Denial and terror, what a joyful combination… but they’re things I’ve been dealing with for a very long time. Oh my goodness, what’s been going on? You might ask. Has something really bad and difficult happened? Are you trying to do something no-one else has done? Is it something completely revolutionary and new?
Well actually, no.
For the past 32 years I’ve been completely petrified of any form of exercise.
As a teenager I passionately resisted physical exercise as much as possible. I was always the girl in PE with a note from home, opting to do extra maths lessons (which I also hated!) instead. But ANYTHING would be better than having to run around a field or, horror of horror, do team sports. I’m not sure if it stemmed from being badly bullied or if I was just lazy, but ever since then I’ve had a complete mental block on breaking out in a sweat.
Over the past few years I’ve been in pretty bad shape. I was drinking way too regularly and for the most part, hardly leaving the house unless it was to go to the supermarket (working from home is awesome, but it does have a nasty habit of turning you into a hermit). I started to think that maybe, maaaaybe, I should start doing some exercise… but I was scared of EVERYTHING to do with it.
I was scared of trying, scared of failing, scared that people would judge me, scared that other people in the gym would think I looked stupid, scared that I wouldn’t know how to use the equipment, worried I’d look fat in workout gear… The list just went on and on.
People have been telling me for YEARS that exercise will make me feel better, but I kept pushing it away. “Yeah maybe it works for you”, I’d think, “But getting all sweaty and out of breath sounds like hell to me”. It was easier to self-medicate my moods with things like alcohol and shopping…
But then one day back in March something strange happened. I was feeling sluggish, depressed, and like I’d just spent too much time in front of my computer. Gareth was in the next room getting ready to go to the gym so I called through (I was too embarrassed to even look him in the eye) and I tentatively said, “Erm, hey, I think I might want to come to the gym with you today.” That’s the even sillier thing, Gareth has been a dedicated gym bunny for 5+ years. He loves it and he looks GREAT, yet still I was so anxious about even telling him I wanted to give it a try.