One of the questions I receive most frequently is also one I'm most hesitant to answer: What do you eat, and what's your exercise routine? I've skirted the question for the past 11 years because the honest answer, frankly, isn't very relatable. It's annoying, even. I don't work out with any consistency and I pretty much eat what I want. Sure, I have brief stints of working out and eating 'healthy,' (like that time I attempted to cut out sugar for a week), but none that last. But that wasn't always the case—and I'm trying to get back to that place. To keep myself accountable, and fully transparent to you, I want to share the whole story:
I grew up an extremely active kid. I played tons of sports and in a lot of ways, it feels like my body has retained that muscle memory. But ever since I graduated from high school, I haven't followed a consistent exercise routine. I just don't like anything enough to stick with it, plus an old injury makes it impossible to play one of the only sports I truly love, soccer. If I'm being honest, the reason I haven't prioritized finding something else I love is due largely in part to a false sense of not "needing" to: I weigh roughly the same amount whether I exercise or not.
But here's the piece I was avoiding: Being a certain size does not equate to being healthy. I've weighed the same amount since college, but am in considerably worse shape now than I was in my early 20s, since I don't make time for consistent exercise. I'm winded when I walk up a flight of stairs, and my energy levels are low. My occasional stints of spin classes or daily walks don't last long enough to make a significant, lasting impact on my endurance. Instead of coming down on myself for not exercising with any regularity, I realize that I have to change my entire approach, starting with the source.
Once my focus shifted from playing sports to exercising on my own, I lost my way. What had once been such a fun, positive activity now felt like a punishment. Every article I read promoted a different exercise to "fix" something. The messaging in magazines was less about empowering women to be strong, and focused primarily on what we looked like. So I developed an aversion to exercise. It held such a negative connotation for me that I simply stopped doing it altogether.
I need to get back to a place where I work out because it makes me feel great, just like I did when I played sports. Because it helps me sleep better, clears my head, and gives me an endorphin kick. I need to exercise since it's the healthy thing to do—not to get to some magic number on the scale (hence why I don't own one). I'll be the first to admit I have a long way to go. I have to reimagine the way I approach exercise so that it's something I do for myself instead of something I have to do. 2019 is my year of self care, and not just in the form of face masks and bubble baths. Of getting outside and moving, trying out new activities, reaping the benefits of sweating, and taking time for myself.