How anxiety ruined my fitness
Anxiety ruins everything. EVERYTHING!! Or does it? I have been hiding behind my anxiety/depression for way too freaking long that it has become part of my personality. Who would I be without being an anxious mess? It is part of my identity! I can’t change, ever! Does this sound familiar to you? Don’t worry, I have been there.
I am going to give you tips to kick anxiety in the nuts (soz ;)) and actually get the results you are wanting to get. Whether it is toning up, muscle gain and/or fat loss or if you want to feel more comfortable in your own skin. This process is actually a lot easier than you think. We’ve got this.
One of the first tips to create a happier you is exercise. Were you expecting anything else from me? We all know that exercise is good for you. There is absolutely no doubt about it. You know it too.
Why is it so hard to actually get yourself to the gym and work out?
Here is a list of why’s:
• I have no clue what I am doing
• I am scared to get there
• I can’t afford it
• What are people going to think of me?
• I don’t have nice clothes
• I don’t know anyone
• Everyone is fit, I am just going to stand out
• Everyone is going to look at me
• I am fat
• What if I mess it up?
• I am going to stay fat
• People are going to judge me
Do you see what I am putting out there? This is all me, saying this to myself. Does that make sense to you? I have been saying this to myself for years. No wonder I believe this. This is all I know.
I hope you recognise yourself in this and see how horrible we talk to ourselves. We like to play ‘the victim’ in our own story. We like to constantly battle in the flight or fight mode. I mean: what would life actually be like without anxiety?
Well, here is the harsh truth: Anxiety will always be there. Am I going to give it the attention it (thinks it) deserves? NO! Exercise is HEALTHY. Why on earth would I let my anxiety take this away from me?! I want to be happy, I want to get old and grey and happy, I want to live my life to the fullest and not live with regret and just be happy.
How do I get there you are wondering?
I certainly don’t have the answer to everything, but I am going to give you tips and tricks on how I have become a happier and healthier person. Saving you about 6 years of life.
TIP 1: DON’T START A DIET
Did you know that your brain is one of the biggest obstacles to losing fat? Have you ever experienced stress eating? Are you feeling depressed and crave sugar or salty food? Have you started eating your pizza and actually not enjoyed it as it is ‘unhealthy’? You still ate it, but you felt horrible and disappointed after? Your brain hates dieting.
Take the time to actually think about your food. Try all healthy fruit and veggies and see which you enjoy most. This will actually make you more excited about healthy options and not specify as ‘diet food’ Do you have any cravings? See why you have those cravings. You might have stress at work or you are feeling emotional. If you do give in to any of those cravings, practice some self love. Enjoy the chocolate cookies or hamburger. Don’t be hard on yourself, we are only human.
TIP 2: GET A PERSONAL TRAINER
You knew I was coming back to exercise right?
Most gyms give you a complimentary PT session when you sign up to a gym. I understand this is scary at first, but you feel much more comfortable if somebody shows you the ropes. You have someone to show you around and explain exercises and you are not wondering what you have to do. I understand that this is an investment, but you don’t need to do this forever plus I see it as an investment in your health. I have clients who I check in with once a fortnight or even monthly. It gives them that extra bit of motivation and to get the desired results.
TIP 3: RELAX
Relaxing.. It sounds so easy, but why is it so hard? Right now I want you to focus on your jaw. Unclench it. Were you clenching? Roll your shoulders back.
Are you breathing through your chest or belly? I have recently discovered that I have been breathing through my chest, holding a lot of tension and have never experienced a full breath.
It is very hard to relax for people struggling with mental health. I used to watch TV for hours as it was the only thing that would ‘numb my brain’ and the only way I could sit still. If I sat still for any other reason, I would feel guilty for not doing anything. The constant need to do something left me without energy to actually achieve things. This then becomes a vicious cycle of feeling pressured and overwhelmed. I have finally discovered what relaxes me and it is as simple as writing lists. I write everything down from washing dishes to writing fitness programs or paying bills. My brain is now empty and I don’t have to remember anything as it is all written down in my diary. Obviously this doesn’t work for everyone. Try to go for a walk, read a book, meditate, get a massage, draw, ride horses. ANYTHING that puts your mind at ease.
TIP 4: FIND EXERCISE THAT SUITS YOU
I hated exercising for all the above ‘why’s’. I didn’t love the gym after I picked up my first dumbbell. It was exactly the opposite. But, day by day my anxiety decreased. I had more energy and I felt so strong. Not just physically, but more so mentally. It was the amazing feeling of not knowing what my body was capable of. It still amazes me every single day. The feeling I get from a heavy deadlift or bench press makes me feel so powerful. You might have this with running, basketball, netball, soccer, tennis or hiit. Find whatever makes you feel excited. I still have days where I can’t be bothered training, but I always end up going and feeling 100% better and energised after.
I hope all of you enjoyed this. This is my first ever blog and I am super excited. Let me know your thoughts and leave a comment below! If you LOVE it, share it on Facebook!
The Mood Lifter – Daphne den Boer