Belonging

31 Aug

I thought I’d talk about a combination of the head stuff and exercise.

So the professional exercise avoider had discovered swimming, this went very well and helped to contribute to another 2 stones of weight loss, importantly though my body was changing shape massively. This is an interesting thing, there were bits of my body emerging that I hadn’t seen in a very long time, my knee caps, shoulder blades, collar bones, hip bones. The fat disappeared from my neck and from the tops of my shoulders, almost daily something seemed to be changing. I felt great as well, I had more energy than I know what to do with, my skin glowed and life was beginning to change a lot.

I hadn’t even thought about the shape changing, shrinkage is a very weird thing!  There were trips to the bra fitters, that was amazing, I didn’t realise a good bra could result in losing over a dress size on my top half!

At the same time all this was happening, I had the news that a previous injury to my knee had been aggravated by the exercise I was doing, so surgery was now the only option. It was a big operation and an even harder rehab, so I decided that the best course of action was to put together an exercise programme to build up my leg muscles, the better and fitter I was before surgery, the quicker and easier the rehab would be – hopefully!

Together with the swimming, there was only one place where this could really happen – the gym.

I had always been very vocal in the past about not getting the ‘gym’, lots of sweaty bodies, pounding away, all the talk I ever heard about the place was very negative, no-one seemed to enjoy it, it appeared to be a destination for pain and boredom!

I’m also a bit anxious in new environments, I worry about looking like a fool, making mistakes and people laughing at me. So the gym seemed like a very big step. I did though have a conversation with a friend who helpfully told me that I needed to give it time and that eventually I would feel I belonged?  I thought he was mad.

So I summoned up the courage and rolled up the gym in my newly purchased ‘proper’ trainers, these were the first pair I’d ever owned, they were so white they glowed!

Because of my knee injury I was assigned one of the senior instructors, she was great, we talked about my story and she did a check of my current fitness levels and measured me, this was intriguing, it’s something I wished I had now done from the beginning as is a much better indicator than weight of how much you progress!

And then it was onto the machines, the free weights and lots of other stuff, a lot of it felt very weird but I was quite impressed by what I could already do and I was told I was quite fit!  That was still though quite an alien thing to hear, me, Trudy, 43, formally obese girl – fit?

My first ‘solo’ session was though a bit of a trial, I thought the whole place was looking at me as I tried to remember what to do with everything!  Each session though got easier, what did help was having a little look at the levels other people were getting to on the bike, I was quite surprised to see that I was doing rather well!

I met with my instructor a few times, tweaked the programme a lot, I added in things, so did she. At my check in after 3 months I was astounded to see that I had lost a lot from all my limbs, I was more toned. My legs were also in brilliant shape for surgery and I had far increased upper body strength which would help if I ended up on crutches for any length of time. This was very important for me, when I had the original injury, I was sent home on crutches, I could barely move on them, moving and supporting that amount of body weight was impossible, it was humiliating and I’d had to get up the stairs to my flat on my bottom and then move around on my office chair, I was never going there again.

But what was more important was that I was enjoying it, I wasn’t worried about what people thought because I was achieving things, and I now felt that I belonged to this new world.  The process had been a tricky one at times, of getting my head around me, moving in this world of fitness and health but I really like it.

So I found myself part of a new world, my thought for you is to never dismiss something as ‘not being for you’, life moves on all the time and we should always try to give things a go, I know if I had hated the gym and got nothing from it then I would have found something else to do. And a year on I still go, I mix it up with a lot of other exercise and never really do the same things so it doesn’t get boring and my trainers, well they are nicely worn-in and no longer glow!

I have a little quote that helped me then, maybe it will help you too.

If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.

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