Well, I've had a love/hate relationship with exercise all my life ... I wanted to write about this particular topic because it inevitably goes hand in hand with weight management and can be a real source of criticism for those of us with large exteriors!
Now I need to say that for many years, I never shied away from being active ... I started off doing ballet, modern dancing and tap dancing ... it's so sad that in one of my concert dances, I had to wear a little yellow bikini and in my photos, you can visibly see me trying to hold my little flabby tummy in! At school I was part of the tennis team, the hockey team and I also did netball and swimming but I was never really a runner! I also longed to go to a gym and do aerobics (think 1980's hairstyles, illuminous gym gear and wild hair!) ... but this did not happen for a few reasons - cost, time and effort to get to the gym. I did end up funding myself, I used to walk down to the gym after school and then my mum would pick me up but it didn't last long as I couldn't afford it. I've attempted boot camps, personal training (at 5.00am), powerwalking at 6.00am and more gym!
I used to spend most of my school holidays on my uncle's farm where we did heaps of walking, bicycle riding and horse riding too - I even competed in gymkhanas with my favourite horse! I loved being in the country (still do!) and being outdoors and I was always in the pool at home doing water aerobics or dancing and playing pool volleyball with my family!
I also absolutely love shaking my bootie ie. I love dancing ... and still do too!
Over the years, I have undertaken weekly beach volleyball in Manly Beach, Sydney as well as regular power walking, bush walking for up to 15kms, climbed mountains, kayaked, went on a flying fox (if you can call that exercise), did archery, sailing and even tried windsurfing and being on a catamaran too! I again tried the gym from time to time ... and I bought the Zumba DVD and weight set to do from home along with some other home aerobics videos (yes, videos, not DVDs!) which I attempted to do in a ridiculously small apartment covered in wooden floorboards (much to my neighbour's dismay!) ... the elephant upstairs was at it again?!
What else ... hmmm ... I've been skiing in Europe several times and once in Australia, I've done white water rafting and fishing! I've played table tennis and badminton but never quite got the feel for squash! I have climbed to the summit of a mountain in Canada near Jasper (admittedly from the Gondolier station to the top at a very high altitude)! I've trekked the mountains of the beautiful Drakensberg range in South Africa and I've also trekked the beautiful Blue Mountains in NSW. I also went on safari in Kenya and Tanzania (on my own with a tour) for 2 weeks where I pitched my tent and camped under the stars - I love camping and have been many times - some of the best adventures ever! I love the beach (but don't like being in my costume in front of others) and I've tried body surfing and boogie boarding but hated being dumped! I've snorkelled and I've "floated" down fast flowing rivers in Turkey and on Fraser Island.
I can't tell you how many times I've run to catch a bus or train - I have walked up escalators instead of just riding them, and you must know that I really hate stairs! I would rather walk a hill than climb stairs! And then I went and lived on a 9 Deck ship for 2 years where there was no option of a lift and my cabin was on Level 2 and everything else that happened was above me, so I climbed a LOT of stairs in those 2 years! None of us had a car in this time either so, if we wanted to go somewhere, we used our own horsepower!
Now, however, in my later years, after I got married and fell pregnant within my first year of marriage (I was 37yrs old), being active just seemed to get harder ... and that made me larger ... which made it even harder to get back to exercising again! And then I let things slip by me and before I knew it, I was 41yrs old and had just had my second child but I had reached my heaviest weight ever whilst pregnant with my son!! Being a mum of two small kids was, in my opinion, enough exercise to keep me busy ... but it wasn't enough to stop the weight creeping up and up the scale!
All in all, I believe that my life has been amazing (but that is only my humble opinion, it's not meant to sound arrogant or self-praising)! The one thing that I can honestly say I don't regret is, that I have never let my weight prevent me from doing things that mattered to me (except for bungee jumping and sky diving)! At times, it's true that I felt unfit but most of the time, I felt quite fit, BUT ... at all times, I was always FAT!
Now I don't know if you consider me to be unfit or unhealthy or both when you look at my size but please, let me share one other thing! When it comes to exercise, just because I'm not in a gym or affiliated with some dedicated exercise regime, does not make me a lazy, fat person who doesn't care about my body or doesn't enjoy exercise type activities. I long for the day when I can just go to the beach or a friend's pool and be in my costume without any fears of my own harsh self-judgments and self-consciousness ... but even if I lost heaps and heaps of weight, if my mind does not change, it won't matter what size I am because those mind-barriers will still be there!
Why am I telling you all these things ... well simply to ask that when you look at my size, you don't judge me for what you see on the exterior but rather that you realise that right now, at this very moment, being in a gym takes a monumental amount of effort - not so much physically for me, but more importantly psychologically! I started personal training in July 2016 for 8 weeks and I can honestly say that when I was standing in this small gym with only 3-4 other ladies around, I just wanted to burst into tears (and I often did on the way home) and overcoming my own mind was of far greater challenge than getting my body to do a few step ups or squats or walk on a treadmill! I don't hate the gym but I don't particularly love it either ... and at the moment I'm committed to going to personal training 1-2 times a week thanks to the amazing support of a dear friend who has just been such an encourager to me!! I can't name her unfortunately but I hope she reads this and knows how much her efforts and support mean to me right now.
Finally, I want you to really think about what thoughts go through your mind and how you react when you see a "body challenged" person who is half walking, half jogging down the street or around the oval, or in the gym with all those fat rolls bouncing around with them - turn your thoughts to an encouragement and silently pray that they will stay motivated and keep up their great efforts! Not everyone wants to have a body like "The Body" (Elle McPherson) or something similar ... and just because we are fat, doesn't mean we don't care about our temples, our bodies and all that means for our overall health in life!
At the end of the day ... it comes down to choice ... choosing for myself ... choosing to push through my barriers rather than be overcome by them!