Life lessons

A Weighty Issue

It’s been almost two months since I returned home from a month-long holiday in Europe. During that time, I indulged in Croatian, Albanian, Macedonian and Greek food as well as trying out a whole bunch of craft beers almost every day. It was a holiday after all. And honestly, there were no regrets! There was minimal exercise compared to what I was used to but there were the occasional hikes and a lot of walking. That said, when I wore my jeans for the flight back home, I noticed it was a bit more snug around the waist and thighs.

On returning home, I had grand plans to restart my usual strength-training. Except, after the first couple of days, it became difficult to wake up early in the morning. Then Daylight Savings hit. Followed by nasty sinus and health issues. I continued to go occasionally – two times a week maybe – but I didn’t have the same enthusiasm. And definitely not the same energy. I’d gone from someone working out five times a week and building my strength to someone going through the motions.

The worst though was I started to hate my body again. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw all the places I’d gained weight. My stomach was no longer flat. My hips were just that little bit wider, my thighs, heavier. To add insult to injury, my belly button ring got infected because of the weight I’d gained – it kept rubbing against fabric.

Surely that was enough motivation to get back strongly at the gym.

But my mind didn’t work that way. Instead, it became harder to motivate myself to get there. I made excuses. I was too tired, too exhausted, too sick, too lazy. I was going once, maybe twice a week. I had an entire Saturday to do nothing but potter around the house and still, I didn’t go to the gym. I couldn’t even seem to muster a walk or a run. I cringed as I stepped on the scales, self-loathing reaching a peak level.

I finally confided in a friend about my struggles with exercising and my body. While talking to her, she helped me realise something. It was something I have known before but had conveniently forgotten in the past two months. She reminded me how my love for exercise in the past few years was not about the scales. It was about getting stronger and fitter. It was about feeling healthy mentally and physically. And sure, it meant I stayed at a stable weight but I also got to enjoy exercise and food. It meant I didn’t fall down the rabbit hole of self-loathing.

My goals had changed. I was now intent on losing those few kilos I’d gained as opposed to just rebuilding my strength. I wanted the scales to show me the results instead of seeing the results as I lifted heavier every couple of weeks. It was no wonder the gym wasn’t motivating me.

In the past two weeks, I have cut myself some slack. I am in the process of a big relocation anyway. But I have been trying to exercise when I can. Some days, it’s yoga, other days it’s weight-training {I still haven’t braved a run just yet}. I haven’t weighed myself either because I’m eating mainly takeaway food given that most of my kitchen appliances are packed away. But I’m trying to be consistent. Hopefully, in a few months’ time, I will get stronger again and feel like my old self. No matter what the scales say.

Featured image: Pexels

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  • Richa .
    21 November 2019 at 12:32 am

    Hey, an actual post! Yay! You touched a nerve in this one. Last year I gained 15kg, courtesy of various medication, especially anti-depressant. I have been trying to lose weight ever since. I need to keep reminding myself that while weight loss is important (I fall under WHO obese category now), the physical strength and mental health are the primary goals. Weight-loss is a slow, long-term plan which may last a year or two before it switches to the maintenance phase.

    • Sanch @ Sanch Writes
      23 November 2019 at 9:18 am

      Haha…welcome back here! I have really pulled back on the personal stuff apart from maybe the weekly gratitude posts. It’s good to see you here. It looks like this post hit a nerve with a lot of people – I think as women we do have body image issues unfortunately and weight gain due to health reasons or otherwise can be a bit of a shock to the system. I know historically, getting to a healthy weight took time but then it was maintained by consistency. I hope you are doing ok – your photos on Insta continue to amaze me. P.S. we should chat more

  • Parul Thakur
    21 November 2019 at 12:35 am

    This friend of yours is your true advocate. She is right – I have known you as someone who loves to keep fit and strong. After you move, keep at your workout. Not for body image but for the high it gives you to lift weights, run along the coast and stretch during yoga.
    I also find it hard to get back after a vacation but like you said, step by step makes all the difference.
    Parul Thakur recently posted…A house like thatMy Profile

    • Melony Boseley
      21 November 2019 at 7:08 am

      Thank you for this post! I have been struggling for the past year now, at least, with finding the right motivations! When the move is over and you can settle back into a routine, I am sure you’ll be deadlifting 100kg in no time. ?

