Monday, July 6, 2015

My Journey to Fitness #Autism #Parent #Autistic

"I bought a little red bikini today. Let's see if I have the courage to wear it."

That's what my status on Facebook read from 5 years ago. That is where I was in terms of confidence, and physical health. It is a far cry from where I am today. It was around this time that I embarked on my fitness journey. That is what this entry is going to be about. Where I was, where I've been, and what I have learned on the way. I have been thinking about doing this post for a few months now. I am not good at mapping out, and summarizing my thoughts before I write. That just isn't my writing style. So, I am going to do what I usually do, and just let the words flow out as I tell my story.

About five years ago is where my passion for fitness began. It started out as a little spark that was unfortunately ignited by self hatred. I've never been overweight, but had gained quite a bit of weight six years ago when I quit smoking, and my thyroid went out of whack. I didn't like my body. I had never liked my body, actually. If you follow my blog, or know me then you know how self image is a enormous battle I have struggled with for my whole life beginning in grade school when I was teased mercilessly. I began my fitness journey from a dark place that was misguided. I wanted to change how I looked, so I wanted to exercise due to hating my body. I found my motivation in shame, instead of self love. I dieted, and felt deprived. I felt that exercise, and restricting my diet was a punishment for not doing better, and not being better. Maybe I didn't think of it in those words at the time, but that is what is was. It would be awhile before I gained motivation from a better place, and stopped wallowing in self-loathing.

When I first started exercising I didn't know much about fitness. I knew basics. I did a lot of cardio, because I assumed it would help me lose weight. I cut my calories back too much, and I ate all the wrong foods. I did lose weight. Cutting calories will typically result in weight loss, but there is so much more to physical health than just the number we see when we step on the scale. More on that later, though.

I started looking up information. There was so much out there! One expert said this, and another article said that. I didn't know where to turn, or who to listen to. In the meantime I found lots of youtube videos with free exercise routines. I started out with a few exercises here, and there. I didn't really know how often, or how to do a good routine to get the most out of my workouts. None of the videos, or channels I found were very educational in this way.

That all changed a couple of years ago when I found Fitness Blender. Combined with the knowledge I had gleaned on my own through tons of research, and their very easy to use site I was able to begin getting into shape the healthy way.

This entry is not just about sharing another info dump to add to everyone's growing collection of how to lose weight, or a new trendy exercise routine, but about how I personally went from where I was to where I am now. I no longer stand on the edge of anorexic thinking, fearing other's judgments about who I am as I try to make peace with my physical body. Treating the mind, and the body as if I can get one super healthy while the other is severely lacking is all that was wrong with my mindset, and I suspect so many of others, as well. The shame, and guilt of extra weight, eating, and not knowing how to do better, but sure as hell feeling low for not being able to be better  was a terrible place to start at, and was never going to produce the happiness that I longed for. It seemed that most of the places I looked for info, and support fostered that sense of food shame, and unhealthy physical routines.

You're not going to find pictures of me, or anyone else posing in a bikini for before, and after pics in this post.