K: Arguably, one of the hardest parts of starting a fitness journey is just starting it! In today’s blog post, the two of us will be taking you through our (previously) bumpy relationship with fitness, and talking about how we started our most recent fitness journey, one that we’re going to be on for life~
P: I remember when I started “working out” I had no idea about anything. I associated working out with ‘losing weight. And you may too at the beginning of our series. That’s okay, we all start out somewhere.
The Dreaded Weighing Scale Episode
P: I acutely remember when I was introduced to the concept of the weighing scale. I was in 8th standard, I had Physical Education class, where we had to prove our fitness by running 5 rounds around the playground. Other days they would weigh us. That was the only indicator of our fitness. I didn’t enjoy running, One, because I never ran and two, I have low blood pressure. I would feel pretty uncomfortable.
K: It was definitely the same for me too. The weighing scale always meant so much to me, and every non-scale victory ( such as happiness, consistency) I might’ve achieved during my earlier experiments with fitness were always eclipsed by the number it showed me. I think people tend to forget how difficult puberty is. It’s a period of our lives we all look back on and laugh about, but actually going through it can be nothing short of hellish at times. I’d always been a ‘chubby’ kid, but it was around this time that I became acutely aware of my body and how it looked. It was also around this time that I started comparing my body to the bodies that I saw around me, be it my peers or what I viewed in the media.
NOT KNOWING YOUR ‘WHY’
P: My parents had an opportunity to take my brother and me abroad. So I decided I wanted to look good. As shallow as it may seem, that motivated me. I had a reason. I started swimming, going to the gym, however, embarrassed I would get going to the gym, I continued going because I had my reason right in front of me. Then I went abroad after having lost weight & was happy. After coming back home, I never went back to the gym since I lost my whole purpose & it wasn’t sustainable.
K: have a similar story. I thought I’d finally struck gold when my family and I moved to the USA for a year. I was in a great headspace mentally, and I had various resources at my disposal. My parents had bought an indoor exercise bike, the fridge was stocked with healthy and interesting food, and we lived in a beautiful neighbourhood with lush lawns and a clearly marked walking/running trail.
Feeling empowered with the information I read online on how to bring about weight loss, I began to track my calories using an app. In hindsight, this is one of the worst things I could’ve done for my mental health at the time. My days slowly began to revolve around a number assigned to me by a random algorithm that knew nothing about me. When I went over the number, I would feel guilty. When I was under the number, I would feel elated. This continued for a few months (combined with exercise) and I began to see rapid results.
However, as you can probably tell, this weight loss was far from sustainable. I moved back to India soon––it was an extremely difficult time for my family, and I turned to food to heal my anxiety.
THE PANDEMIC STARTED OUR FITNESS JOURNEY
P: August was a start to something beautiful, something I knew would last for a long time. It was peak covid when I returned home, after spending a year in the mountains. I was tired, anxious & depressed. I was overweight from the food shortages in the mountain, where I ate potatoes and rice for 3 meals straight for 4 months.
This one instance is etched in my mind. I remember I took my darling dog Maggie out for a walk one evening. I think I saw a snake, and my dog jumped in front of me to save me. And I remember telling myself, that it wasn’t worth it. Then I reflected on that thought and said something drastically needs to change.
K: It was only when the pandemic hit and I was confronted with my own health issues that I realised that I needed to make a change, not just for my physical health but also for my mental health.
I’ve been on both extremes, from not caring about what I ate at all to caring too much that it brought me dangerously close to an eating disorder. It’s taken me a really long time to unlearn all of the toxic BS that has been fed to us practically since birth, but I’m glad to say that now I finally see food for what it is––a powerful source of fuel that helps our body survive and thrive.
To be continued.