts. And maybe just as much as I want my own health, happiness, and self-confidence…I am excited to see the other ladies (and men) accomplish their goals with fitness and discover that it can be way more than numbers on a scale.