As summer draws into a close with the gradual sheets of rain beginning to dominate the skies to signal the coming of rainy season, I remember the hot afternoons spent by my brother and my sister sweating their butts off… without me. It was I who influenced them to eat healthier and start exercising. I was able to go from 162 lbs (I am 5’5″ inches tall) to 110lbs between 2014 and 2015 and have been maintaining it since. I continued watching what I eat and running on the treadmill three times a week for 30 minutes, along with light weightlifting courtesy of XHIT by Rebecca Louise; and a little cardio HIIT (also from XHIT, check it out on YouTube) as an occasional substitute for running. Everything was going well and I was feeling at my best.
Until one night, after another 30 minutes’ worth of running, I felt a subtle, sharp sensation below my right knee. It was my body’s way of saying to take a break, so I did just that for a week. But as the days went by, the pain didn’t go away and it got worse. Eventually, after an entire afternoon spent at the mall, my knee got swollen and I knew something was up. I later found out that I am suffering from Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, also known as Runner’s Knee. It would take me months to fully recover, without certainty how many. Up to now, I am unable to run, do squats, or walk long distances. Right now, it’s not even possible to do exercises that involve placing much weight on my right leg. I have no choice but to temporarily let go of my active lifestyle and rely on eating healthy.
I really miss exercising. A lot. I miss the rush of adrenaline I experience in the middle of my routine, and the burst of endorphins that comes after. I miss not only exercising, but also how exercise made me feel. And so as I watch my siblings get sweaty and fit from a pitiful spot where I sat, I, too, remember the times I felt lazy and too full of “valid” excuses to work out. How could have I and why did I ever take my chances of working out for granted?
As Robin Scherbatsky said in an episode of HIMYM about having kids, not wanting something you can have is one thing, but not wanting something and being told you can’t have it anyway is another. It’s the same with working out. I understand that it can be terribly laborous, but with an injured knee and a sad realization, I am stating a number of reasons to say to myself to stay motivated to push through with exercising come the time I can finally do it again.
You’ve already made progress.
Are you ready to go back to your unhealthy self whom you worked hard to psychologically discipline to get to where you are right now? I didn’t think so. Get to work.
Your metabolism has greatly improved!
During, and even after exercising, your body becomes more efficient and faster in burning all the food you consumed because of the muscle you’ve gained. Slacking off for a day may lead to another day without exercise until you get used to it. In turn, your metabolism will slow down. In fact, just your first week without exercise can slow down your metabolism due to decreased muscle mass. Now go fetch your training shoes.
You cannot not cheat on your diet forever.
Alright, most people say it takes 80% diet and 20% exercise to stay healthy, meaning you’re going to have to be conscious of what you eat. But for how long? Realistically speaking, it might take the slightest bit of anything–Say a picture of a tempting slice of chocolate cake–to trigger a binge fest. And if you DO give in…
How else are you going to get rid of the excess calories?
Nothing else can be a good idea than exercise after a cheat meal (or a cheat day), since you’ll have more energy for your body to use. It takes the guilt away, reasonably. Continuing what you do will give you a fresh start after that sinful stint you had. So start lifting your weights!
It’s a great way to handle stress.
It is because of working out that you were able to handle the pressures of reviewing for the board exams and the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT). Before, you resorted to emotional eating, having three cups of white rice at lunch after that bowl of spicy Korean ramen you just had at a restaurant near the University literally an hour or two ago. Now, whether you’re overwhelmed by work or sleep-deprived, you know what to do.
Just keep in mind the post-workout feels.
I’m talking about the adrenaline and endorphins I mentioned a while ago. Your skin feels light; you just know those toxins managed to ooze out of your pores. The mind is energized and alert. There is increased stamina and endurance. If you were able to get over your pre-workout sluggishness by working out anyway, then you can take on anything! And obviously, they’re called post-workout feels for a reason. You can’t have them without exercising in the first place. Post-workout. Feels. Let that sink in.
You should have learned your lesson by now.
…And you learned it the hard way. You know how it’s like to let an entire day pass by without the routine you’ve been sticking with. There were times you wished you didn’t have to work out, and when you physically can’t, it sucked. This is your opportunity to get yourself back in the game. And don’t forget:
You can’t have immediate results.
Whether you’re just a day or a week into the frenzy or you’re trying to get your old tough stamina and muscles back, don’t expect drastic changes right away. This whole thing takes times, diligence, patience, and a ton of commitment. Don’t give up, and keep your glutes tight while you’re at it.
You’re better than your excuses.
Of course. Everyone is better than his or her excuses. Nobody succeeds in this feat with the mindset of a quitter. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you can, you’re right”. And you can!
I’ll just leave it at that for now. Gosh, am I more than ready to go back to working out! I’ve been out for a month now and I’m not too happy to say that I’m not yet close to returning to running and XHIT, but thank God I can lift and allow a slight bend in the knees. As for now, I have to be patient and allow my knee to heal in its own time. I can hardly wait for that day to come.