(before/after photos of my face.)
About 10 months ago I joined a gym with the goal of up-leveling my body wellness practice. For many years, my wellness practice has been excellent when it comes to my heart, my mind, and my spirit. I felt it was time to put in the same amount of love and energy to my physical wellness – to make a wholehearted decision to take better care of my spiritual vessel, this body I’ve been given.
Body wellness/fitness has never been easy for me, especially in the last many years as I’ve gotten older (I’m 42) and with a diagnosis of PCOS. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started down a fitness path only to give up. In fact, when I started this latest journey, I didn’t really say a word about it as I didn’t quite trust myself and whether or not I would stick to it.
Ten months later, I can tell you that it’s not only stuck, but committing to a life of fitness has changed my life.
I have a lifetime of this particular wellness journey to go, but I am physically stronger than I’ve ever been. I am also inhabiting my body in ways I’ve never done. I am sleeping better. Coping better. Parenting better. Living better.
For those of you who are interested in how I went from avoiding sweating at all costs to loving it, below are a few journal posts that share my story, what I’m learning, and more.
February, 2017 (3 months into my journey):
This is my roll-out-of-bed and get dressed in joy look for the gym look. I’ve been consistently working out now (circuit training style) for a little over three months. I’ve lost a little bit of weight, but more importantly I’m feeling really strong and my endurance is improving. Sticking with it. I’m also going to join Weight Watchers with the goal of learning more about making healthy food choices.
Early March, 2017 (4 months into my journey):
My journey of fitness continues. It’s been four solid months of consistent intense training. I’ve plateaued a bit with my weight loss (gonna start tracking my Weight Watcher points more strictly), but my heart health, endurance, energy, and discipline have come VERY far.
I am proud of myself for finding the time, for allowing myself all the feelings and doing it anyway, for not giving up, and for staying the course even when all I wanna do is eat pasta and take a hot bath at the end of day. A huge part of my sticking with my gym appointments has been having a gym buddy to hold me accountable. Thank you Lynx for being my fitness buddy and for being in this particular journey (among other life journeys) with me.
John and I are on our way to our first partner training session at the gym. We have decided to have weekly gym dates, followed by date night, followed by my favorite thing to do (sleep).
Early May, 2017 (5 months into my journey):
I’m currently in NYC. I decided to keep my workouts going while I’m here by attending Orange Theory classes. They are HARD, but I’m feeling amazing that I can get through them.
June, 2017 (6 months into my journey):
It’s been six full months since I started working out. I’m not sure I’ve ever stuck it out this long when it comes to fitness.
It’s been a slow slow slooooow journey (years) of no longer feeding myself like I fed my teenager self and it’s been an even slower journey of shedding the weight I’ve gained these last four years.
I believe that we get our lessons when we’re ready to absorb the wisdom. And what I’ve learned these last six months is this: anything requiring major shifts in our beliefs, habits, narrative, and relationships (both with ourselves and others) is a spiritual journey. I didn’t expect the weekly practice of getting my body to the gym would be a spiritual practice, but it is.
Our bodies are sacred. The practice of caring for them is sacred. And so. I’ve pushed my limits, and have done something I never thought I could do by making the time and making it happen despite the story in my head insisting there were other higher priorities on the list.
I have lost a solid 15 pounds and I’ve gained a new healthy habit that makes me beam with energy and a major sense of accomplishment.
Late June, 2017:
It’s been two full weeks since I’ve worked out (hello travel schedule!) and I have missed it. I’m not really in the mood today (re-entry is hard) but feeling like I need to make it happen. And so, here I go.
Also, I recently graduated from my personal training sessions. Truthfully, I’m a bit nervous as I feel like I’m a bit on my own, but I also know I’m ready. Like all hard things, we are meant for the miracle of ushering ourselves through with courage. I cannot thank my trainer (Hi Kori!) and my dearest friend (Hi Lynx!) for nudging me onto this journey.
My goal is to lose a few more pounds and increase my cardio endurance by the end of the year. Slow moves, one step at a time. I want not only a strong spirit and heart, but a strong body that is capable and ready, a warrior vessel to help me create and make and do what I’m here to do. A sacred vessel for this sacred life.
Early July, 2017 (7 months into my journey):
I Just got done with my evening workout. It’s been about 7 months of working out (strength training and most recently, high intensity cardio). I also started counting weight watcher (WW) points somewhere in there.
As of today I’m about 18 pounds lighter. I feel really GOOD. I am not too strict on the WW points (but it helps me make better choices for sure) but I’m very consistent with working out. And now I actually look forward to my workouts vs dreading them. And slowly but surely the weight is coming off. Small steps.
