How I stopped worrying about my body

bdb9c132b23eb5ca40b01e30ea8299c5I have a confession to make. I hate working out.

I think it's stupid, and boring.

I hate the smell of the place.  I hate comparing myself to the other guys working out.  I hate lifting weights.  I hate "pushing through to the burn".  I hate "just one more".  I hate asking someone to spot me, and I hate lifting weights alone.

I hate the gym.

And having said all that, I've taking up lifting weights at least six different times in my life.  The reason I've done it is because I wanted my body to look a certain way.

Not because I enjoyed it — only because I wanted my body to look a certain way.

See, men are not immune to social pressure around the way they look these days either.  It's easy for me to wake up and think I look fat (if you've ever seen me, you know that's an irrational thought), or that I look puny.

So I'd go to the gym, and lift.  And start to generate results.  Bay liked it too, and I don't blame her.  Working out and building your muscles makes you look good.  A man's body looks great when it shows the results of hard work.

However, somewhere along the way, I'd developed the mistaken belief that there was a "best" type of work for my body to show.  I'd fallen into the trap of believing that my body was "supposed" to look a certain way.

Toxic thinking.

Michael Neil says that we're only ever one thought away from changing our reality completely.

This was my one thought.

My epiphany came from realizing that our bodies all look the way they're "supposed" to.  Your body is simply a reflection of things that you currently love doing.

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If I love watching TV, drinking beer and sitting around the house, my body is going to be a reflection of that.  If I love getting outside, taking long runs and hikes, then my body will reflect that too.

So, going to the gym to try and make my body look a certain way is silly. It's doing something that I don't love doing to get an outcome.  The only reason to do something like that would be that I'm operating under the faulty assumption that my body is "supposed" to look a certain way.

It's inside out and backwards.  If you want your body to look a certain way, you need to find something you love doing that will result in that.  Forcing yourself to do something you don't enjoy is a losing battle —It's only a matter of time before you get sick of doing that thing and move on to do something you really do enjoy.

What I can distinguish for myself is that starting with the results and doing whatever it takes to get there is silly.  If I can let go of the thought that my body has to look a certain way to be attractive, or that there's an objective "best way" for my body to look, then all that working out becomes utterly pointless.  I don't derive any pleasure from it, so there's no reason for me to continue on with it.

Me?  I traded in my gym pass for a pair of tennis shoes and a new racquet — and all it took was a single thought.