Again, thank you to everyone who commented on my last two posts for this series about my relationship with food and my body. This post is much more upbeat I promise you.
As always, please share your thoughts and experiences by leaving me a comment below.
My relationship with food and my body took a turn for the better when I discovered exercise…again.
When I was a child the mere thought of ‘Physical Education’ was enough to have me running to the library crying ‘Sanctuary! Sanctuary!’. I was not, repeat not, a sports-minded child. I am by nature a coordination-challenged person, and have very poor eyesight so any attempt at playing a sport involving coordination and being able to see further away than my own hand usually ended in disaster. Namely, all sports ended in disaster.
So I proceeded through my formative years with an avoidance-based attitude towards all types of physical activity.
We have already talked briefly about my exercise habits in high school, and you might have caught the information that I actually studied exercise physiology in university; however, despite joining a gym with Casey while I was studying, and trying to make exercise a habit, I never really learned to enjoy physical activity.
After allowing myself to mistreat my body I needed to learn to trust myself again. To teach my body that exercise wasn’t punishment. Exercise wasn’t just about burning calories and trying to lose weight so I could fit into an unrealistically-sized pair of jeans. Exercise was a gift I could give to myself (nearly) every day.
When I started working at my current job I was so blessed to be in a position where I was counselling others on setting healthy lifestyle goals in order to lose weight.
Dietitian, heal thyself, right?
I took the opportunity to go back to basics. Just as I was teaching my patients about healthy eating habits and regular physical activity; I was also teaching myself about how to incorporate these into my own life. I had to laugh whenever one of them would remark that I mustn’t have any problems with my weight as a dietitian. If only they knew…
I started simply. I used the treadmill, stair-climbing machine, elliptical, rowing machine, and stationary bike, or I attended classes particularly cycling or yoga classes. The kilograms began to come off and as they did I developed an appreciation for the balance between what I was using to fuel my body and how I was using that fuel.
I also discovered a form of exercise I really loved: running.
I am not a natural runner, not long legged and lean with lungs that just won’t quit, but something happened when I focused my efforts on becoming a runner.
I learned about myself. I listened to my body, what it needed to fuel it efficiently, when it was hungry, when I needed to rest and when I needed to get out on the road and let my feet fly.
Running has taught me not to judge my present capabilities by whatever might have happened in the past. Running has taught me that I can stand a little pain for the reward at the other end. Running has taught me that when life gets hard, or the road seems too long, you can only keep putting one foot in front of the other, and repeat, because that is the only way to get through anything.
Running has not only taught me. Running has brought me things.
Running has affected so many areas of my life. I know that I can achieve my goals now. When I plan for something and I really want it, there is nothing and no one standing in my way but myself.
And she’s just a shadow with running shoes now.
So when fitness came back into my life, so did balance with food. I ran a half marathon and several 10ks, I ran in Rome, in Florence, in Los Angeles, and in my own lounge room, and I realised somewhere in that journey that I had left behind some of the worry about what my body looked like and had started to focus on the miracle of what my body could do.
I realised that I was standing at the starting line of my own life, and I couldn’t wait for the race to start.
In other news, I have just signed up for the 2013 Cadbury Half Marathon! I am super excited because it starts and finishes at the Cadbury Factory in Hobart, Tasmania and the swag-bag includes chocolate…