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Mediterranean Lifestyle: How I Overcame my Gym-Phobia

November 15, 2011

Throughout my entire history with yo-yo dieting, I never perfected the maintenance stage. I understood how to cut down and in turn lose weight, but it seemed that I was on the perpetual path to failure because of my inability to make a permanent change. I was either losing or gaining, and it wasn’t until I adopted the foundations of the Mediterranean diet lifestyle that I have been able to add stability to my routine.

Exercise has become a big part of my life, and I definitely credit my gym regimen for keeping me on track over the past two years. It didn’t start out that way, though, and it doesn’t have to be the gym (it can be anything that works for you!), but the structure of the gym definitely worked for me when I was starting from square one. I was your typical gym-phobe. I struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember, and I am still plagued by elementary school timed miles in which I was the only one in the class to throw up. I would constantly say to myself, “I don’t care how much less I have to eat, but I refuse to work out,” further illuminating my half-hearted attempts to change my life and my lack of commitment to actually making a change. I will always remember my first trip to the gym. I had already lost around 10lbs (down to 220lbs), and my friend was allowed to bring a free guest. Recognizing my new found motivation, she offered me the pass. I remember heaving after two and a half minutes on the elliptical. It was that bad. After going back a few times, something strange happened…

It got easier! Two and a half minutes became 5, then 10, then 25, then 45.  I won’t completely credit exercise for my weight loss, but it definitely sped things up and improved my confidence and enthusiasm. I had always excluded myself from what I considered an “elite” group of gym rats, and I put these gym-goers on a pedestal that I never fathomed I would be on too. But more trips to the gym fostered a new confidence in my abilities, and I started to see that living an active life doesn’t have to equal hour after monotonous hour at the gym. I began power walking with friends, and used my new passion for health and fitness as a way to give back, eventually completing the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer (26.2 miles on Day 1 and 13.1 on Day 2). I can’t describe the feeling of relief when I realized that I didn’t have to have excuses ready for why I couldn’t join when asked to participate in activities involving movement. Part of the reason I am so passionate about this lifestyle is because I want to share this relief, this disintegration of a cloud of anxiety that hovered over my head for fifteen years too long.

Exercise is definitely a permanent part of my routine, but it takes many forms. I frequent the gym after work, but when something comes up, I’m fine with finding ways to move in different ways.  People constantly use the “I don’t have time” excuse, but what they mean is “I don’t want to make the time for something that I won’t enjoy.” When focusing on health and complete well-being over solely weight loss and appearance, exercise does play a major role, and the confidence that comes with no longer having to sit on the sidelines is definitely worth the sweat!


3 Comments leave one →
  1. shayna lehrer permalink
    November 15, 2011 3:07 pm

    you are amazing!!!!!

  2. Margaret permalink
    November 15, 2011 5:25 pm

    Hi Abby! Love this post! Congrats on being healthy and looking amazing!!

  3. Cait Sweeney permalink
    November 17, 2011 6:13 pm

    Such an inspiration, Ab!! Was literally about to excuse myself from the gym tonight… thanks for the boost 🙂

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