You and I, we have had a complicated relationship in the past. We got off to a late start, when I was introduced to you as a chubby, self-conscious 20-year old. I carried curves and fat in all the wrong places, and I wanted to become thinner to prove to myself that I deserved to look good in photographs. I remember how our relationship began painfully slow, with me doing 5 sun salutations everyday as exercise. I remember how in pursuit of you, I maintained a 1200 calorie diet. And because you won, I won too. I got to drop a few sizes and brand myself as a ‘thinner and better’ me. Though initially our relationship to each other was hesitant, our paths harmonized together like a gushing stream.
I became obsessive with you, and I still consider myself so today as well. But the course and nature of my obsession has changed over the past 5 years of us being together. I take square blame for my negative obsessions towards attaining you.
But I couldn’t help it- you were like a drug I needed for my self-esteem.
The first obsession of mine to you lasted a year, and it was calorie counting. I remember surviving on small portions of food and green tea to maintain my physique. Then, you taught me that I didn’t have to lose myself in counting calories, and forget missing out on fun. I relaxed a bit, and didn’t magically gain that weight back.
The second obsession began after a body composition test, which revealed I wasn’t in as optimum a shape as I thought. I doubted you and whether you betrayed me, but I pushed on because I wanted to prove that I could push past this. I obsessed and believed that cutting carbs and maintaining the perfect macro count was the key to fat loss. But that tanked quicker than you can say “don’t even try”, and I learnt a valuable lesson. You taught me that I needed to aim for a stronger long-term relationship with you, rather than shortcuts that would burn me out.
I have several reasons to love you, Fitness, because you showed me a mirror into my self-image. I love how you steered me towards yoga, where I found my natural flexibility put to good use and help me lose years of accumulated fat.
I love how you are not monotonous, and taught me to seek you and love you in the different forms you come in. I fell for you with every hike I took, every dance my body moved to, every cardio and strength training workout I do, and even how you push my body in basic household chores. I learnt not to label you and put you in a box, because that would be a shame to the beautifully adaptable nature you have.
Dear fitness, you show up and teach me to never give up, and tell me that I can reach you to reach an improved version of myself.
I love how you taught me that being stronger is more important than being skinnier. I love how you taught me to look past toxic labels like “clean eating” and “thinspiration”. You made me explore different vegetables I never would have eaten outside my local cuisine, and encouraged me that rice won’t make me fat. You introduced me to plant-based eating, which I am eternally thankful to you for. I have been eating heartier but healthier than ever in my life. I get to indulge in my sweet-tooth, because you taught me that restrictions only lead to binging.
To this day, you teach me that it feeding my body helped me tone up better than ever, rather than half-starve myself and lose my muscle tone. You make my body stronger with each passing day, and taught me that consistent routines make the body a temple.
With every rep of an exercise I push myself at and with every sore muscle in my body, I am getting to you. We have a long journey ahead, you and I, but that isn’t going to stop me from reaching you. Once I do that, I know who I would be- the truest, best version of me.
Yours for life,