I did something crazy. Me, myself, and I took Nike’s famous words of wisdom – and we just did it…
I Wasn’t Feeling Up For My Regular Gym Routine
I was on my way to the gym after work the other day – and I just couldn’t bear the thought of going through with all of the tedious steps: finding a parking spot, walking in, awkwardly changing in a bathroom stall (undressing in the openness of the locker room is still not an easy task for me), and getting my entire routine started.
I was exhausted, mentally, physically, emotionally – you name it. (It’s been a rough couple of months, my friends.)
But for me, it’s a proven fact that exercise is the one thing that, without fail, gets my engine going, gives me a second wind, and always strips away a layer of stress.
But that day, I knew that the gym was out. It just wasn’t happening.
So… I just did it.
I pulled over into a parking lot down the street from the gym. I was wearing a dress, but beneath it I was sporting barely-there spandex shorts and a skimpy tank top. (The discomfort of chaffing thighs and low-cut dresses sometimes leads to this type of wardrobe damage control. But hey, to make herself comfortable – a girls’ gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!)
Before I could overthink my plan and talk myself out of it, I whipped off my dress in the middle of that parking lot, threw on my sneakers, placed my headphones in my ears, snapped my fanny pack around my waist, and started jogging. (And before you question your eyes and re-read that last part, let me just reiterate that yes, I’m 25-years-old and yes, I’m the proud owner of a black pleather fanny pack!)
I Felt Empowered And Mortified At The Same Time
As I started on my impromptu journey, the devil on my left shoulder and the angel on my right shoulder immediately started going at it. Half of me felt empowered! The other half – felt mortified…
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My little red-horned friend kept pointing out the fact that my thighs were rubbing together. And I became self-conscious every time I had to stop and pull my shorts to keep them from riding up you know where.
My sweet angelic side told me that I was awesome. You’re moving your body! You’re outside! You’re challenging yourself! It’s okay to stop and fix your spandex wedgie! You’re wearing SHORTS! In PUBLIC!
Judging Myself By ‘Mind Reading’ Other People
Then my dark thoughts would creep back in as I kept imagining what every single driver thought as we crossed paths. Were they mocking me? Laughing at me? Commenting that someone of my size shouldn’t, under any circumstances, be wearing such a minimal outfit?
But I shook my head and reminded myself that I am The Queen of Mind Reading.
“Nobody is paying attention to me or judging me. They’re focused on their own lives. And even if someone did have a negative thought about my body – I’m never going to know what it is and it’s NEVER going to hurt me.”
As I returned to the parking lot, I realized that unless I backtracked, I was going to have to walk by the restaurant that I had avoided at the beginning of my jog.
The problem? The whole side of the building is one big window – or, as my shoulder devil tried to tell me – one HUGE opportunity to embarrass myself.
As I approached the building I wondered whose appetite I would ruin if I jogged by in this outfit that didn’t belong to my body.
But I did it ANYWAY.
And guess what? As far as I know, the evening news didn’t highlight any stories headlined:
Local Patron Suffers From Shock After Witnessing Jogger in Spandex Shorts!
I was in the clear. In fact, I was in the clouds.
Taking A Different Path Instead of Binge Eating
I could have gone home that day, headed straight for the fridge, and numbed myself with food.
Don’t get me wrong – part of me really wanted to take that path. But instead, I took a different route… around the block, in the warm air, with the sunset as my backdrop.
Bingeing has been at the forefront of my thoughts a lot lately. The small bumps in life turned to hills and then they became mountains. And my edible companions have been taunting me to take a ride to Binge Town.
But that ride is never free. It costs an emotionally-charged pretty penny.
Jogging on the other hand – now THAT’S some guilt-free, un-food-related movement I can work with.
Choose Fitness – Or Rest – Options That Are Right For You
Okay, so I know that jogging is not for everyone. For most of my life I loathed it. And sometimes, I kind of want to punch the concept of jogging right in the face (if it had one). So those days – I just don’t do it.
In a moment of crisis, anxiety, discomfort, fear, or anger – the most important thing you can do is choose a physical activity that feels right at the time.
Forcing ourselves to follow a normal exercise routine can backfire and demotivate us.
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But by giving ourselves the freedom to choose – we can do something that’s going to make us FEEL good from the inside out. Maybe it’s taking a walk. Maybe it’s blasting your favorite song and having a dance party in your room. Maybe it’s punching your pillow a few dozen times. As long as it’s safe, who cares!
Or maybe, your mind is going 70 miles per hour and the more comforting thought is to sit quietly, meditate, write, or head to bed early for an energizing night’s sleep.
Rest can be just as important as exercise – if not more important at times.
Learning From (Instead of Judging) Ourselves
In this game of life, rarely are there right or wrong answers when it comes doing the things that make us FEEL better. This was hard for me to learn – especially because food was always the ONE thing that I thought would always make me feel better. But it isn’t. Fact!
There are so many choices to be made – sometimes we like the ones we make and other times, we wish we’d chosen a different path, and we come to know better for next time.
But we shouldn’t limit ourselves or judge ourselves… we should learn from ourselves.
For so many years, I thought it was “all or nothing” but I finally realize that something is usually better than nothing. And that that by actively choosing to do nothing – we’re actually doing something!
The point here – is that when it comes to taking care of your body and your mind – follow your gut, go with the flow, and JUST DO IT!
Until Next Time,
P.S. If the only thing your mind and body feel like “just doing” circles right back to eating, I hope you feel welcomed to re-visit the safety of Green Mountain for some inspiration and motivation. And if that kitchen keeps calling your name, take a moment to decide if you’re hungry for food or craving comfort. If it’s the latter, try writing a list of other activities that make you happy, close your eyes, point your finger, and surprise yourself! And then, you guessed it – just do it, my friends.