I’ve written many, many blog posts over my eight years with this blog about fitness, weight loss and my perception of my body image and it’s been all over the place – rock bottom, somewhere where I was pleasantly surprised I liked an outfit on myself and basically everywhere in between.
I consciously decided to stop writing these posts a while ago – doing regular updates often meant having to face not seeing the progress I wanted again and again and it was hard. Trying to lose weight, find a balance of being happy in my body as it is now and my mental health being here, there and everywhere is really hard.
(and I want to say now that I absolutely have not found a perfect balance, I doubt I ever will and there is definitely no quick fix, unfortunately)
Last year I found a dance school close to where we’d just moved to and started three classes a week because I love dancing and I couldn’t pick between ballet, tap and jazz. I’ve been doing these for nearly 11 months now and I still absolutely adore them – they’re proper workouts, I love the structure of having the same class each week and the routine is really good for me.
Although it feels like it’s been a long time coming, I’m really starting to feel like I’m improving now too which is so rewarding! I’m even going to buy some pointe shoes while we’re off for the summer and have a go at pointe class in September (potentially).
But alongside that, I have always really struggled with ‘traditional’ exercise – I was on the Netball and Athletics teams at school, but any kind of running, weight training or going to the gym were totally foreign to me, both because I have the stamina of a 90 year old with asthma and the motivation of… something-with-no-motivation.
I joined a gym at uni, bumbled my way round some cardio for a few weeks before inevitably losing steam and cancelling my gym membership after months of wasting money. Between undergrad and my masters I did one dance class a week and attempted Couch to 5k, which lasted four or five months but fizzled out. Then during lockdown I tried some of Joe Wicks’ live workouts and Attempt 2 of Couch to 5k to much the same result.
Fast forward two years – I’m dancing, I’m in a new job, I’m really struggling with weight loss despite doing three hours of exercise at dance a week and my boss brings in a new work benefit – company gym membership.
This coincided with my third attempt at couch to 5k (which my partner said we would do together and then he flaked on me and I’m still salty about it). Each run I found more and more challenging, so I tried to balance running three times a week with going to the gym and I found what is my current flow.
A bunch of the people I work with are full gym converts – they know what they’re doing (or at least, they give me the impression they do!), they regularly work out and it made me feel more encouraged to go too.
So what started with once a week just doing cardio, has evolved to roughly three times a week working on treadmill running, resistance machines and flexibility stretching. I’m finding that not paying the gym membership myself (which I appreciate sounds totally spoiled of me) makes me feel like I’m not obliged to go to the gym to get my moneys worth – it’s a choice that I get to make that doesn’t have any financial consequences.
So at the moment I’m working on doing 5k on the treadmill – I’ve started tracking my times and it’s not ‘good’ per say, but it’s improving and I’m really enjoying pushing myself, seeing the improvements and the endorphin high post exercise.
But I’ve actually used a few of the resistance machines and I’m not scared of those anymore, I’m working on being more confident working on my flexibility stretching and not worrying about whether people think I’m weird and maybe one day I won’t come out of the gym looking like a sweaty tomato, but at this stage, I’m still very unfit so it’s a work in progress.
Will I keep this up forever? Who knows! But I’ve stuck with dancing for nearly a year and I’ve been slowly getting more confident in the gym for four months. Pairing this with a couple of really good personal trainers on TikTok that have helped me understand more about what it really takes to lose weight, working on my diet and starting to actually see results both in how my clothes fit and the number on the scales, I’m feeling pretty good.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not like it’s cured my mental health issues – I got back from the gym this morning after a couple of stressful, anxiety inducing events both before and after and it zapped up the endorphins and I ended up in bed for three hours, too overwhelmed at the thought of having a shower. So as always – there’s ups and downs and I’m riding the wave; I burned about 700 calories on the treadmill this morning and ate them all back with an entire packet of crisps this afternoon, so taking the L on today.
I’ve written posts like this before where I really believed that ‘this time’ would be the one that I stick with – I’ll hit my goal weight, become one of those fit people that runs marathons and enjoy eating healthily without accidentally binging on crappy food. I don’t know if this will stick, but I’m optimistic for the moment and I’m going to take that.
Thank you for reading,
One thought on “actually enjoying exercise”
Life is a series of ups and downs indeed, and sometimes it’s the downs that solidify who we are as a person, because we learn through mistakes, even though it may take a few of them to actually cause permanent changes. Wishing you all the best on your journey!