I had a weird day. Sometime around 4am the adrenaline rush of the last 2 days wore off and I became aware that I had fallen asleep at my computer. I went to bed and, I thought, very carefully set my alarm to get up at 9am so I could make a 10 o’clock meeting. You know that feeling when you wake up and realize that you are way too rested for how much sleep you were supposed to get? That was me. I look at the clock, it’s 10:14. Alarm was set for 9pm. Damn.
On the other hand my day has been really awesome. You all kicked the fundraising campaign for Georgia kids in the ass. We raised over $12,000 on our first day and at this moment we’re only 356 individual donors away from unlocking the More of Me to Love Match grant of $5,000. In addition to a big billboard we’re going to be able to do small billboards in downtown Atlanta as well as backlit, plexiglass covered bus shelter posters that we’ve heard from people in Atlanta are the most hurtful. Plus we’ve got a major national news show and BBC news making inquiries already and we got a write up in SF Weekly. (If you want to get involved you can donate a Solidarity Dollar here!) We’re going to positively affect a lot of people, including a lot of kids, with this and I’m so proud to be a part of this community right now.
So I’m having this weird day and I kept thinking of reasons to postpone working out or not to work out. Now, there’s nothing wrong with skipping a workout, but I also had this feeling like I wanted to go. I had skipped yesterday to coordinate the campaign and so I really thought that my body might like to get out and move around today. So at 1am I got dressed and headed to the gym.
I did a light workout and my body did feel good, and I felt happy that I had gone. It started me thinking about the different ways to measure success of movement. When I was in a diet mentality I would do a workout designed to burn a specific number of calories. It didn’t matter how I felt, I did the entire routine every single day, sometimes more. Then once a week, always at the exact same time, I got on a scale to see if my exercise had “worked”. If the number was right, I could be happy for a minute but it was short-lived since the cycle started all over again for the next week. If the number wasn’t what I hoped for, then that meant a week of feeling bad, guilty, and spending the next week punishing myself.
Dieters are warned not to expect “results” too soon. I remember seeing a poster at the gym that said “If the gym was meant to make you feel better right away, it would be called a bar”. I guess it was supposed to be motivational, but I wonder – why do you have to feel bad about yourself to start out with? One of the best things about my Health at Every Size (r) practice is that I get to like myself whether or not I work out. I move because I feel better when I move but I like myself on the way into the gym, I workout based on my dance goals but also based on how my body feels on any given day. I celebrate my physical accomplishments, but I also celebrate the fact that I worked out. There’s no scale to consult, I get to claim victory immediately.
One of the things that I love about HAES is that you get to have success early and often and I think that success breeds success. I used to have the experience of not getting the number I wanted to the scale and thinking “Why do I even bother? If this is how it’s going to work I’m just going to quit!”. Now I move my body and I say “I moved my body, yay me!” and then I do my instant gratification butt-shaking happy dance.
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