I have plateaued many times in the last 7 months but I’ve learned to trust the process and that my body knows what it’s doing and to just keep showing up. I have a deep sense that this fitness thing is shifting things I can’t even imagine yet. And I suppose it’s not my job to know. My job is to just keep showing up for myself and enjoy the feeling of being strong and healthy in body and mind and soul. Strong and healthy for the win.
First time back in a week. I cannot believe how fitness has become integrated into my life. Considering it was never my thing, not even when I was a kid (never not once played a sport). Considering I used to not like sweating. Considering I have an extreme dislike of the music that is played during high intensity fitness classes. Considering I can think of a million things I would do instead of exercise (eat and sleep) in the evenings.
But now. But now is different. I am learning so much on this fitness journey. Not the least of which is that I love sweating. LOVE it. Sweating, to me, is like the struggle we sometimes go through in our inner lives as we search and seek for peace, those hard places that come before the clarity arrives. Sweat is like that. It’s like the external twin to the internal resistance that we have on the way to healthy changes.
Current attitude. After a week off for work/travel, I’m back at the gym. Truth: I am so tired from life that I wanna be in bed and not here. But if there is one thing I’ve learned these last many months of this fitness journey, it’s that I just have to show up and inevitably I burn calories and return home happy I made a choice that was good for me. One brave and good choice after the next, yes?
Making it happen, y’all. Making it happen. Last week I was all meh. This week I’m back to it. 8 months into my fitness journey and I’m definitely learning that it’s about overall/macro forward motion vs getting caught up on a string of days that could have gone better. Hello self compassion. And perhaps more importantly in a million different ways, permission to TRUST that all of my efforts will not go out the window if I have a meh week. Ditto for everything in life that is worth the soul work.
For the last many months I’ve gotten the fitness/sweating thing down. I have also made some food changes but that has been more slow going than the sweating it out piece of my journey. Slow and steady and one thing at a time has really worked for me.
Above are my morning smoothie ingredients that I have most mornings.
And so it begins. Very VERY humble yoga beginnings, y’all. I am working on adding some yoga to my weekly weight/cardio workout schedule and I’m digging it! Today was Vinyasa. I have always found yoga poses super hard to hold but I can definitely tell that all the muscle building/cardio endurance these last many months is helping toward that effort. I’ve slipped quite a bit on the food front these last many days (a dear friend is in town, which means staycation, which means more relaxed food choices), but I know that will balance out soon. Here’s to lots of self kindness, permission, and trusting in the overall balance of our flow.
My fitness journey continues! I really am enjoying getting stronger. I’ve lost many inches, but most importantly I earned strength, a bit of pride (I’ve never stuck with a fitness routine like this before), and a boatload of gratitude for my fitness and wellness tribe that I see when I’m at the gym.
This has been such a powerful journey for me, and has really enhanced my overall wellness (eating healthier, sleeping better, etc) and life.
I’ve added in Barre classes into my weekly routine at my gym. Holy smokes, it’s hard, but also super gratifying. I’ve done classes like these before (long ago) and I love how STRONG they make me feel.
18 pounds. Several inches. But most importantly, strength, self compassion, trust, allowing it to take as much time as it takes, and so much more.
I have been thinking about why I’ve stuck to this particular round of fitness vs previous rounds throughout my life (that I’ve started only to quickly give up). I think the answer is long, with lots of variables, but I can definitely say that finding a smaller gym with people and instructors I like (as in I would hang out with them in real life) has been key. Having a fitness buddy has also been key. Although my friend (Lynx) and I don’t meet up for every single workout, we are in constant contact about “what class are you doing today?” and “when can we workout?” and “do you wanna soak after working out today?” and “OMG, you have to take XYZ class. The instructor is awesome.”
I’ve never had these two pieces in my life when it came to fitness, and it’s changing everything. I think we all want to feel like we belong somewhere in all aspect of our life (fitness, school, family, work, etc) and when we can find/cultivate those experiences for ourselves, it motivates us to keep showing up and deepening our belonging to the experience.
After about 10 months of cultivating it (i.e. showing up), I can say I now feel that sense of belonging to this particular part of my life and that feels really motivating to keep showing up. In so many ways, I’ve also found my since of belonging to myself – a way of showing up for myself in an area of my life that only I could cultivate. Feels good.
I’ll be sharing more of my wellness/fitness journey here in this space in the months to come. Feel free to ask me questions and I’ll do my best to answer in the comments. If you don’t want to miss a blog post, be sure to sign up to receive them in your inbox (check over there >>>>> to sign up).
Here’s to all things transformative, especially the kinds of transformations that happen when we give ourselves the kindness, love, and attention we deserve.