Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sucking out the venom

I love fitness. I really, really do. Seeing what our bodies are capable of, pushing the limits, or simply taking advantage of the ability to move. It's a major blessing.

Over time, however, I had started waking up less and less excited to start my work out each morning.  It began to feel as though I was punishing myself by habitually dragging my butt out of bed and jumping on the treadmill, or pressing "play" on a 40 minute HIIT routine.

Not only had I lost motivation for, and joy from my workouts, but adrenal fatigue (here's a great article on this) set in full force and I couldn't stand up without seeing spots. Every day I was entirely drained of energy by two in the afternoon. Thanks, autoimmune disease

I let myself get completely burned out, and never stopped for recovery or a reboot.  Reality finally set in, and I decided to experiment with a gentler approach to fitness.  I wanted to enjoy working out again, and set the focus back on exercising to feel strong and gain energy.

It was a hard truth to swallow that I am not above the limitations that my condition can present. I've learned in the last few months to listen to my body. Work out when it feels right, rest when I need to, and fuel my body with nutrient dense foods (including healthy fats!)

I have altered my workout routines from 30-40 minutes of high intensity cardio a day, to a brisk 40 minute walk five times a week, and moderate to high intensity cardio 1-2 times a week. Body weight HIIT routines have gone from 30 minutes a day to 10-20. And, most importantly, I now deliberately designate at least one day a week to rest.  Obtaining health is a journey. An individualized journey that, at times, can be incredibly frustrating. Being kind to yourself on this journey is of utmost importance. 

So, why did I let myself become obsessive over workout intensity, rather than focusing on obtaining joy through a healthy level of exercise?

Vanity.

This is by far the hardest thing for me to admit to anyone, but I have wrestled my entire life with vanity, and chasing after physical attractiveness. Deep in my heart, I know that internal beauty matters far more.  I know that God looks at the heart, that a magnetic personality, positive attitude and a kind and loving spirit are what I should be in constant pursuit of. However, for some reason, I still struggle daily with placing an absurd amount of importance on my outward appearance. 

Thanks to pregnancy and autoimmune issues, hormone fluctuations have caused skin issues and a weight gain/loss roller coaster ride which has preyed on my inability to place my personal worth on something more substantial than my reflection. It's been a rough few years. 

I'm just now, finally, saying enough is enough!

I am created in the image of the one true God. A God who loves me unconditionally and is jealous for me and wants to draw me ever closer to Him.  Who am I to say I'm not worthy of love or joy, especially because of a number on the scale, or an imperfection rebounded from a piece of glass.  It's heartbreaking when I think of the way I treat myself sometimes. 

Going forward, I plan on spending a lot of time and energy sucking out the venom of vanity in my life. I want to replace it with seeing myself through His eyes. And through the eyes of those in my life who, by the grace of God, choose to love me for who I am, not how I look. 

I hear people talk all the time about "loving your body" and being accepting of your body once you reach a healthy ideal composition. I don't yet fully understand what it feels like to have that kind of self love and acceptance, but I hope and pray that someday soon I will, and that along the way I learn to place higher value on what matters most in this life. 





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