I've always enjoyed exercising and trying new physical activities. I haven't been good at them, but I've tried. It's my eating habits that have been all over the charts.
There was a time, around 7 years back, when I would hardly eat anything (maybe consume 500-600 calories a day) and would exercise desperately trying to shed weight.
That formula didn't last.
Then I started counted calories (but not watching what type of calories I was eating) and tried to burn off all those calories and get into a negative calorie for the day -- eat 1,000 calories, burn 1,200 calories. Then one day I fainted in the gym locker room.
I've starved myself - eating 2-3 apples a day - and not exercised at all. That, also, was not a smart move.
... and yes, I've binged and purged. In fact, I've hardly eaten (like just a plain salad) and then purged.
It was sick. I was sick.
For me, my main issue was with food. I just didn't know how to eat right. I wasn't getting the balance right, and worst of all, I was impatient. I wanted to just eat salads for a week and expect that my weight would drop and my body would finally be the shape I wanted it to be.
Of course that's not reality.
It took me a while to get to where I am now:
Phase 1: Exercising so that I could eat (Exercising regularly, but still eating crap and not caring about quantities)
Phase 2: Exercising regularly and limiting my portions, but still not watching what I ate
Phase 3: Exercising regularly, limiting my portions, and cleaning up my food a little
Phase 4: Exercising regularly, increasing my portions a little, and cleaning up my food a lot
Phase 5: (Where I think I am now) Exercising regularly, eating reasonable portions, and eating clean a LOT more
The one thing that has been consistent is my exercises, but not losing weight goes to show that without eating properly, all my hours at the gym didn't make a difference at all.
People are different. D exercises 3 times a week for an hour, he has cleaned up his eating a lot, but he'll still have a small dessert after dinner each night; he'll eat some bread and some cheese; he'll enjoy some pasta once in a while -- and he continues to lose weight consistently each week.
That doesn't work for me. It's a fact. No need to complain. I just need to accept it and move on.
What's more is that I know I need a combination of exercise & eating healthy. There are some people I know who can cut calories and drop weight without ever stepping into the gym. That does not work for me.
As I said, people are different.
I think some concern has come up because of me being cranky when I don't get to go to the gym and because I'm working out even though I'm not feeling well at all.
Yes, this could be the signs of an addict, but I'm not addicted, and here's where the difference lies.
- If I'm tired, I will rest.
- If I'm really ill, I won't workout.
- I don't workout with the same intensity at every single workout. Sometimes my workout will be a 1/2 hour walk, whereas other times it will be 20 minutes of HIIT, or 2 hours of cardio and weight lifting ... it depends on how much time I have and how much energy I have.
- I don't exercise solely to burn calories; I exercise because it makes me feel healthy, strong, and confident
- I don't exercise to balance out my food; I exercise and I eat. I don't compare the calories between the two. If I'm doing both right, then I am being healthy (and I think the weight loss will occur naturally)
There are a few things that may not be 'normal' for everyone, but these things have become part of who I am right now:
- Not getting to the gym does make me cranky - not because I have an irrational fear that I will gain weight because I missed 1 or 2 workouts. I get cranky because I didn't get my way ;) If I wanted to go to the gym but something came up, that would irritate me - but I won't skip something important because I had to go to the gym. By exercising regularly, I know that missing a few workouts won't be the end of the world.
- I do schedule a lot of things, particularly social events, around my gym schedule. First I have my work schedule, then I have my gym schedule. Then comes everything else. I don't socialize as much as I did before, but I still see my friends. I do arrange our meetings around my workouts, not because they're not important, but because right now, working out and reaching a healthy weight is a top priority. I have to make certain sacrifices.
- Sometimes exercising when I'm not feeling well -- I think I've improved in this area. When I'm tired, I'll modify my workout. If I'm sick (like my bronchitis in January), I won't workout (I took 12 days off!!). If I'm injured, I won't workout - or at least I won't stress the injured part of my body. However, there are times, like now when I have the sniffles, when I'll push through. I don't feel like I'm unwell enough to not workout. I'm not feeling 100% but I can still workout ... and since I can do it, why miss it?
My exercise routine right now is quite packed. I try to hit the gym in the mornings at least 3 times a week, and I try to get in an evening workout 5-6 times a week. While this looks like I'm working out 9 times a week, I should make it clear that I do different types of workouts at different times. I workout the way I do because this is what suits my schedule and my interests at the moment. I want to do MMA training - those classes are in the evening. I want to do weight training, but if I'm doing MMA in the evening, then I have to hit the gym in the mornings. You get the picture.
The bottom line:
I love to exercise. Exercising makes me happy, healthy, and confident -- how can you not do something that has such positive results?