Trust the Process of Exercise

I know I know. Where have I been for the last three months? Well, the answer is simple. I’ve been focusing on other things, and most importantly I have been concentrating on making myself better. Life has been tough and I just haven’t been able to sit down and write. For some reason I just haven’t had the motivation. This is ironic because writing on my blog is quite therapeutic for me, and it probably would have helped me through my funk. I decided instead to take some time off of work to get myself into a routine. For me, this idea was meant to do one thing: give me stability and make my decisions easy.
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I know that exercise is the most important anti-depressant there is, but for me exercising has always been about convenience. Does working out fit into my other things I have to do today? Sometimes it did. But the problem was that there were too many days where I decided it wasn’t convenient enough. So I skipped the gym. But I had finally had enough of that crap. By taking work out of the equation, my decision would become easy. I simply didn’t have enough things to do during the day to make skipping the gym a viable option. Because of my wide open day, the gym became something that was part of my routine. After a few weeks, I didn’t even have to ask myself if I was going the next day. I just was. And that is exactly where I want to be.
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So it’s been a month since the start of my “vacation”, and I can honestly say I have never been in this state of mind before. I have felt physically better, and I have been leaner. But I have never been in this place mentally before. I’m back at work now, which actually worried me. I was scared I would fall out of the routine again. I felt like a contestant in The Biggest Loser, terrified of what would happen to me once I got back home.
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I was sheltered… insulated from the realities of life. For three glorious weeks I was able to worry about myself, and no one else (and maybe a couple other important people – you know who you are). It’s actually strange how much the absence of work can take weight off your shoulders. I know I have talked about the stresses that work brings, but I honestly believe that almost any job has the ability to cause stress in your life if you let it. So taking work out of the picture can do wonders for your life. Yeah yeah, I know. If you won the lottery you would quit your job and life would be amazing. But the reality is that for about 99% of us, having a job is just how it has to be. And even if you happen to somehow luck out and become your own boss, I guarantee the stress will remain. So instead of trying to run away from stress (from work and life in general), why not take action in other ways to fight it? So when I realised I only had enough vacation for 2 weeks, I knew my stress-free life would be over before I knew it. So I used that time to build up the foundation to keep finding other ways to fight stress. And for me, that meant developing the habit of working out again. And that brings me to the main topic of this post.

During the last month, I’ve managed to work out at least 5 days a week every single week. Awesome right? As I mentioned before, I have never felt so focused and determined, and just mentally ready to attack life. But then a problem emerged. I wasn’t losing weight. I was constantly beating personal records in the gym, I was recovering faster from exhaustion, and my workouts didn’t kill me for the rest of the day any more. But my problem is that I am a visual results kind of guy. I weigh myself almost every time I enter the locker room, and after a month of working out more than I ever have been, I’ve only lost 3 pounds. I am discouraged. How can I not be? The scale has always been my sign of progress, and this time that bastard is betraying me. Am I working out too much? Not enough? Am I gaining more muscle than the fat I am losing? In a desperate attempt to find some sort of concrete evidence that I have made progress, today I found myself grabbing the fat on my belly while I was on the treadmill, thinking “is my stomach smaller than it was before”?
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Despite knowing there is so much more to fitness than the scale, I still focus on it and allow it to have this power over me. So after realising that this was stupid, I knew I had to turn my brain around if I had any hope of keeping my momentum going. What did I do? I started thinking about The Biggest Loser. Laugh at me if you must, but if that show doesn’t inspire you then you have a cold, black heart. I know that fitness and weight loss is like 90% mental, and that is why I love the show. The trainers address the contestants’ mental issues all the time, trying to repair broken hearts and figure out the true reason why they became over weight. And one common theme throughout the show has always been to “trust the process”. There are going to be setbacks. You will have shitty days and life will constantly test you to see if you really want to succeed. Someone special showed me a quote the other day that summed up what I am trying to say. It goes something like this: “God doesn’t put up walls to keep you out. He puts them up to test you… to see if you are willing to overcome obstacles to achieve your goal”.

What I am saying is that if you trust the process… if you stay the course and push through setbacks, you will eventually find your way to that place where you have always wanted to be. Trust yourself and keep going. That is what I am going to do.
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Craig

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