Last year I did a 4-week yoga challenge. It was incredibly hard, but I got through it. In November I got myself a FitBit and started walking. There have been days of pretty nasty pain, but I keep going. It’s been hard all around, but I keep trying. Some days I’m all for it, but other days take almost more than I have in me.
You see, it’s not just the activity itself. It’s my mentality. If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I’ve had a long struggle with body issues. Right now, I don’t look the way I want, and there’s this constant, awkward dance between loving myself and not being happy with how I look. I’m also trying to shift my thinking, worrying less about the weight and more about getting healthy and strong. I still want to get more fit looking, but I’m trying to focus more on being healthy.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy. Not just because that annoying part of my brain keeps trying to push me to do more so that I can look different, but also because I hate feeling weak and broken. I’ve never been an athletic person. I was strong in my teens and early 20s from a lot of physical labor, but spending most of my life in a desk job kind of killed all that. Existing physical issues that are beyond my control add to it. I want to just be able to do the 10,000 steps a day and all the yoga poses, but my body isn’t cooperating.
So there’s this battle in my head every day. I want to be strong and healthy. I want to be leaner and like my body more. I want to accept my body as it is. I want to be okay with not being physically fit yet, and still keep striving for better. Unfortunately, I have days when I have to fight the urge to cry and beat myself up over the fact that no matter where my will is, my body’s not there yet. Believe me, I want to be able to do five miles a day plus look all elegant at yoga. The sad truth is though, that I’m not there yet and no amount of will is going to change that.
Annoyingly enough, I can’t allow myself to give up. I think about spending the rest of my life unable to walk any distance without pain, unable to even touch my toes, and I can’t accept it. Giving up would be a whole lot easier, and it’s what most people these days do, but I don’t want to be that kind of person. I want to be like that paratrooper who couldn’t walk without devices to help him, and a year later he could run. And somehow I have to keep my motivation, keep going, and not stupidly push myself so far that I end up doing damage I can’t recover from.
I got to thinking about all of this because yesterday I did over 11,000 steps. I was so proud of myself! That is the most I’ve done in over a decade. It felt so good, and I was so happy. But today my shins hurt and I know that I probably can’t do it again, which is depressing. I’m trying to be reasonable about it, but it’s hard. It makes me feel broken and like a failure. It kind of makes me hate the world and the people that gave me the thoughts that I have, the ones that enabled me to become how I am. But the past is past, and now there’s just me. I have to get my head straight and find a way to achieve what I want.
Do any of you out there have success stories to share? I’d love to know that there are some other people out there with physical issues and limitations who have overcome and gotten fit and strong in spite of those issues. It would be especially good to hear from any ladies who’ve also struggled with their body image and the emotional struggle that comes with being physically limited.