Thursday, June 24, 2010

How Did I Start?

A friend of mine is sitting on the fence, about to take the plunge into fitness. She asked me this:

"Where did you find the motivation to get started? I'm feeling pretty blech-y and I don't want to keep on this way, but I'm not really wanting to give up the habits that have gotten me here. I wish someone could wave a magic wand and fix it. The prospect of all the work I need to do is mighty unappealing."

I ended up writing a long response and I thought it would be a good post. So here it is:

Wow. That's a tough question. It was a combination of things actually. The first was stepping on the scale at a doctor's appt. and having it flash 250 lbs. in my face. That's really high for a girl my height. My body was like 53% fat. I felt disgusted that I had let things get that bad. The second thing was that it coincided with being laid off. I felt like I needed a positive project that would give me something to focus on with all that spare time. Finally, I'm pretty unhappy being alone and everybody keeps telling me that you have to love yourself first. It seemed like the most obvious way to start loving myself more was to get healthy. And if I got thinner in the process, maybe that would catch some guy's eye. :)

The truth is that I had reached bottom. I was depressed and didn't feel any joy in my life or hope for the future. I knew getting healthy was one thing that I could change. And you're right, it's mighty hard work. The hardest part for me is the food. Today, I went with my mom for an angiogram and it was super stressful. She's in real trouble. My response: eat a half a carton of ice cream. :( I haven't figured out how to comfort myself without food.

The exercise part is different. Crossfit has changed my attitude toward fitness. I don't slog through hours of jogging anymore. I was forcing myself to do that, and I hated every step. Now I look forward to going to a workout. Crossfit challenges something primal, deep inside of me. I feel compelled to keep trying and do better. The biggest component for me is the group. And I hear this again and again when I meet CF people from other places. The camaraderie and esprit de corps is what keeps people coming back. You're all in it together, no matter what your fitness level is. Super athletes are pulling for me. I'm pulling for them. And there's the middle-aged lady who maybe has never exercised in her life. We're all the same, trying to achieve our own personal best.

Plus, the personal attention and motivation from a coach cannot be underestimated. My gym has a cap: no more than 10 people per coach. I happen to go very early in the morning, so it's usually just me and 1 or 2 others. My coach knows me, knows what I can do, and gives me real attention. She is teaching me to push myself a bit harder and to trust what my body can do. She also inspires me to keep going when I want to lie down.

Yes. It is expensive. My membership is $115 a month. But it's worth every penny to me. I have made real change in my perception about exercise and my capabilities. I have made strong friendships. And I have a personal trainer who cares about me and wants to see me succeed. I've cut back in other areas so that I could keep doing Crossfit. I used to spend at least that much going out to eat for lunch everyday!

There's no way to avoid the hard work. If you want to change, there's only one way to make it happen. You start.

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