I went for a run tonight. I haven't exercised regularly since the beginning of the year.
Last year I had sort of a bug up my ass about exercising. Life was pretty crazy last year and I feel like I was sort of obsessed with this one idea when the world was going crazy. It felt like I needed something that was in my control and for me, that thing was working out, it was exercising. At the end of 2019, I was at the heaviest I've been and it was putting strain on the joints in my hips, knees and ankles which meant that I couldn't do physical things like take a hike with my boys without being in lots of pain. And that made me unhappy. When the pandemic hit last year I thought why not use this time to really work on what it was about my physical appearance that I wasn't fully satisfied with.
And it worked for awhile. Exercise was a comfort to me while everything else fell apart. I lost 50lbs, I was able to run faster and longer than I'd ever run before. I felt great, I had great energy, I looked my very best. I'd had it in my head that I needed to hit a target weight for my height, that I was aiming for a certain size that 'felt right' to me.
But then things started slowly going back to a version of pre-pandemic normality. I wasn't so strict with my eating habits, I didn't always get up in the morning in time for a run. I didn't need exercising or running in the way I needed it during lockdown. And then, as well, life stepped in. And I went through large periods of time where mentally and emotionally, I just didn't have it in me to be consistent with workouts. I'd regularly comfort eat. And while I lost 50lbs in 2020, in 2021, I've gained 30 of those pounds back on. And ...I'm okay with that.
I feel like 2020 me needed all that exercise and discipline. And what 2021 me needs is self-compassion and kindness. I'm now working on being okay with the body I'm in. It's taken me everywhere up to now and I'm grateful for it. What I've taken from this experience is that I enjoy running and working out generally. But that I don't need to work so hard for some version of me that is a certain size or weight that someone else says is what I need to be. The body I'm in is a story of what I've done, what I've been through. And I'm okay with that story and I'm okay with me.