My Secrets to Get Back into Shape after the Holidays

My Secrets to Get Back into Shape after the Holidays

*** I’ll admit it. I took the chocolate road to happiness this Fall. After a series of personal traumatic events, I let myself go and my buns of steel turned to buns of marshmallows. I stopped exercising and was breathless after a 15 second lap dance for my boyfriend. It was perfectly normal for me to eat a cupcake for breakfast. I never thought it would happen to me, but it did. I was out of control and completely out of shape.

The situation was dire – after all, just 6 months ago, I was referred to as a ‘fitness expert’. The writing was on the wall: it was time to put down the French fries and pick up my fitness routine. I was filled with classic delusions of grandeur:

My mind: “I’ll start where I left off: dancing 6 days a week.”
My body: “No comprendo.”

Six months ago, I used to be able to control 12 different abdominal muscles while bellydancing. Now, my mind is so disconnected from my body that we don’t even speak the same language.

After teaching my second class of the week, I hobbled off to my favorite gelato place. I ordered a triple scoop of stracciatella and plopped my sore ass down when it dawned on me:

The attitude I had that got me out of shape is the same attitude I need to possess in order to get back into shape.

Huh?

Simply put: I enjoyed the journey that got me out of shape and if I am going to get fit, it needs to be a pleasurable experience, too.

With each spoonful of creamy goodness, it became even clearer. The process needed to be more feminine. While I packed on the pounds, I was nurturing, loving and gentle with myself. These are all aspects of feminity. I was soothing my broken heart and gave myself a break. I allowed myself to sleep in and not wake up early to teach classes. I gave myself permission to take a bubble bath on Saturday evenings instead of performing and I treated myself to many, many sweet treats. This approach was effective and soon my inner-strength returned.

Then when I decided to work on my outer-strength and lose weight, (I gained 25 lbs in 6 months) I chose the aggressive and strict method. These are masculine traits. I was hopelessly unrealistic and returned to my fitness schedule before my break. I used to dance 4 hours a day, 6 days a week. I’m a bellydancer – why was I suddenly acting like I was in the Marines? I nearly had to be carried out on a stretcher and ventilator after the first week that I returned to dancing. It wasn’t cute, Goddess-like and it certainly wasn’t going to work.

I revisited my favorite temple of sweetness and wrote what have become my secrets to getting back in shape.

1) Be feminine. Treat myself like a loving, doting, proud mother would. Relish in all the accomplishments and steps to improvement. None are too small for this Mama: “That’s so wonderful that you only ate one chocolate covered strawberry! I know you wanted more. I’m so proud of my baby girl!”
2) Avoid the masculine. Don’t punish myself with extreme cleanses, diets or exercise routines. I will feel deprived, judge myself mercilessly and likely fail quickly. End result: I will not feel good.
3) Make it pleasurable. I enjoyed the journey that got me out of shape, but not all things I enjoy are fattening and unhealthy. I wrote down all the things I liked: dancing, favorite dance moves (shimmies, snake hips), favorite songs, wearing costumes, wearing jewelry and sparkly things. I will put these things into my health and fitness routine so that I enjoy the journey.
4) Easy does it. I can’t emphasize this one enough: Girlfriend, check yourself before your wreck yourself! I took 6 months to get out of shape. I cannot start where I left off. It’s perfectly ok to dance for only 3 minutes to my favorite song and consider that my entire workout for the week.
5) Be positive. Focus on the things I am doing and not the things I am not. Whatever I feed grows and I choose to feed positivity and gratitude.
6) Make the re-connection. I know the power and euphoria that comes with the mind-body connection. When the time is right, I will feel it again. I trust that I will look forward to dancing once I have made this re-connection. I believe that I will want to put healthy food into my body once I have made this re-connection.

Two months after I wrote the above list, I have happily returned to my full fitness routine and I still eat a cupcake for breakfast from time to time.

***This blogpost is a semi-repost, though the story remains true as it was when originally posted in Nov 2010

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