I’m a 42-year-old woman weighing in at 107 pounds on a good day. People regularly ask me why I work out. Many quickly say that there’s no need for me to lose weight. Well, I’m not trying to lose weight, and exercise isn’t just about weight loss.
MY BODY IMAGE STRUGGLE
As a youth, I struggled with body image. I’ve always loved who I was, but with constant words about my size, what I needed to eat, and how to gain weight, I struggled with fully accepting my body.
For the record, eating a cheeseburger every day isn’t the answer. I can’t understand why that’s the go-to statement when people say something about a skinny person’s size. Personally, I prefer steak and lobster with a loaded baked potato and salad.
The answer is to eat healthy and exercise, no matter your size.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE TO EXERCISE
To be completely honest, my feelings used to get hurt when others would make fun of me for working out. Comments about the weights weighing more than me or that I would waste away if I kept exercising were incredibly hurtful.
Here’s the thing. Exercise is important for all body types for a variety of reasons:
- It keeps our hearts strong.
- It reduces blood pressure.
- It helps relieve stress.
- It can combat other health risks like stroke, anxiety, depression, many types of cancer, and more.
- It leads to better sleep.
- You can gain strength and body tone.
- There are social benefits.
THE START OF MY FITNESS JOURNEY
My original reason for starting to exercise three times a week was purely for a social life. After moving to a new duty station, I needed some adult conversation. We were in Hawaii and I was eager to find friends to explore the island with. Basically, I joined a neighborhood fitness group to talk, and thankfully I found a couple of ladies who wanted to talk too.
I remember showing up on the first day thinking we would do some jumping jacks, a few sit-ups, push-ups, jump rope, and then go home. Boy, was I wrong! These ladies had me running around the neighborhood carrying weighted balls over my head, doing burpees, deadlifts, and snatches and cleans. It was intense, and these women meant business. My legs hurt so bad that I fell six times that weekend, and I didn’t want to return Monday morning.
Thankfully, my husband encouraged me to return on Monday morning, and the rest is history. As time went on, I stopped talking as much, and became stronger and happier. My mood even changed and I wasn’t as snippy with my family. My body was undergoing a transformation, and I was even able to run a few miles without being winded after just five steps. As someone who hates running, this was a major accomplishment. I looked and felt great.
We now have two teens and one tween, and they are constantly telling me to start working out regularly again. They say I don’t fuss as much when I’m on a regular workout routine. Working out helps me relieve the stress of life and parenting.
MAKING EXERCISE A PRIORITY
Even though people still make comments to me about being skinny and working out, I still try to exercise regularly. I say “try” because since we’ve moved (it’s been a year), I’ve struggled with getting on a routine. But getting my body moving is important. My goal is to get back to lifting weights three days a week and hitting the pavement or hopping on the spin bike once a week. The important thing is to make time for exercise even when life is busy.
Remember that we all need a little exercise in our lives. It doesn’t have to be a major workout. Simply go for a walk or turn some music on and groove to the beat. Just get moving!
Sybil is a Navy wife, mother of three (tween and teen girls), and owner of a silly little Maltese named Carlos. She’s a graduate of The University of Memphis, where she received her B.B.A. in Logistics and Marketing. She’s currently working on her Ph.D. from The University Of Life. Her passion is to empower others in life with her message of Know You Be You Love You®. She enjoys sharing her experiences and advice about life as a freelance content creator. You can also find her being oh so real, raw, funny, and random at her site, Mamas and Coffee®. She is also co-creator of Milspouse Conversations™, an online space, and monthly in-person meetups to have those vulnerable conversations we all face in life.