Recently I met someone who had just started running. I swiftly suggested the "Couch to 5k", which she had already said that she was doing. My next suggestion was to get a good running playlist. Lots of people overlook this step, but for me it's crucial. Before I share it with you, I need to provide a little bit of backstory. A few weeks ago while I was on vacation and jonesing for a run, I realized I had forgotten my ipod charger. Yes, I know I could have just used my phone, but I like what I like, and I like my little old 2007 ipod nano. I took to facebook to poll my friends as to where the best place for a cheap charger would be, and I got lots of comments from people who run without music. Um, I'm sorry what? Yes, I said WITHOUT music. They suggested that running without music will allow me to be alone with nature, feel more peace, and help me to be more grateful. I totally get it. I do. And looking at those making the suggestion, I am not surprised at all. They were all really wonderful, lovely human beings. Of course they would feel that way! But while peace and love may motivate some (and I'm sure that this divulges more about my character than I'd like to admit)...this girl runs ANGRY. I think about people who've called me fat over the years. I think about men who wouldn't date me because I was "too big" for them (and yes, that really happened). I think about people who have done me wrong professionally. I even think about the people who may be driving by me thinking "she doesn't need to be out here in a sports bra." These things motivate me. They help me to keep going. And maybe this is wrong...Maybe I need a therapist...But for me, running has become my therapy, so that when I get home, sweaty and exhausted, those feelings are behind me and I can go through the REST of my day in peace.
I had someone say something to me the other day that I know was not meant as an insult, but I couldn't help but take it as one. I was explaining my weight loss and exercise regimen to yet another person saying they want to lose weight. One of her comments was "But it's easy for you...You're already in shape!"
I suddenly had flashes back to myself running along a North Carolina country road in the dense humidity, sweating like crazy because I was too embarrassed to go out in just a sports bra and shorts, with fat actually HURTING because it was giggling so much as I bounced along every step. I started running by doing a "couch to 5k"....at 210lbs. It was something I had to literally force myself to do every other day. I would come home from a run HEAVING, to cool off, shower, have dinner, and get straight into bed, because my sciatic pain would be so bad that I could no longer walk upright. Flash forward to now, I have NO sciatic pain (well, every now and then I'll tweak it just right), and can run a 5k with relative ease. I do it (and more) a few times a week! Let's head back into the past for another minute...A few months after I started running, I started INSANITY. If you've ever seen the infomercial for that, you know it's quite literally...insane. I have had grown ass men tell me that they are too afraid of that program. I did it at 195 pounds. You want to talk about pain? Thank GOD I wasn't working at the time that I started that program (we had just moved and I hadn't found a job yet). Quite frankly, even in the shape that I'm in now, that program is hard for me, so I give kudos to ANYONE who's not a professional athlete who can keep up with all 60 days of that program.
So here I am, listening to this woman tell me how "easy" it is for me, and I started fuming on the inside. I have worked HARD to get to where I am now. I may post a few too many fitness selfies because of that, but damnit I am PROUD of the 60+ pounds I have shed, and NO ONE is going to tell me that it came easily. To be completely honest, I am still winded during many of my workouts. Some days, I practically crawl into bed because my body is so sore from what I put it through. It's not EASY for ANYONE. The fittest men in the world go out and play 4 quarters of a football game. Do you see some of these men after they've hit the training table? They come out with ice packs saran wrapped to their shins and shoulders, have bruises and black eyes, and are still DRIPPING with sweat an hour after they've taken a shower. They do it for the love of the game. They do it to provide for their families. They don't LOVE getting the shit kicked out of them, but it's a means to an end. Same thing with exercising. Most people do not love it. But they do it for what comes after. For me, I do it because I love MYSELF. I do it so that I can make sure that I've done everything I can to stay on this planet with my family and friends as long as I possibly can. It's true, you can come to enjoy exercise. I am living proof of it. I do enjoy getting out there and pushing my body to it's limits. I love knowing that if I had to run for my life, I would be able to survive. But that's not to say I'm not cussing through the whole workout some days. Just because you are fit, you don't wake up every morning saying "alright, I'm programmed to exercise!" You do it anyway though. You do it for the results, whether they are for health reasons or superficial ones. For me, I love KNOWING without a shadow of a doubt that I'm exercising my heart and the muscles that will sustain me as I get older. And I don't think I have to tell you how much I love my new body. That's why I do it. Because I know I need it to stay healthy, and if I want to keep the body that I've worked so hard for, I NEED to keep going, not because I never have the urge to skip a workout. And I might add that there are plenty of fit people who HATE working out, but do it anyway.
The point I'm trying to make here is that it's not EASY for anyone, and there are LOTS of people who started out extremely out of shape and overweight. That hard work should NEVER be written off just because someone feels the need to make their own excuses about why they CAN'T do the same. If you're someone who makes these types of assumptions, next time you look at someone who's in shape and are tempted to think that it's easy for them, please remember that there's nothing EASY about it, and you could be looking at someone who just a few years ago was WELL overweight Just know that they've taken the hard road. If you aren't exercising and taking care of your body, YOU are the one that it's easy for. You get to stay nice and cozy on the couch, while they get up, get out there, and DO SOMETHING for their health.
Hi! I'm Andrea Cummings. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle that I can MAINTAIN and that still lets me feel like I'm not being deprived. I like to exercise, but I also love to eat (nachos!). My main focus is to be healthy, not skinny, and to help others do the same! I love Jesus, but I also say fuck a lot, so if you're offended, I may not be the gal for you.