Following is a post from my client, Angela. She is fantastic in every way, and I really do mean every way. But one of the things Angela hated when I met her was exercise. She literally didn't want to go into the gym, let alone work out.
Now I am amazed every time she sends me an email about her hour long workouts! She has literally rewired her own brain to like going to the gym.
She is an inspiration to anyone who wants to give themselves the gift of exercise.
For most of my life I hated exercise. I dreaded gym class, played inside, and picked my college based on the fact it didn’t have a phys. ed. requirement. Periodically, I would give exercising a try. I'd go to the gym dutifully for a week or two, spending most of my time there just wanting to die inside when I would look over at the lean girls in their cute outfits and expensive sneakers. I was in a t-shirt and shorts with tennis shoes I’d gotten in back high school. Considering how intermittently I exercised, I told myself, it really wasn’t worth the money to buy nice things.
My weight fluctuated between 150 and 250 lbs but after having my first baby, my weight reached and all time high and didn’t seem to be going anywhere but up. The day I had my baby I was 315 lbs. – an 85 lb. gain! A year later I was still skimming the 300 lb. mark and the weight was making it hard to enjoy being a mom. I vowed, once and for all, to “get to the bottom” of this “weight problem.”
Five months later I had shed about 40 lbs and to celebrate, I treated myself to a seminar based on the work I’d been doing with the book “If I’m So Smart, Why Can’t I Lose Weight.” My intention was to stop hating exercise so much.
At the seminar, there was a “ropes” course challenge. I knew climbing a thirty foot poll only to face a tight rope walk was not for me. I sat it out. Later that night, most of the women were on cloud nine celebrating their accomplishment. Another woman shared my lack of enthusiasm. “I never would have done it,” she said, “if Theresa hadn’t asked me.”
“Oh,” I said, quickly, “if Theresa asked me I would have done it.” Somehow the scary parts of the course melted away in my mind at the thought of doing it for someone else.
On hearing that, Brooke retorted, “YOU didn’t ask YOU.”
She was right. Why would I have been willing to scale a 30 ft. poll and walk across a tight rope for Theresa – a woman I had only met a few days before? I was willing to take a physical risk for someone else’s approval and pleasure, but not for my own.
I thought of the number of times I promised myself I’d go to the gym and then broke the promise. I would never break a promise to a friend! But what if I changed the paradigm, what if I asked myself to work out as if it was Theresa asking instead of beating myself up that I should go. I returned home from the seminar and did just that. I invited myself to the gym every morning as if it was my best friend asking me out for dinner and a movie.
The day I was able to jog for 10 straight minutes it occurred to me. It wasn’t a thought or a decision, just an occurrence. I’m going to do a triathlon. We’re still a few months away from the event and my workouts have increased considerably.
I’m jogging and lifting weights for an hour minutes almost every day, swimming and biking a few times a week, and I just plopped a couple thousand dollars down on a fancy carbon road bike. I hired a trainer who I see 2 times a week for additional core strength workouts. I say things like carbon road bike and core strength work out! I even bought more than one cute work out outfit and an expensive pair of sneakers.
I’ve gone not just from someone who hated exercise to someone who loves it. I’ve gone from someone who doubted her abilities to someone who has confidence and excitement about what’s possible. I’ve gone from someone who put herself last, to someone who puts herself first because I know I'm worth it!