How Loving Myself Changed My Workouts

By Kirsten Kenward

January 8, 2018

VibrantMe Coaching

Posted In: Fitness, General Health, General Wellness, Nutrition, Spiritual Wellness, Surrey, What's Up Canada, White Rock, Yoga

Not going to lie…some days (not all, but definitely some) walking into the gym feels like a playground of possible time bombs.
For someone who has struggled with an Eating Disorder, and the major body dysmorphia that follows, comparison can be the name of the game.
On days when I’m feeling especially pulled to old habits, the energy in fitness centres can overwhelm and become a place of competition rather than empowerment.

The gym is somewhere I have come to find myself, love myself, and show this love by moving my body, connecting to myself. However, this wasn’t always the case.

As much as I want to deny it, the gym used to be a place for me to demonstrate self hatred and play out latent guilt and shame patterns through hours on the elliptical and ‘quick’ fat burning circuits.
Sometimes I will fall upon old workout plans I wrote for myself and am amazed at how little credit I gave my fitness level….and more so, how hard I ‘pushed’ myself.
In reality, I was punishing myself.

This cycle bled into and from every aspect of my life. All or nothing mentality, as my dad says, is a blessing and curse; but for me it eventually manifested as all bad.
It has taken me years of self work to quell the all or nothing tendencies that allowed me to excel on the outside.
If I had a penny for every time I heard “you have such an amazing work ethic! I admire your drive”, which is all rosy to hear until I remembered that this ‘drive’ was also driving my complete lack of internal self respect and self love.

To be clear, I love the gym. Hell I wouldn’t work in one if I didn’t!

It excites me to see what my body can do. I strive for the feeling of total empowerment that comes from LOVING movement.
But that’s just it, I have to stay very aware of this, my WHY, at all times in the gym. There will probably always be a part of me that says ‘push harder you weak bitch’ (yes I know it’s not a pretty side to talk about).
I have learned to listen to her, treat her with compassion for trying to motivate me in the only way she knows how, and then continue to move in a healthy manner for my body.

It’s a constant cycle, but it’s one that has made me who I am. And I am grateful for that. Without struggle, there is no strength. And so I’ve come to learn that there is a middle ground between all and nothing.
One that I can thrive in and nurture myself and others from.

On the days when the gym feels like a minefield, I take a step back.
I ask myself why I’m moving my body and remember that it is for ME; to be my best self and to be strong, both physically and mentally, in all areas of my life.
And that this looks different for me, than for ANYONE else in the space.

I no longer push myself to my absolute limit in every workout because I no longer agree that doing that equates to strength.
For me, it actually equates to self-harm.
We each have to learn these things about ourselves. At our own speeds.

Be kind to yourself, be aware that your movement is coming from a place of kindness and self compassion, and excitement! And always know you are not alone in this.