Finding That Focus
I’ve always felt uncomfortable at the gym.
Though we’re required to have physical education as a course from elementary school through high school, I just never liked the idea of exercising and showing how strong I was or how high—or low—my stamina was in front of my peers. Then, as I got older, going to the gym was even worse because I was performing the same actions…but now it was in front of complete strangers. What made the gym even worse was the people who you knew were about this life.
Of course, I shouldn’t compare myself to them, but we ALL know how impossible that is. When I was doing 25 squats, the woman next to me was doing 100; if I made it through 10 push-ups, there was some guy that just finished a set of 50 on just one hand.
For a while, I couldn’t get past how uncomfortable or out of place I felt when I entered a gym. I mean, duh, of course I had to go there to exercise, but I sincerely did not want to. I was so uneasy in my own skin, that I held myself back. At a point, it didn’t even matter if the entire gym was empty, when I got on any machine and started, I lacked so much confidence in myself that I couldn’t even push myself to exercise. For a while, I thought it had been the people I was around making me feel uneasy, but I discovered it was my own mind.
For whatever reason, I just…assumed that exercising would be easy for me.
As I think back now, it always amazes me of how unrealistic I was when I first started really going to the gym. I mean, I WASN’T going to the gym, so how in the world would exercising just be a breeze for me? Because I didn’t physically see much wrong with my body, I thought that I’d easily be able to execute all the advanced and expert level exercises I was discovering online.
I’m a pretty decent weight, I’m sure that I could work out like the pros; this mindset was detrimental to my health journey.
I didn’t enter the gym with a beginner mindset—even though I was definitely a beginner—so that cost me a lot of my sanity. I felt bad that I couldn’t do what I thought I could and because I lacked the strength and stamina I assumed myself to already have, eventually I just gave up going to the gym. It was as if I was ashamed to not be at the level I thought I was and because I didn’t magically get to that level, I shunned myself—body, mind and spirit—for a while. I became even more unhealthy, even sadder and just let myself go; the gym was now my ultimate enemy. I had a gym membership that I was paying for every single month, hoping that one day my motivation would spontaneously come back.
I kept forgetting that I had to crawl, then walk, then run.
There was one huge factor that I kept forgetting that I had to conquer before I could get my journey to a healthy life started: my mind. When I looked in the mirror, I knew exactly what I wanted to work on, but I forgot that a mirror doesn’t show me my mind and my thoughts. Though I researched all these different exercises and recipes, I didn’t do any research on how to get my mind motivated to go to the gym in the first place.
I could physically make myself go to the gym, but, if I didn’t believe in myself, it would just be another wasted trip.
So, I got committed to myself—genuinely committed to myself. I took the time to exercise my brain muscles, started loving myself and gave myself a reality check. Deiona, baby girl, I know that you want to get your health in order. But, I have to be honest with you…you are unhealthy. You don’t think about yourself right; you don’t eat right; and, you don’t exercise right. You aren’t a pro! You will get there, but you have to remember that it’s not just gonna happen overnight. Keep pushing and you will get there!
You aren’t a pro! Though it seems harsh, this is something I tell myself every single time I exercise. It doesn’t matter if the woman next to me is doing 100 squats; she worked to get to that point. It doesn’t matter if the man next to me is doing push-ups on one hand; he worked to get to that point. Just like the pros, they didn’t magically wake up one day and end up being all fit and healthy…they worked to get there! Just because I’m not there right now, that doesn’t mean that the day wouldn’t come.
As I became much more loving and realistic of my self-worth, I saw progress truly happening. I watched myself go from being terrified of going to the gym, to now anxious to get my daily routine started. If you’ve ever found yourself with the mindset I had, PLEASE NEVER GIVE UP! Yes, it is going to take a lot of hard work and yes, it is going to take time, but when it comes and when you get to that moment that you have reached your goal and now you are naturally living a healthy life, you will feel so amazing.
Of course, my journey to health is still happening, but I am taking it one day at a time and I love it.