Why do I workout? Why do I wake up when it’s still dark, shovel oatmeal into my mouth, and rush to meet my trainer when I’d rather be in bed? Why do I – a person who is perfectly satisfied with her love life, her family life, and her financial life – choose day after day to push her body to its limits?
Beyond the craziness of raising kids, taking care of a family, and squeezing work in between, I expect to somehow maintain a workout & diet regimen that is going to ensure my good health and a long life. It’s hard. I’m tired. And I love it. After gaining 25 food-and-depression-fueled pounds during a very messy divorce four years ago and keeping it on for 2 and a half long years, I needed to regain control of my body… and my sanity. Nothing – for me – has been so challenging, so therapeutic, and so attitude adjusting as the process of getting myself back in shape.
Getting fit has never been about looks. I have three kids now, and I’ll never look like I did when I was 18… I don’t want to be 130 pounds again. I don’t have that same round fresh face and those non-existent hips. I’m a grown-up woman now, with grown-up goals and grown-up realities. I use pounds and jeans size to measure my progress, but it doesn’t dictate how sexy or successful I feel. I was sick of being tired, and I was tired of feeling like my body was working against me. I wanted to feel healthy and full of energy… looking good in a short skirt would be nice, but I would rather be able to run around the park with my kids without getting winded.
The truth is that I feel my best when I look my ugliest – after a hard run when the sweat is dripping down my back and my clothes are stuck to my skin, after an ass kicking weight training session when my veins are popping out of my arms, pushing out that last rep as I furrow my brow and tighten my lips.
But don’t be fooled by the angry look on my face. The pleasure hormones, endorphins, are working their magic and I’m never feeling better. In these awesome moments following a good workout, I’m on cloud nine and feeling invincible. My heart is beating hard in my chest, my muscles are on fire, and I feel even stronger than I did just an hour before.
These brief moments of bliss, tiny moments of personal triumph, only leave me hungry for more. Before I’m even out of my post-workout shower, I’m already thinking of my next session… will I go hiking through the woods? run through the park? hit the gym and take my stress out on the weights? I’m already setting new goals and figuring out how to push my limits further.
Pushing myself physically has influenced so many other parts of my life. We all have time to make better choices… reading to Jack rather than catching up on The Real Housewives, taking a walk with Justin rather than staring at my laptop, trying a new recipe with Winona rather than driving to get a fast greasy dinner. Making time to be healthy has added structure to my life. Its given me discipline and a renewed sense of self worth and satisfaction.
So while I definitely do look better than ever in a short skirt and heels, it’s more important to me that I can run faster and longer than ever before in sweatpants and sneakers.