Back in my unhealthiest days, when I spent far more time thinking about getting back in shape than I did actually putting in effort, I remember a particular moment of despondency that set in when I realized how interconnected healthy habits are. How beginning to exercise is the first toe-dip into a massive ripple effect. Start to exercise, and you’re happier, spend less time bored, have a faster metabolism, have a decreased appetite, and tend to eat healthier. Don’t exercise, and you fall prey to all the opposites: depression, overeating, boredom, and a slower metabolism.
In other words, all things conspire against the person who does not exercise. She does not stand a chance against the demons of appetite, or dietary preferences, or biology. At the time, this realization sent me into the darkest depths of despair. All future health and hotness depended on exercise! And the whole point was to avoid precisely that miserable act!
Oh, the indignity.
What strikes me now, recalling these dark feelings, is how saddeningly opposite my attitude was from what it should be. Shouldn’t I have realized that the mere act of exercising would magically and wonderfully result in all these other healthful outcomes? Why didn’t I recognize that the first act, while admittedly the hardest, was all I really needed to get my health back on track, instead of responding with despair that one act was all I needed?
Really, my ass-backward response is indicative of another side effect of not exercising. That gloomy outlook belonged to a person starved for endorphins, unhappy with the way she felt, and increasingly dissatisfied with the way her clothes fit. Who knows how that despondency affected other areas of my life? It’s a little scary to think about the opportunities or joys I may have missed out on by not being able to recognize them for what they were–or not being present at all.
It really is all connected: your career, social life, personal life, health. And making time to take care of yourself means making time and making space for other good things to happen, and for you to be open to them happening. So stop thinking about exercising and just. go. do. it.