I’ve been meaning to write this piece for a few weeks now but finding time for it amidst the daily routine has been challenging to say the least. It’s been one of those nagging thoughts that I’ve just had to voice.
I do consider myself tremendously privileged to be a part of the fitness industry and be in a position to motivate, inspire and influence people with whom I come into contact.
And I find myself often stressing one very basic point to my clients and patients – a fit & healthy lifestyle is NOT about weight loss and being skinny. Fitness is so MUCH MORE that just pounds shed and going down a pant/dress size.
I can’t even begin to articulate the impact that full-time fitness has had in my life and how it’s changed my mindset and core beliefs. But for the sake of this article I have tried my best to elaborate … Five ways fitness has changed my life and if you keep going and believing, it WILL change yours too 🙂
1) Energy surge – Many health magazines and articles will preach about the adrenaline surge and endorphin rush that comes with exercise but words do NOT do their true power justice! The impact of these hormones as the heart pumps them around your body is massive. It literally is like being ‘jumpstarted’. Not eating junk food which is loaded with sugar and processed chemicals together with a rigorous exercise regime wage a war on one’s lethargy and you find yourself on a constant high. I know I’m mostly abuzz and able to tackle many more daily tasks and errands than I ever could before and it’s all done to fitness. Your body is liking what it’s getting and believe you me, not even a glass of the most expensive wine or the most extravagant couture gown could match up to this feeling. One more thing – all those life obstacles that come your way… trust me on this one – you’ve GOT this!
2) Size won’t matter – I have always been of a slim, trim and petite frame. Soon after hitting puberty and losing my chubby, baby poundage I’ve been skinny and yet I could not have been more disillusioned about my body image. I was the definition of skinny fat and whilst I could fool the rest of the world, I just couldn’t fool the girl that stared back at me in the mirror. I remember pinching various saggy bits of my body and feeling utter and complete despair. A trip to the beach or poolside despite donning a size 00 (yes I was double zero) bikini still brought about insane amounts of anxiety and feeling extremely self-conscious. Today I’m definitely not a size 00 and yet I have never been smaller in terms of inch measurement! It’s incredible … my clothes fit so better, my body has been shaped beautifully by strong, supple muscle and oh the confidence – it’s sky high and NOT the fake kind anymore! And I cant tell you how GREAT it is to wear a bikini. See it if you don’t believe me here. I haven’t weighed myself in nearly 3 years; am certain if I did I’d find myself a good ten kilos heavier and yet my frame could NOT be smaller Coupled with a balanced, wholesome diet the textures of your body – muscle, blood vessels, skin, nerve etc will sing and glow I promise you. Now the girl in the mirror smiles back at me smugly – the sense of achievement and sheer comfort in her own skin is tangible and what’s more she whispers back to me, “size doesn’t matter!” As the popular hashtag puts it – #StrongNOTskinny
3) Gives you a routine – I mentioned above that my workouts have become THE single most important thing on my ‘to-do’ list every single day (feeding my puppy and kitten don’t count). I am unapologetic and unabashed in admitting that my life (work and social life) are planned around my training hours and it is precisely THIS that has changed my life around 360. Seriously! I have never slept better, been more motivated, worked harder, set goals and pushed myself to achieve them and been so disciplined. That’s the thing with fitness – you get way more back than you put in and once you start seeing results there is just NO going back! I find myself choosing meals wisely when dining out, eating before I head out for drinks with friends so I don’t snack unnecessarily on fried rubbish AND even limiting my alcohol intake considerably, simply because I want to awake fresh and bright the next day so I can push harder in the gym. I have also realized that those who haven’t jumped onto this bandwagon will cast you aside and label you as a ‘fitness junkie’ or a ‘fitness freak’ but one more thing fitness does for you – the ability to put a positive spin on just about anything. I wear these labels with pride and indeed a streak of arrogance. The self-worth it helps you develop will tide you through anything people throw at you
4) My Happy place – My workouts are my way of worship. Quite literally and without sounding too dramatic they really are. When I’m happy I want to stretch my body and mind to new limits and when I’m sad, the gym is the only place I go to, to seek solace and comfort. Breaking into a sweat and getting your heartbeat racing works wonders in uplifting a dip in mood; something that is inevitable in the world today. Yes you may not feel like hitting the weights rack or pedaling furiously on a stationery bike in the gym when you want to just curl up on a couch and weep for hours on end, but trust me – DO IT ! After that initial intertia, once you get going, you will return ‘bouncier’.
Got a stressful life and no outlet? You know where to go 😉 Creative visualization is phenomenal in the gym to achieve new goals. Just imagine pounding a person that has caused you grief or heartache and believe you me, you’ll come back having shed the baggage.
5) You will constantly strive to be a better you – That’s the thing with fitness. It IS and WILL become an addiction and guess what, it’s probably the ONLY addiction that is completely O.K. and highly recommended by doctors (I say so!). When you start seeing the changes in your body and feeling the difference in your mood you will be hooked. Your goal list will continue to grow just as the list of ‘goals DONE’ will too. Each and every session you’ll want to challenge yourself and work just that little bit harder and this perseverance and determination is bound to not only spill into your professional and social life but also rub off positively onto your friends and family. You’ll be making a difference to not just your life but to those around you – be it motivating someone to visit a fitness center and/or making wiser dietary choices. You just want MORE !
Juggling many roles from physician to writer to pilates instructor to Marketing-PR executive, Dr. Daamini is constantly pushed and inspired to get creative on how to encompass a Retreat into her daily life.