We talk a lot about throwing out the diet talk and the fat talk, but what about all those people moaning about how hard exercise is and how much they ache. How often do you hear people say they went to a class and really enjoyed it?
As I have noticed and learned to ignore all those people talking about their diet, their weekly weight loss, their desire to lose weight, whether face to face, on Facebook, Twitter or all the other places people moan, I have come to find these comments irritating.
Do I like my friends any more because of their weight loss? Or any less because of their gain? No. And rather than be pleased alongside them of their loss, I’ve come to wish that their happiness didn’t depend on those scales, on wearing a light summer frock when it’s icy out.
But increasingly, as I do manage to tune this kind of comments out, I notice the ones saying “why am I getting up this early to do class x?”, “I ache so much, he really pushed me in class y”, “I can barely move”, “no pain, no gain”, “why do I do this?” and so forth.
It seems that just as people almost enjoy the torture of saying “no thanks, I’m on a diet but it does look sooo tempting” they enjoy saying that their exercise is torture. For both, people take pride in showing that they are making sacrifices; sacrifices that we are expected to applaud and commend.
With diets, we know that the answer is to say stuff the diets and to learn to eat mindfully, without fear but with enjoyment. Shouldn’t we do the same with exercise? If you really find it that painful, that excruciating, that much of an effort, than maybe you should do something else? Maybe you shouldn’t even be doing a class, but just incorporating a bit more exercise into your life, by using the stairs instead of the lift, or getting off the bus a stop early. Why should it be torture? What really is the point of doing something you hate that much? Will you really be able to keep it up month in and month out.
I’m trying to incorporate exercise into my normal day. I think I’ve missed one day so far this month. I’ve tried before and always let it slip after two or three months because I haven’t learned to approach it with the right attitude.
What I am trying to focus on, and I say trying because I still have to work on it, is that exercise feels good to me. It feels good to make my muscles work and to be aware of individual ones. It feels good that I can push my legs a little bit further than yesterday, that my body move a little bit better each day. It feels good that I am aware of my muscles being a bit tired, but tired in a good way after having been worked. They feel used rather than ignored.
I finish a workout, of whatever sort, and my body feels energised. It feels more alive; I am more awake, and my brain feels ready to work. This is what counts. How many calories I may have worked off is not the point. Neither is how long or how hard I’ve pushed myself. What matters is that I enjoy the exercise and the immediate short term reward it brings me.
Being fit is a long way off. Feeling fitter is immediate.