Exercise has been a simple and effective solution to feeling good. And it is cheap. My Planet Fitness gym membership costs about $22 each month. The biggest investment is the time — about an hour each day including my drive time to my local gym.
And of course the effort. I have to put in the sweat, but the payoff motivates me to keep going.
After exercising regularly for several months, I was feeling more even keeled, clearer headed, and confident. I lost 10 pounds and two sizes in about 6 months. I only needed one cup of coffee each morning instead of two. Afternoon coffee became a rarity.
Now a full year after I started my exercise habit, the scale says I’m midway between the two extremes you see in the photo, but I’m still 2 sizes smaller. I’m building muscle which weighs more than fat (click or see below). And that’s why the numbers on the scale really don’t matter. I’m toning, looking better, and feeling strong.
I still have jiggly arms, thick thighs, chubby knees and a belly pooch. But I’m no longer afraid to wear sleeveless tops and shorts. I’m proud of the changes I’m seeing, and even though I’m not super fit, I have new confidence not to hide under my clothes. I’m not ashamed of my body.
I’m still trying to erase those mental files that say I’m uncoordinated and unathletic. I can be physically fit and active even if I don’t enjoy playing or watching sports. I can exercise solo without any sense of competition with others. I can do it for me.
I still struggle with the voice of that stocky athlete from my biology class jeering at me in my head:
- You look goofy while you exercise.
- You aren’t doing it right.
- You are an impostor; you don’t belong at the gym.
I talk back to that voice and say, “I’m here for me! I don’t care what people think. If I look goofy, that’s okay because being healthy is worth looking goofy.”
Wearing size ten jeans is merely a positive side effect compared to the much greater benefits of exercising. Yes, I want to look good. But I ultimately want to do it for my overall wellness not to achieve some outer standard of beauty.
Keys to my Exercise Transformation
- not worrying about the scale
- focusing on feeling good
- emphasizing emotional benefits
- keeping a long-term perspective
- remembering where I was and how far I’ve come
- savoring the endorphins and the feelings of accomplishment
This is the third post in a series about my own journey towards personal fitness and well-being.
- How I Became a Non-Sporty Person Who Hated Exercise
- How I Grew to Appreciate Exercise (Even Though I’m Still not Sporty)
- What Exercise Did for Me (You are here.)
- Meeting Exercise Goals With Self-Talk & Rewards