OK, so I’ve been writing this post in my head all morning.
I woke up thinking about it. I went to the gym with my head so full of ideas that I couldn’t wait to get home to write them all down. Of course, a shower and breakfast were necessary, so I kept
writing thinking about this post as I went through my routine. And now, as I finally sit down to write it, I don’t know where to start. Maybe with this:
I ran today.
For the first time in almost two months, I ran. The doctor gave me permission to on Monday, but I was afraid to. I was afraid that I’d hurt my ankle even more. I was afraid that it would be hard, and that I wouldn’t like it anymore.
Finally, I decided to just do it.
First, I did the rehab exercises that the doctor gave me for my hip. (If you missed it, the doc. thinks the reason I have ankle tendonitis to begin with is because I have a weakness in my right hip. He gave me exercises to strengthen it)
He said: Do you know how to do a plank?
I said: I hate plank.
He said: That’s why you need to do it.
Then, I wrapped my ankle, put on my FIGHT Bondiband, and headed out the door.
I took it easy. I let my iPod determine when I would run and when I would walk. Two songs: run. One song: walk. Galloway Style.
Thirty-five minutes and two and a half miles later, I hopped off the treadmill and stretched with a smile on my face.
I did it. I felt happy. I felt strong.
A few days ago, Heather wrote a post about how taking a break from running helped her to become a stronger runner. I’d have to say that I agree with her completely.
But that’s not the only benefit I’ve gained from not working out for two months.
I’ve also learned to love my body in ways that I never have before.
A year ago, I exercised to lose weight. If I missed a day at the gym, I’d feel guilty. If I missed two days at the gym, I’d feel like I’d ruined everything I had worked for.
As I exercised more and more, something shifted in my brain. I no longer wanted to exercise every day just to be fit.
I wanted to exercise because it made me feel good. It made me stress less. It made me happy.
Soon, exercising five or six days a week became part of who I was (and who I still am).
So, when I first hurt my ankle (and shoulder) in July, and the doctor told me not to exercise until the end of August, I was beside myself.
What would I do? I thought.
But, I learned a valuable lesson in the last two months. I learned to love my body just the way it is.
Now, I’m about to say something that is totally cliché, but it’s something I think that needs to be said over and over again:
Nobody is perfect.
Nobody. Not me. Not you. We all have imperfections that make us who we are. And that’s OK.
In the time I spent away from the gym, I learned that I’m no longer the type of person who needs to work out every day to feel good about my body. If my workout hiatus has taught me anything, it’s that:
If the only time you feel good about your body is after you’ve worked out, something is wrong.
You should feel good about your body ALL THE TIME.
You should exercise because you love to, not because you feel like you have to. The mental benefits are more important than the physical ones. If you’re working out just so you can reach a desired goal, you’re never going to be truly happy with your body, because you’re never going to feel like you’ve done enough.
If you miss a few days, a few weeks, a few months of working out, so what? When your body is ready, you’ll get back into it.
Meanwhile, focus on loving your body and yourself just the way you are. I promise, you’ll feel so much happier when you do.
How did you learn to love your body? How can we help others do the same?