Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dear Fitness Guru, or Life Guru

Dear Fitness Guru, or Life Guru:

Today I am confused. Not perplexed, just confused. I am getting fat. Probably the fattest I have been in a while. I am inching up from 145 to 150??? Scary!! I need help. I have not weighed this much since probably 2005, and then it was short term. I think I will list the causes, and the solution that I know would help, but is not possible. I need a new solution. I need you, fitness guru, to help.

So last summer I completed my ultimate fitness goal, the goal that I seemed to be working towards my whole life. I finished an ultra long triathlon. I started working out my senior year of high school and conquered an eating disorder within the nest two years. I gained, then lost, and over time worked up to a complete fitness level of great abilities. That all culminated in last summer's triathlon. So….the question is: Now what??? What the hell do I do? You could say I am burned out possibly. I love personal fitness, I still admire magazines physiques and workouts and healthy recipes, but the problem is that I can't do them anymore! I just don't have the desire. I have had this desire ever since I can remember so this is the first time where I don't look forward to exercising. I don't enjoy the process. I barely enjoy the after glow. It's like eating spinach suddenly. Actually it's more like I suddenly am disgusted with something that I have loved my whole life.

When the triathlon was over, I finally relaxed. I truly think I tested my body to its extreme, exercising 4 hours a day in summer heat. I went back to work in August and just stopped craving exercise.

Now let me pause here. I think we can combine two things so far: Completion of the ultimate fitness goal combined with a return to the 9 – 5 boring sluggish work routine. My second year of teaching was calm. It was peaceful. It was Boring. I dread the daily grind. The amount of boredom that it adds to my existence makes me feel exhausted. Teaching is easy, I am comfortable doing it, but at 3 pm I am exhausted. I don't feel like I am thriving, like I am living life to the fullest. I want to lay down and sleep after a very large meal. So I do.

Okay, the 3rd factor to my fatness: I have finally found happiness and love and what's more significant, a CALM and steady relationship. The previous year with Darrin was like walking on burning hot coals, or rowing a boat through a tsunami. I suffered mentally, physically, and emotionally, and it kept me thin. After the summer and the triathlon, our relationship is now thriving. We are happy, we love each other, we have mutual goals and encourage each other. Our wave pool has turned into a pond with barely a single ripple and we sit in our boat of calmness and admire the sunset. Its beautiful. And its making me fat.

What can I say? Marital bliss does that to people often right? I am no longer worried about being the hottest, aka thinnest, girl in the room. I can eat dinner without the sadness of eating alone – and let me say that was getting really depressing. I don't have to get in my car and go to a bar or friends house to find company. I don't have roaring silence when I am home alone. I like being home and don't need to leave anymore. I have a stack of books to read, a full pantry of things to cook, and Darrin next to me every night.

So does happiness make me fat? Maybe. I know that sadness makes me thin, as well as stress anxiety or depression. I do think along with happiness comes a dose of boredom, and does that make sense to everyone? Happiness and calmness vs. happiness and excitement might be two very different things.

So here is what excites me: traveling around the world. I have not found a single thing that matches the excitement of traveling. I have also not successfully turned my relationship with Darrin into a traveling existence . . because that's completely unrealistic. We have to work, pay our bills, save for retirement, paint the house, buy a car, pay off debt debt debt. Ughhh debt.

I also know that when I am single I am usually fit. I eat less, I exercise often. I have more access to the gym or pool and I am more mobile. I socialize and bounce ideas off the people around me. I learn from others. I have not found a way to do that as much when I am in a full time relationship. Or have I?

So how can I be happy, maintain a healthy relationship, and renew my fitness routine? All while bearing the burden of taxes, debt, insurance, medical bills, the public school system, and a fixer upper home in the country with limited access to the outside world. How?

How can I find that energized, desperate, motivated, traveling, single gal within, without being single? I want the best of both worlds dammit. Not the dating life at all, not the sleeping and eating alone life, just the motivation to do things. I don't want to come home tired and eat then sleep. I don't want to feel bored and trapped in my career. I want more things than I currently have, and I am furiously trying to figure out how to attain all that I want without having to compromise what's made me happy. SO, dear fitness guru – what's your answer? Eat spinach and gag? Sit on the couch and be grateful for my warm bed? Ride out this 150 pound scale reading by typing blogs to vent? Pray that I can fit into my jeans tomorrow? Please don't tell me to sign up for an aerobics class, I hope you can tell that's not my style even when I was my fittest. Of all this talk about being alone, exercise I do prefer solo. It helps my mind to shrink up inside my brain while swimming or running.

Maybe I will have to just ride out this weight gain as I learn to deal with the changes in my life, just like I did when I was 19 years old. I am getting older, I have obligations, and I am tempted to be sedentary. At the same time, my goals have simply changed from fitness to more career oriented aspirations like being an artist, professor, homeowner. But while I figure things out, I hope I don't balloon up anymore than I already have. Just relax, I tell myself. Take a deep breath and relax. My goals will unfold naturally and hopefully my self image will not suffer too much in the meantime.

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