The Beauty of Exercise: From the Perspective of an Unfit, Unmotivated Girl

For a good part of my 18 years thus far on this earth, I have been in rigorous training for the life of a coach potato.

Many said I could never do it, that I could never be that lazy and unproductive… but I showed them. Oh, I showed them.

I have never liked exercise more strenuous or involving greater distances than the walk from the couch to the fridge. Nor have I ever felt enthused at the idea of running around an oval, or lifting up heavy objects for the hell of it. I always came last in cross country, even when I tried my very best (which is really no different from my laziest: I’m very unfit). 

If it were possible, I’d be lapped in a hundred metre race. I really would. 

I never understood the people who would encourage me to exercise. To be honest, I thought they were all raving mad. Worse were the people who ate healthily — no chocolate??!? VEGETABLES?!?! What madness is that!

But I’m a changed (wo)man.

Well, I still eat a lot of crappy food, struggle with beans, and get puffed on stairs but I’m in the process of changing, okay! Leave me be!

I actually really enjoy exercising now. I’m still super unfit, so there is no running. Actually, I hate running and I may always hate running, no matter my fitness. It hurts my boobs and I always think that I can feel my brain bouncing around in my skull. Is that a weird thing to think? Maybe I shouldn’t have said it. Well, it’s out there now. (There is a backspace key? What? No one ever told me!)

But I ride much more often now (which makes that expensive bike that I bought then left untouched in the garage for seven months MUCH more worth it) and I love long walks. I’m also getting more active with sports like basketball (which I coach) and soccer (which I play against my two little siblings and my dog… they always win).

For someone who is a very anxious person and who can easily get weighed down by the BS like me, exercise is really beneficial. I find that I can get absolutely lost when I exercise (figuratively and literally — thank god for Apple Maps). I stop worrying and just let it all go. I feel much happier for it, every time.

And that is the great thing about it – every time I don’t feel like going for a walk or a ride (which is the vast majority of the time) I remember how great I felt every other time I send screw it and just went. I’m lucky enough to be very near the ocean and have easy access to a gorgeous bike/walking path that is frequented by many cute guys. So whether its my view of the ocean, or of the guy in front of me (I like beautiful things, what can I say), I always see or experience something that makes me smile. So I never regret going for a walk or ride. 

Seriously though, this is my view:

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I also find that as I walk, I see really lovely things. Whether its a mum teaching her son to ride a bike, or a sweet moment for a couple overlooking the sunset, I always end up feeling warm and fuzzy inside. 

There are two different walking styles for me: long, lovely walks by myself where I just relax and let go, and shorter, hilarious walks with my friend. 

Although the walks I take with my friend are much shorter, they burn as much energy just through the laughter we share. I thoroughly recommend walking with a friend, especially if you don’t really like exercising. For me, it doesn’t even feel like I’m walking because I’m just having fun. In saying this, choose your walking buddy carefully. If you are a speedy gonzales, choose a speedy gonzales friend. If you are slower and more in the mood for a chat, choose a mirrored friend. The lovely girl I walk with is actually much fitter and faster than I am, but she saves her speedy gonzales moments for her own walks and indulges my turtle-like walking. For that, I am eternally grateful. 

My friend that I walk with personifies the other kind of healthy and fit. She is really good at sticking to healthy eating and is much fitter than I am. I have tried to keep up her in the past, with no sugar diets and the like, but I just do not have the will power. But what I have found through being her friend is that everyone does things their own way. Just because she is much better at sticking to the greens than I am, it doesn’t mean that I can’t slowly transform my eating habits, too. 

(SPECIAL SHOUT OUT TO THIS FRIEND: Thank you for putting up with my lies when we used to walk in the early mornings, when you would call when I was late and it would wake me up, but I’d say that I was on my way and almost there. You hardly ever made fun of the fact that I was too tired to change out of pyjamas when I finally showed up for the walk, and never commented on my bed hair. Thank you. Thank you kindly.)

On the other hand, if you ever see me walking alone, you will notice me. I really let myself get transfixed by the music in my ears and the sights around me and just the methodic act of walking, and I’ll end up kind of dancing and singing as I go without really realising it. It happens all the time. I also madly smile at lots of people, who all look back at me like I’m a lunatic. 

(SIDE NOTE: Do not be the person who gives ‘the look’. You know which look I’m talking about. It is the look that says, “I’m completely decked out in Lorna Jane gear and you are wearing pyjamas. Embarrassing.” It is the look that says, “How can you be so puffed already! My make up/hair is perfect but you look like road kill.” Don’t do it. I hate it.)

It is my walks alone with only music for company that see me kind of zone out and get lost in time and end up walking much further than I can really walk, and end up sprinting home because it gets dark and I get increasingly more frightened of being kidnapped. I’m clearly not the brightest bulb in the kitchen. Is that even the saying? Are there any other bulbs in the kitchen to compete with? Who knows…

If I exercised for anything more than fun and feeling good, I would be doing a pretty shitty job. Although I could stand to lost a love handle or two (preferably two because what is the purpose of only one love handle? They are a package deal…), I am taking my time.

At the beginning of this year I was feeling particularly down about myself (see: the rut post previously in my blog). I was on a mission to lose weight, and fast. Because I thought that that would magically make me happy. It was driven by my own insecurity as well as friends and family telling me I had put on weight or that I should watch what I eat. (DON’T DO THIS TO PEOPLE. IT’S SHITTY. IT IS NOT AN ACT OF CHARITY. IF THEIR PANTS AREN’T FITTING RIGHT, THEY WILL KNOW IT. THEY DON’T NEED YOU SPELLING IT OUT FOR THEM. ASSHOLE). Being someone without a really healthy relationship with food or exercise, I found myself eating nothing and then binging crazily, or going from no exercise to making myself run until I felt ill. 

Now, exercise isn’t about losing weight to me. If it happens, cool! But I’m pretty happy with my lumps, bumps and curves. I’m just taking it at my own pace and using it to feel good, rather than putting undue pressure on myself. It is the same with eating healthy now, on a side note. I still eat too much Nutella and lean more towards chips than vegetables, but I’m slowly making my diet healthier, without actually dieting.

This is not because dieting is necessarily bad for you, but because I now know what I am like, and what I need to do to implement change in the long term rather than just short periods of it.

Look, exercise may not be your thing. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, you may be super fit and healthy and look down on this post greatly. Don’t we all, don’t we all. But this is just my newly formed opinion on exercise from the girl smack-bang in the middle of the spectrum. 

Now, it’s not the idea of the end goal of weight loss that makes me happy, but the process of exercising that does. 

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