AM I EXERCISING FOR THE RIGHT REASONS?
I’ve never really put any type of real reason on why I worked out other than wanting to be “skinny” or to appease others. I never really thought of putting any form of an intention with exercising. While I was out on a run with Brandon one night, he asked me why did I exercise and what's my intention behind it. It took me awhile to think about it and I reflected the whole run with my painful past I had with my body image. This is a topic I do NOT like to talk about with anyone and very few people know about it. I had struggled with an eating disorder on and off from the age of 13 to 30. My relationship with food and especially fitness was not the healthiest.
I used to get teased with how I looked and was called fat at a very young age. I decided to lose weight by starving myself and exercising for hours wearing layers of clothing. I would even do this on hot days. When I got into high school, I had lost so much weight and it was shocking with how thin I got. I joined the track team and there was no way I could be on a sports team with starving myself, so I ate normal. Since I was an athlete, it was easy for me to be in shape and didn’t even think about my weight. I was more focused on my studies and running. After I graduated high school, I fell off the band wagon with running and started to eat a lot of junk food and stopped exercising completely. While I was in college I had gained even more weight and wanted to loose weight fast. Thats when I started to throw up all of my food. I thought I would only be doing this until I got to my ideal weight. Little did I know that I would be a bulimic.
I just couldn’t stop binging and purging. I would always tell myself this is the last time I will do this, but it never was. It was like I would hear this voice in my head constantly telling me I was fat. I thought no one would ever notice I had a problem and that I was hiding it well. Little did I know that my family, friends, and Brandon noticed I was disappearing to the bathroom right after I ate. What was worse is that people would hear me vomiting. I had every excuse in the book on why I was in the bathroom, but the lies were becoming so obvious. When Brandon finally confronted me about my eating disorder, I cried non stop. It was hard to talk about how I felt with my image and yet alone accept the fact that I was suffering with Bulimia. I thought this was something I can overcome on my own.
Over the years I would once in awhile go through phases of vomiting and not tell anyone. It was just getting too exhausting with keeping this secret from the people I cared about in my life. I told myself I am not going to do this anymore. Flash forward to after I got married with Brandon, I had gained what they call the love weight from being happily married. I had gained so much weight and I was the biggest I had ever been in my life. There was just no way I would vomit again, so I started to exercise a lot. Around that time Brandon was doing Spartan races and I thought what a great way to get skinny. I became obsessed with wanting to go the gym. I would be at the gym for two to three hours at a time. I began to meal prep and barely ate. I didn’t realize that is a form of my bad eating disorder ways. When Brandon wasn’t at the gym with me, I would wear layers of clothes just to burn more calories. I was strong and fit, who cared what I did as long as I looked amazing. After awhile of doing Spartan races, I wasn’t happy doing that. I felt empty inside doing that kind of sport, so I stopped. It was more of an ego thing for me rather than finding joy out of the sport.
As I hit my 30’s I realized that I needed to get professional help, this was not a way to live with worrying so much about my image or causing harm to my body. After I got help, I felt so much better, but the thoughts still lingered inside my head. It’s a constant battle with hearing that annoying little voice. Now with having a business that involves exercise, I felt like I had all this pressure with looking a certain way. As well as Brandon being this amazing athlete, I find myself constantly comparing myself to him. He’s fast, I’m not. He’s dedicated, I’m some what. I will be honest I have a hard time understanding how anyone can get up at 5:00 AM just to run! With all of my spiritual classes I’ve taken and books I’ve read, I am going against everything I have ever learned.
Going back to that run with Brandon, that’s when it dawned on me and I heard “you don’t love yourself.” I don’t love myself and my intentions behind exercising was not right. It always revolved around image and obsessing with wanting to be tiny. I was my own worst enemy and my soul is crying out that I needed to love myself unconditionally. I was only working out to please others as well. I thought well if I’m married to an athlete like Brandon, he will expect me to also be one like him. That is not the case, he didn’t fall in love with me because of being a running partner. As I continue to reflect from that run, I realized I just want to be healthy and find love for myself. I do not want to tell myself harmful and hurtful things. It’s time to really take care of me.
My mantra I tell myself is “I am creating a healthy lifestyle.” To me that means living a long time and having no health problems. I want to eat healthy foods and just enjoy my life. I also realized with everything I’ve gone through with my body image, comparing myself to others, and being intimidated by exercise that I want to help others find a happiness in their fitness journey. It’s about really loving ourselves and being kind to our bodies. No self judgment and saying mean things to yourself. When I changed this way of thinking, I feel like I’m in a way better headspace. Not only have I changed my intention with exercise, it’s how I connect to myself and to source energy. It’s a form of mediation for me and a way I relieve my stress. I know that I will get fit as I continue to make healthier and better choices, but honestly that doesn’t matter anymore. Life is not about being a size 0 for me. I’ve changed my perception on how I view things. As I step into this beautiful journey of healing my past and myself, I can’t help to smile because I can’t wait to experience all the amazing changes that come my way. The light in me sees the light in you. Namaste Adi