Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Road to Recovery

Life is funny the way it works. How one thing leads to another, and before you know it you find yourself somewhere where you never ever expected to find yourself. That's what happened to me, big time. Back in 2013 I decided to lose some weight and in order to fully commit myself to the project I challenged my coworker K. to walk 90 kilometres in a month. Little challenge never hurts anyone, right. I'm competitive like that and I like to win. It motivates me more than just trying to do something on my own, without real goal in mind.

What I did not know, back then, how it would change my life. How it would change K's life too. Because that little challenge wasn't enough for us. It was actually too easy. I  think we both ended up walking way more than just 90 kilometres. And that daily walking habit lead us to running. Why walk when you can run? And so we both picked up running too. I was little late to the party and didn't manage to run so much in 2013... but I started running as soon as it was possible the next year.

And last year, 2014, I started to run even more seriously. And I got better at it. And somewhere along the way my goal changed. I wasn't running to lose weight anymore, I ran because I liked it and I wanted to be able to run even faster. I think that for the first time ever I  exercised for other reason than just to lose weight. And it felt good. It felt healthy. It felt normal, like a natural thing to do. It was a start for something new, though it still took me a long time to get where I am now.

I wanted to get better at running so I decided I needed to build some muscles too. So I got myself a little 6kg kettlebell. And oh boy it was hard. But I did it, semiregularly. Didn't really manage to build any muscle during the running season, mostly due to my own laziness. But I got familiar with kettlebell exercising.

So to summarize the story so far: walking lead to running and running lead to kettlebell exercising.

Last year I participated in Helsinki Midnight Run. Talking about real goals here! I used to be a girl who didn't run, and who were probably able to run 10 metres. And then I became a girl who was able to run 10K, nonstop. Not super fast though, but hey, it was a big deal for me. I participated in a god damn race! But Helsinki Midnight Run also pretty much ended my running season. There was a lot happening during that time, I think my social life kinda got in the way of my running. No regrets though, I am more than happy that I decided to invest in my social life rather than running. Me having social life has lead to so many good things that there are no words to even describe them.

After my running season was finished, I drifted for couple months, not sure what to do next. I gained weight. Like crazy. Before I even noticed it myself  I was the chubby girl again. Something just had to change because the idea of starting the next running season from zero was killing me. I wanted to get better, not to start all over again!

So in November I finally picked up the kettlebells again. And since I wasn't running, they become my main focus. I trained several times a week. I got better, fast. What used to be too heavy for me become easy. I got heavier kettlebells. I trained harder and longer than ever before. But I saw no physical change really, I just got stronger. Which is not a bad thing, of course. After all it meant that somewhere under all the chubbiness I was building muscles. And the idea of having muscles, even invisible, was quite a nice one.

And that lead to my next major breakthrough. 

Apparently you need protein in order to build muscles. And to get protein you need to actually eat food. Which is something I have never really been good at. I used to be some kind of anorexic person when I was younger. And even though I have thought for years that I am no longer that person, I was. I wasn't eating the way I was supposed to be. I was eating, but I was still thinking that it's somehow bad and that it was holding me back. And I was eating all the wrong things too because I didn't know any better. I wasn't definitely eating much protein because I just didn't like meat. Never occurred to me that it's something you should actually eat if you don't get the protein elsewhere.

I've been on a very strict diet this year. And usually diet means that you eat less than normally. But I have been eating much more than usually. And there is a lot more protein in my diet than ever before, now I eat meat every day. And have I gained weight like one would assume considering how much more I am eating now? No. I have been losing weight, steadily. And my weight has stopped fluctuating, no up and downs anymore. I think I have finally realized why eating is so essential. It's not something you have to do, but something you should want to do in order to give your body what is needs in order to achieve the things you want to achieve. Can't build muscles without protein, can't get energy to exercise without carbs.

It's been a long way to recovery, but I am here now. And that's all that matters. And all this, exercising and eating right has changed the way I feel about myself. It has changed my standard of beauty. I no longer want to be skinny. Hell no. I want to be strong and fit. When I look myself in the mirror I want to be able to think "I worked hard to get here" and not "I starved myself for this". There's a difference, and it's a different look too. I now very much prefer the first look.

And working hard... actually makes me happy. I enjoy the things I do for myself now. Kettlebells make me happy, being able to lift heavier weights makes me happy, running makes me happy, eating makes me happy. All those things I do nowadays make me happy. And you know what doesn't make you happy? Not eating, Starving. Being miserable when eating. I know that, because I've been there. I have been the skinny girl and I think I have never ever been more unhappy than during those years. Yes, I was thin but I was feeling like crap all the time.

But right now, here where I am mentally, I wouldn't trade my body to be skinny, not in a million years. I rather be the way I am right now than skinny fat. So yeah, maybe I have recovered. Took me some time, but I got here. Now I just need to keep going to see how far it takes me.

This is just a start.

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