  • Margaret
    21 November 2019 at 2:36 pm

    I am telling myself the same thing. It’s about function, not form. I can’t say I enjoy most of my exercise, but friends and podcasts for company help me. Your trip sounded wonderful.
    Margaret recently posted…November ImposterMy Profile

  • asha
    21 November 2019 at 5:48 pm

    I have some disordered thinking about food, exercise and weight, so this was hard to read for me. There are a bunch of conflicting thoughts and emotions. I am glad you’re finding less pejorative ways to think of your body and healthy, enjoyable ways to include exercise.
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  • Obsessivemom
    21 November 2019 at 9:02 pm

    I am aware of some little bit of your struggle and all I can say is I’ve been there. The weighing scale is a stubborn thing. It is smarter to focus on how exercise makes one feel, rather than on the results. I know that’s easier said than done. I’m glad you’re on the right track and cheers to your friend who put you there. Good luck Sanch, I know you’ll be back soon.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Throwback TimesMy Profile

  • Shilpa Gupte
    21 November 2019 at 9:09 pm

    I haven’t been doing my yoga since a couple of weeks and it feels horrible. I find solace in my evening walks that I take relisiously. I still feel so lazy! And, I hate it, too. On days I decide to get back to my earlier active self, something or other comes up and my plans go for a toss.
    I can so hear you, Sanch. But, go for it…for the sake of a fitter you, a stronger you.
    SO good to visit you after so long, and happy to read about your Europe tour. Glad you had fun! <3
    Shilpa Gupte recently posted…Chemical-free shampoo.My Profile

  • Rachna
    21 November 2019 at 10:15 pm

    I totally get you, Sanch. Sometimes it is just so difficult to bounce back to workout routines. I had gained about 4 Kgs. in the last year after my knee injury
    It was frustrating. I hated that my clothes didn’t for well. And the worst part I couldn’t workout as my knee was in bad shape. I felt so depressed. After so much physiotherapy I finally became fine in the knee department
    I focussed on healing and getting well and my lower body got so strong in the process. Now I am so grateful to be healthy. I can’t tell you how much we take that for granted. I could shed those 3 kilos and am back to my strength training too. You will too. But sometimes life circumstances are such that we just can’t do what we wish to do. And that’s fine. Be empathetic to your body. Trust me she will hold you in good stead. Take care.

  • H
    21 November 2019 at 10:43 pm

    I hear you! Holidays make such a dent in routines. After baby #2, I haven’t found the motivation to exercise at all, no matter how hard I try. But then I bought a new yoga mat last week and guess what, I did a few poses yesterday and felt great. I’m hoping it will stick. Your trip sounds wonderful!
    H recently posted…The Big Bang at iBrow StudioMy Profile

  • Damyanti
    22 November 2019 at 12:51 am

    Listen to your mind and body, rather than the scales.

  • Jennifer Mierisch
    22 November 2019 at 1:48 am

    I sympathize with all of this. I’ve definitely stood on the scale and felt dejected as I read that number. I don’t feel that my self-worth depends entirely on my appearance, but when it comes to maintaining a good weight, my own vanity is somewhat motivating, not gonna lie. If you’re in the middle of a big move, by all means cut yourself some slack. You got enough stuff to worry about! The scale can go take a flying leap.
    Jennifer Mierisch recently posted…We Have WaysMy Profile

  • Rajlakshmi
    22 November 2019 at 4:40 pm

    oh the weighing scale is a nightmare. I had to stop myself from jumping on it after pregnancy because the numbers would start playing with my thoughts. Bless your friend for the wise words. You are a girl that hustles hard. You will lose that weight in no time. Although I don’t see any gain in your pictures. You look as fit as ever. Good luck with the move. Take care as it is quite a stressful thing to do.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Batemans Bay, Australia | Photo BlogMy Profile

  • Soumya
    22 November 2019 at 8:32 pm

    More power to you, Sanch! Set goals for what is important to you and just focus on it.

    I’ve stopped working out for about two weeks now. Sleep issues are back and I’m just trying to get past each day without dying of exhaustion. Thankfully, I haven’t gained any weight yet. I’ll get back to working out from next week. Just to stay fit, nothing else.

    Good luck with the move. You might lose all that extra weight just because of that 🙂
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  • Modern Gypsy
    22 November 2019 at 9:30 pm

    Your friend is right! Fitness should be about what you gain – strength, stamina, vitality – not what you loose or don’t loose. Hope you regain your old motivation and enthusiasm for hitting the gym and running. And all the best with your big move!
    Modern Gypsy recently posted…On my art table: Angel’s Wings + dreaming an impossible dreamMy Profile