Why I’m not hating the gym (or myself)

Miles walked today: 1.75
Total training miles to date: 3.55
Days left til I leave: 74

For the first time in my life, I’m going to the gym without intending to lose weight. Could I afford to lose it? Yes. I’m 34% fat, according to the tests from Monday’s training session. I could afford to lose about 40 pounds, really.

But I don’t give a whit.

When the trainer asked me what my goals were, I told her I want to have endurance and balance and feel confident walking long distances. I want to be able to hoist on my pack easily. Most of all, I told her that I wanted to feel strong. Just saying that brings tears to my eyes.

For the first time in my life, I’m focusing on how I want to feel in my body — I’m not thinking about what it looks like to others or that nasty, self-judging voice in my head.

When the trainer warned me that I might actually gain weight by focusing on strength training, I didn’t care! All these years, that fact has daunted and discouraged me. It just occurred to me that all my life, I’ve defined progress (and my worth) by the numbers on the scale.

And it made me wonder — what the use of a low number, a low weight if my quality of life sucks? I could be thinner but as a result of being sickly or atrophied or (insert worst case scenario here). Maybe it’s because I’m getting wiser, but I just realized that the number doesn’t matter as long as I feel good in my body.

Because of this, I’m reveling in the changes I can already feel happening with 2 days of exercise this week. My arm muscles feel all shaky when I’m done with the weight machines. I’m energized after a walk on the treadmill. I’m reveling in the sunrise I see from indoors as I walk. It’s like, holy cow! I’m really enjoying this!

And the thing I love about this process so far is what I’m always telling my organizing clients: I’m enjoying the journey and celebrating the small signs of progress.

Instead of hoping for a number on the bathroom scale that will determine my worth, my direction, my focus, my goal is to feel awesome! Confident! Strong!

And I’m getting there!

8 thoughts on “Why I’m not hating the gym (or myself)

  1. Jen, I totally Looovvve this post. Your dedication and enthusiasm comes through. Enthusiasm in particular, especially when we go with the root meaning of the word: “inspired by a God” I choose to see the God/dess in you and see you are inspired by yourself.
    Woohoo! Take this enthusiasm over your whole journey – now and abroad. You rock! ā¤

    1. Thank you so much, Mary Ellen! I had forgotten the root of that word and love how it applies to my journey. I see the Divine in you too — in your love for life and your quick wit! Huge hugs to you!

  2. SO proud of you! You are focusing on what matters. Remember, a cubic inch of muscle weighs more than a cubic inch of fat. As you get stronger, your body composition will change. It is much more satisfying to see changes in the mirror than on the scale, and how you feel will be even more satisfying.

    1. Thanks, Gayle! I’m especialy looking forward to a full-length mirror when I return from Spain! šŸ™‚

  3. Gain weight, lose weight… I LOVE it that you are focusing on how you FEEL in your body and how you WANT to FEEL in your body! That is energy that can carry you far in itself!

    Your post reminds me of how grateful I am that I grew up with gymnastics and swimming and dancing that helped me focus more on what I wanted my body to DO and FEEL, rather than how I looked. To me, the radiance of a strong, healthy body is gorgeous in itself!

  4. Jen- yes! I’ve had no focus on losing weight when I joined my gym eight months ago, and I’m amazed at how strong I feel. This spiritual-physical journey is going to be such an amazing transformation for you at all levels. There’s a reason pilgrimages are such a physical event. šŸ™‚

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