There is this middle age lady who had signed up in the gym longer than I did. She was attending mostly yoga classes and doing light cardio. She never did the weights. Then about 9 months ago, I saw her engaging the services of a personal trainer.
She started exercising very hard- doing intensive cardio and spending lots of time doing weights and core building exercises. Her exercise routine, were rigorous and punishing. Even after her sessions with the personal trainer is over, she could be seen training on her own. There is a glint of steely determination in her eyes.
Well, I don’t know what she is aiming for as she was not overweight- except for some tiny little bulges at ‘problem’ areas such as triceps, tummy and the bums which are common in women. But I would think it is within ‘acceptable social norms’ as she will still look nice in evening dresses.
She worked out very often and still maintain the punishing exercise regime after so many months- she doesn’t really mix around much anymore. As her body got more toned, she started wearing tighter fitting tops and pants. Then recently, she walked past me in a blouse that had a lower cut at the back and I could see that her back muscles are very well developed. I am happy for her. I thought to myself: ‘there goes another success story that working out, regardless of age, can still bring you the body that you want. As long as you work hard, you will reap result.’
It’s all well and good. Then, in the workout today, she was in the same area that I was and I finally noticed the expression on her face and eyes- the eyes did not belong to one of a happy person. They showed me a person who feels insecure and tortured inside. Someone who hates her body and continue to punish it in order to achieve the shape that one wants.
Some people who workout, lose weight and tone their bodies end up earning the confidence and even looked as though there is a happy skip in their every step- because they know that they’ve worked hard to earn that body without going through shortcuts. When you embark on an exercise program, eat properly and lose weight the natural way, something in you will change- you will develop better character traits like self-confidence, determination and patience. These positive traits will in turn, spill over to other traits of your life- your work, your relationships.
If a person suffered from some deep seated insecurities, the issue has to be addressed emotionally and psychologically before moving on to physical. This is because someone who is insecure and hate his/her body tend to choose exercise regimes that are too punishing, unrealistic and in the long term, is difficult and takes superhuman effort to maintain. And any lapses or weight gain will make the person hate himself/herself even more.
If the problem is not addressed, the stress, the self loathing will slowly cause the body to break down and become unwell. Slowly, it will grow into a serious illness – and the person friends or family may say: “look, she exercise and maintain such a healthy diet but still got _____. See, I told you that exercise and good diet are not important“.
Our emotional well being is very, very important. Don’t ever underestimate the importance to constantly keep yourself happy and positive. You may notice that coughs and fever tends to affect you less and heal faster when you are feeling positive rather than negative. The fault lies not in exercise or proper eating- for it is possible that had it not been for the exercise or careful diet, the person may have run into problem long time ago. The repressed emotion and unhappiness in a person builts up day by day, like a volcano- it is only a matter of time when it erupts. Supporting conditions can delay the eruption but cannot stop the inevitable.