>> Friday, August 13, 2010
Before the Vancouver 2010 Olympics started (image credit), I had decided that I was not going to get sucked into all the hype. The advertising for it seemed so overdone ("Do you believe?" Ugh, gag!), and I wanted to experience the Games for what it was -- not for what the ads promised it would be. Little did I expect that, despite my skepticism and cynicism, I would be completely inspired.
I can't exactly remember the "light bulb moment," but sometime during those fourteen days a revolutionary thought entered my mind: "Why shouldn't I be a fit person?" I suddenly realized that my lack of enjoyment for physical activity wasn't caused by the fact that I just wasn't "one of those people" who was born for it, but by my own belief that I just wasn’t one of those people. I have always had a thin-to-average-sized body and never really felt the need to exercise. I took gym class because I had to. I thought that people who enjoyed exercise must be of a completely different species. I was the girl with perfect grades who liked to read, make art and play music; I couldn’t relate to them. But it wasn't a big deal. I just wasn't one of them. That was fine; I had my own special talents and interests.
Something did bother me though. As someone who excelled at nearly everything she tried, when it came to physical activity, I felt completely inadequate. I imagined that everyone was shocked by my poor endurance, that they looked down on me, that I was slowing them down. They all made it look so easy and yet, try as I might, I could never keep up and was left dragging behind, uncomfortably hot and gasping for air.
But that was before. Once I realized that nobody was stopping me from being fit, I started exchanging those thoughts for more encouraging ones, and imagining what it would be like to finally go running, rock climbing, or hiking with friends and not spend one ounce of energy beating myself up for not being fast enough or strong enough. I could actually start to focus on enjoying being active. I knew that to get to that point, I would have to have a goal in mind and see relatively quick results in order to stay motivated and inspired.
Here's a little something about me: I love curling. (I'm a big Canadian nerd like that.)
Anyway, I remember watching the Olympics and the other big curling events when I was 13 or so, and thinking, "I want to do that!" But here's something else about me: I was an "all or nothing" kinda girl and I knew that I wouldn't improve enough to stay motivated by playing only one or two games a week. (I just recently found out that, if you're a member of a curling club and the ice is free, you can go practice whenever the hell you want! Let's just say that I'd be a much better curler by now had I known that at 13.) So when these Olympics rolled around and I got excited about curling all over again, I knew I had to join a club next season.
Despite how incredibly well both Canadian teams performed, I was still a feeling a little insecure by the fact that 22 seemed a little old to be getting all hardcore about a sport. Especially for someone who has always considered herself a non-athletic person. And then came Clara Hughes, speed-skater (and cyclist) extraordinaire! Her story is nothing short of inspiring. She had a rough time growing up, didn't get involved in sports until she was well into her teenage years, and she is the only Olympian, man or woman, ever to have won multiple medals at both the Summer and Winter Games. Not to mention her philanthropy work and all around bright-light-ness. I mean, what's not to be inspired by?
Long story getting longer, I just decided that 22 was going to be the new 7. Besides, do I even want to go to the Olympics? Probably not. I just want to make some nice shots on league night, really (on purpose, I should clarify – not by fluke). If I can do that, I’ll be a happy camper.
And so I ordered myself a copy of John Morris's Fit to Curl (a book that focuses on curling-specific training) and mapped out a realistic exercise plan for myself. I actually made it a little easier than I thought I could handle. I decided that I was going to enjoy exercise. I was going to do only what felt comfortable for me and my body. I was going to be a fit person (not just a skinny one). I was going to use my thoughts as a way to support and encourage myself. I was going to be "one of those people." Finally! All it took was a simple decision, a simple shift in perspective, a simple commitment to change my relationship to fitness for the better.
So here I am, 3-4 months into my new and wonderful life. I was surprised by how quickly I saw improvements in my fitness levels (and how little time and effort it took!). I truly believe that shifting my thoughts to support my desire for health sped up the process and has helped me to enjoy being active. Now I exercise for fun (most days). And I don’t follow my training plan to a "T" (not even close!). I don’t waste a second beating myself up for skipping a day (or two, or three). All we have is now. I'll even admit that I've been slacking off quite a bit this summer (as in, I haven't done anything on my training program in at least 3 weeks. And I'm okay with that because I no longer dread exercise. I think fondly of it, really. I don't believe that exercising because you "have to" or exercising when you don't want to can really yield that many benefits. A happy, healthy mind is a prerequisite to having a happy, healthy body. So, start with one positive thought today.
I love you. Do you love you? (Come on, say it!) :)
Thanks for reading!
Amy (from be.you.ti.fully, a.musing)
Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!!