Monday 14 August 2023

5 lessons I learnt from exercise

It was a perfect storm of synchronicity.

My doctor had been on at me for ages to lose some of the fat around my middle (to reduce fat on my liver)

 An advert popped up on Facebook

And 3 days later I was joining a gym.

That's kind of disingenuous to my doctor - it's been a few years (since February 2020) when we first started talking about a Care Plan to get me moving more.

First, 2020 happened.

Then, I told him I wanted to try by myself for 6 months.

But just as that reminder text hit my phone, I realised that exercise wasn't something I could do on my own.

So, armed with a dietician and exercise physiologist recommendation, I sat to contemplate my navel while scrolling FB, and was hit in the face with an atrocious advert.

"Are you an over 30 woman on the northside, too busy to take care of yourself?"*

The advert went on to talk about the program (weight lifting? cardio? no way!) and offered a link to make a booking for a phone consult.

I booked an appointment.

(I am a marketer's dream customer sometimes!)

The appointed time for the consult came, and went, and eventually I got on the phone with the nicest lady.

We talked about why I hit the button (my doctor's a nag), what I thought I could get out of it (better habits) and I paid on the spot.

I finished the program 2 weeks ago (and signed up to stay on) having not missed a class, but only having lost 1.5kgs.

This is what I learnt during those 6 weeks:

1) skin in the game is a must

I'm an obliger. I'll do things for other people without an issue (hence why I do so much in my volunteer roles) but when it comes to following through for me, I struggle.

Paying $400 up front was a big step. I couldn't waste the money, or let myself down by missing classes.

2) good running shoes are important

I needed new shoes (and workout clothes) before starting. I happily buy myself Frankie4s because I've been wearing them for years and love them, but I didn't want to spend that much on shoes for an activity I didn't know if I would follow through on.

Now I need to go shopping again.

Just buy the good shoes from the start, your feet will thank you for it.

3) weight loss is the wrong reason to join a gym

I weigh the same today as I did when I was a teenager. My weight isn't the biggest issue, but the fat that has crept up with age is.

When I was a teenager, I walked kilometres every day, to and from school and home, and did other weight bearing exercises (wall squats, push ups, bike riding, etc), but as an adult I stopped because I was busy.

But I have never believed that I needed to lose weight. What I really needed was better habits, and to do something that was for me not other people.

4) your body will surprise you with the things it can do

I can hold a plank from 2 minutes.

I know, right?!

I can pick up 10kg weights without blinking, and walk around the block while Sophie rides her new scooter without feeling out of breath half way round the first lap!

My weak-from-RSI wrist is getting stronger, and every day I'm choosing to eat as best as I can for that day.

5) exercise is fun (especially weight lifting)

This has been by far the biggest surprise.

I enjoy all those new things my body can do.

I enjoy the routine of getting up each day (although rainy days are hard, and I think winter will suck)

I like how my body feels now (and that baby belly that felt like it was never disappearing has slowly disappeared) 

Bonus tip - you have to learn these things for yourself.

I've been reading for years that you need skin in the game to succeed.

The experts have always said you need a better reason than weight loss to make a weight loss goal stick.

But until I did it for myself, I had no idea that it was all true.

What can you do this year that will move you towards better health?

PS I saw the dietician, who told me I knew all the things to do, and just needed to be mindful and actually do them. The exercise physiologist recommendation is in the bin, I found my workout home.

* The same shockingly worded advert popped up in my feed last week 🙈 I happily scrolled past.


1 comment

  1. That is so impressive Cate - you are an inspiration!


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