I was a big fan of keeping fit and healthy and swore by it, I thought that I was fit and healthy. My routine would either be a jog in the morning, then go to work and then another session or two in the evening, six days a week. Come the weekend, I’d undo it all by going to the pub, smoking, drinking and having late nights. I would even go for a jog, the next day with a hangover.
It was only when my body kept presenting with symptoms after symptoms, that I had no choice but to listen to it. Whist in the UK, I frequently experienced coughs, colds, chest, ear infections and this continued when I migrated to Australia. But what accompanied this, was the continuous malaise and slow recovery, following an illness - it took much longer to become well again. I would force my body to go for a morning jog and I would be hit with the wall of tiredness and I needed to sleep for longer in the afternoon to recover from this.
One day I had no choice but to listen; my body had come to a standstill and it wasn’t going to let me go for any more jogs, walks with the intention of losing weight, it was not having any of it.
I had no choice but to stop and look at the choices I was making or had made that were impacting my body. Yes, my body was slim, muscular and looked gorgeous on the exterior, but how was it feeling in the inside? I had no choice but to review my perception of health and wellness and view it from another lens.
So, what did I do? I stopped jogging, I stopped going to the gym, I stopped all forms of exercise I had used, thinking it would stop the weight from piling on, I just allowed me to be with me.
At first it was hard, why? I hadn’t realised I had been addicted to the adrenaline. I also realised (which I was well aware of really), I had used exercise, so I could eat more food, stop getting fat or putting on weight, as a form of vanity; as a form to vent the emotional turmoil pot I was in. The list was endless, and I was restless.
I attempted countless ways of getting back to ‘keeping fit’ but my body wasn’t budging. I’d be hit with something, a cold or an ache here and there.
It has been 8 years since I exercised, and I returned to the gym recently with a different perspective. The thought of pushing my body actually made me apprehensive, the thought of getting breathless scared me. And to think once upon a time, I had no issues with the huffing, puffing, sweating of exercising.
So, what does my fit and healthy look like now a days? Well it’s a whole new perspective now. I have learnt to look at my body, and love it no matter what size, shape, or dings it has. I have learnt to listen to my body, it speaks, and I respond. I have learnt to feel how my body is, on a day to day basis.
My fit and healthy has now been replaced with a whole new perspective - self-care.
By Shushila Boswell