I wrote this guest post over at The Paleo Mama awhile back and I thought that it would be appropriate to post here being that it is a New Year.
This is my story of WHY I am so passionate about fitness.
I do love fitness. I love talking about it. I love researching it. I love teaching about it and writing about it. I guess you could say I am a fitness geek. Not only do I like to learn new moves that work but I also like to learn WHY those movements work…down to the muscle fibers. Gah! It is great stuff. But, I promise I won’t go into any ‘boring to other people’ details.
Today I want to talk about how fitness really did save my life.
Fitness is a fairly new addition to my life and it is a welcome one at that.
Let’s go back quite a few years.
I have never been an athletic person. I loved to swim, ride my bike, go on hikes, and jump rope. I was never remarkable at anything I did. Honestly, I preferred to read my books and create from within the house. I enjoyed the outdoors but reading curled up on the couch was far more attractive. I went through phases of running but they never really stuck for very long.
I was never a big girl growing up. I was slender but I don’t think I would ever say I was thin either.
There was one thing that was always present in my life…
Never feeling good enough
There were some pretty dark times in middle school and high school. I never talked about it. I suffered in silence. I am not a very open person by default. I am getting better about being more vulnerable with people but that is a more recent development. Until then, I was quiet. I am sorry to any family members or friends who just never knew. It was my fault that I never shared.
Ultimately, it was my faith that saved my literal life. I really don’t think my I would have made it out of that pit alive without finding my faith in Jesus. He saved my soul.
But, it doesn’t end there. Just because I have faith does not mean I don’t still struggle. I am not perfect and won’t be on this side of heaven.
Good thing and bad things have happened. I’ve gotten married. We had our son. Job loss. My Mom died suddenly. Secondary Infertility. Etc. Etc. Etc.
One thing was always consistent in the good and the bad. I always ‘medicated’ with food. Stress eating. Sadness eating. Happy eating. Celebrating Eating.
Despite all the amazing things in my life I always kept one foot in that pit of depression.
One day I decided to start running again. I wasn’t good at it. It is hard to run when you weigh a lot. I was slow. But, I did it.
Slowly, my moods started to stabilize. I lived for the endorphin rush that running provided. I got addicted.
Then guess what happened. After lots of 5K’s and two half marathons and training for a full marathon I had to hang up my running shoes. My knees just couldn’t take it. I grieved the loss of running after I limped the last 3 miles of a long run in tears because I was too stubborn to call my husband for a ride home.
At that point, I knew I needed to do something. I couldn’t quit my fitness journey.
That’s when my husband and I walked into the weight room at the gym. We were completely lost and wandering. With fits and starts, we found our groove in the gym. We trained together for a few months until his job prevented us from that. I found a program I loved and found my way around the gym again but this time alone.
Now, I am totally addicted to the gym.
I have found my groove.
I am actually good at this.
I have found my anti-depressant.
I actually discovered that the reason I was never “thin” in high school was because I naturally carry a lot of muscle. So, there really WAS something I was good at. It just took 32 years to find.
There is a meme that I have seen circulating on Facebook that says “Food is the most abused anti-anxiety drug and exercise is the most under used anti-depressant.”
That is TRUTH right there, folks.
In college I had a professor in my Abnormal Psychology class who said that the first step in therapy for his depressed clients was to have them go out for a run every day.
Do I still get sad and depressed at times. You bet I do.
What do I do now? I go to the gym and I squat and deadlift. I do a butt load of burpees. I run sprints on the treadmill. I get those endorphins to such a high level that I can’t help but feel good about myself, my family, and my world.
I am addicted to endorphins.
Exercise saved me. It has brought my life back. I am better Wife, Mom, Friend, and Person. And I won’t stop talking about it. It saved me and it could very well save you.