Today, is a “rest day”. I don’t mean from working, as I’m not currently employed, I mean, from exercising. That sounds great – to most people. Most people are sane about diet and exercise. But for me, its a day of constant stress and guilt, full of “should’ves” and “ought-to’s”.
I have cut back significantly on the exercise I do. Six months ago I had somehow gotten myself into a position where I “had to” exercise in excess of 3 hours a day, every day, without fail, sick, injured or absolutely exhausted. I had to run for an hour, get to the gym and onto a spinning bike for an hour, then maybe do a weights or aerobics class, then possibly a yoga class and “finish off” with a 30 – 50 length swim. People were amazed at my endurance, some were worried at how thin I was getting. Maybe that attention was part of the problem, maybe I began to not want to let them down? But mainly, let’s face it, what kept me on that destructive path was pure fear. Fear of being fat.
I struggle with weight and food and I have always been a very ‘all or nothing” person. So, when I stopped working and had more time I increased my exercise and thought I’d try to finally get to my goal weight. I was already exercising for and hour and a half a day minimum – so my starting point was quite high. The weight did come off. But now I was trapped. If I stopped working out so much the weight would come back. If I had even a day off, the “pattern” would be broken and I would stop working out at all and become as huge as I used to be.
So, I continued to punish myself daily – until a bad fall, while out running, stopped me, literally, in my tracks. Broken ribs will do that. For the first few days I fretted – the scales were going up and I was eating to comfort myself which was adding to the problem. After a week I tried to run again and made myself worse. I was doomed to rest. One month later – and over 14 pounds heavier – I could begin to train again. But the mojo had gone. I was so heavy that beginning to run again was torture, the spinning bike hurt my backside, the weights had somehow become much, much heavier. My clothes didn’t fit and there was NO way I was getting into a swimsuit!!! I struggled to make myself do any exercise at all and I continued to comfort eat and to gain weight.
Time passed. Thankfully, a holiday gave me the chance to look at myself, have some time away from what had become my routine and “reset” my head a bit. For some reason, I now have my mojo back (who knows for how long – I just make the most of it while it’s here). I am heavier than I have been for years and I am very embarrassed to be back at the gym and so fat, but I am training regularly and trying hard again.
My point – and the point of this post – is that I am trying to develop a different attitude to rest. I think, with hindsight, that the fall did me a favour. I am back to exercising for over an hour a day most days, but I also make myself take a rest day. I am trying really hard to look at this “time out” as part of getting fitter and healthier…. and, even, slimmer. It’s not easy though, the demons are gnawing away at the back of my mind, telling me I’m getting fatter, I’m lazy, I’ll give up completely if I stop for a day. I am trying to see them for what they are – dangerous liars and part of my very distorted view of myself.
Today is a rest day – tomorrow I will exercise. That’s just how it’s going to be. All I have to do now is to find a way to not just manage it but enjoy it.