LIFESTYLE,  WEIGHT LOSS

Why I Hated Physical Activity When I was 130 Kilos [154 lb]

The title of my post is intentionally misleading. It is fairly straightforward why a 130 kilo | 154 lb panda wouldn’t be very fond of physical activity… Or is it that simple, really?

Truth is I have always avoided physical activity, when I was only 50 kg, then 70 kg, then 90 kg, and then 130 kg. But the more alarming truth is that this is the case with many other people. They tend to account for it by thinking there is something wrong with them, or that this is part of their character, that they are simply lazy and that’s the way it is. And eventually, long down the road, they practically miss on the beauty of movement. Oftentimes we get lost in the situation and lose track of the cause of the problem, falling victim to the limits we intentionally impose on ourselves.

Mind you, in this post I’m not focusing on the physiological and biological processes leading to obesity because of not being active. A lot of people are shoving their explanations and whimsical interpretations in your face. Whether they provide you with some sound explanations or a bunch of fibs, everybody seems to disregard something fundamental that I’ll never stop promoting.

We perceive ourselves as a certain dichotomy (two parts), a union of mind and body. We never cease to separate one from the other, always trying to impact the one WITHOUT the other, simultaneously expecting to get sustainable results over time for both. In other words, everybody’s trying to be slim and happy, and in chime with themselves. Anyway, now is not the time for a lengthy philosophical debate, so fast forward a bit and think about how this type of thinking relates to the phenomenon of “I despise moving“.

How is it even possible to not like movement? People in their very core and genesis are hunter-gatherers. Movement is fundamental to evolution, this is an innate need. For God’s sake, the human body is an astonishing, perfectly-greased movement-machine, just think about Michael Phelps for a moment…

And yet, I, just like millions and millions of overweight people around the world, abhorred movement. I’ve hated physical activity ever since I was a child. Or precisely speaking, nobody taught me how to enjoy moving, and I somehow failed to do it myself. So as a rule, in the next few paragraphs the Lightmotif should be that not wanting to move, disliking physical activity in general, is not a personal trait, it’s not part of who you are, but a result of other issues and misinterpretations of life’s circumstances.

By the way many of my friends were  not the sporty type either. We used to go for games involving drawing, speaking, more of a sedentary type of activity. To have a preference for more passive activities is not an issue in itself, but turns into a huge problem when over time this preference slowly slowly evolves into a tendency and finally – an aspiration. And you arrive to that aspiration due to a number of factors which have nothing to do with genetics, biology, predisposition and fate.


No Sports Culture within the Family.


First of all, here’s what I mean by saying “sports culture”. Sports, in any shape or form, including individual sports, give people (especially kids) the opportunity to develop personal skills such as stamina, discipline and personal organization, being proactive and having a full, healthy life in social circumstances and civil society. These are all skills we build on throughout life with the help of sciences and other school subjects, but sports’ perspective ultimately solidifies these skills. Ties them to reality, to the everyday.

Nobody from my family has ever done any sports. None. Zero. Niente. It is also true, however, that none of them is overweight, every one can comfortably fit in the vague category of “normal weight”. But the lack of proper and conscious perception of movement in the family to a great extent puts at risk the child’s ability to develop it properly alone. Or if by any chance they manage to do so, it is usually due to some random turn of events or, as it was in my case, pretty late in life, involving a lot of raw conscious effort. And I mean A LOT!


Inability to Focus on Different Type of Activities in a Healthy Way


As I have already said, when I was a kid I found it tons more interesting to draw, to colour, to read, play with my animal farm set, collecting things, creating things, which gradually and dangerously degenerated into a tendency to perceive physical activity as a burden. Something annoying that had no point and took me away from more interesting and reasonable things to do. Yet, developing your motor skills is just as important, as stimulating your talents and interests in whatever area. The child may not become the next Usain Bolt or Serena Williams, so what? How about that? What price would you put on your child being strong and healthy? What about the fact that being in sync with your body is priceless? Trust me on that when I say, that it is more than worthy to nourish this sync and with a tiny bit of ingenuity and the right attitude, the process can be unbelievably joyful.

Note: Internet came into my life when I was in the 7th grade (a generation thing :D), so I’m speaking about an earlier stage, but later on Internet has definitely added to this tendency.


Sweat.


As a child you don’t really notice that, plus sweating as an adult is something quite different. But growing up as a physically passive overweight child (like me) at some point you start to directly link movement, which is tedious anyway due to being overweight, to sweat. At this point I already had a lot of extra weight which inevitably causes you to sweat more, naturally so – your body is straining under the pressure. And so you gradually start nourishing the primitive and over-simplified cause-effect relationship that to avoid being sweaty and sticky, and to feel uncomfortable, you better lie low, preferably in the shade.


The Stupid Sports-guy Stereotype


Naturally, I cannot account for all strata of society and communities around the world, but I come from an average post-communist Bulgarian family. And this is a background I can account for. I darethink some of my non-Bulgarian, non-Eastern European and non-post socialist readers would find this to be an awkward take on education in general, but a culture is a culture. Quite a strong force it is. Anyways, my point is we have always treasured education, my parents are university graduates (both masters), and my grandparents have striven to provide that most important gift to their children. So the tacit agreement is that it is more important to be smart and knowledgeable, darn the good physical shape. And combining this piety to being educated with the lack of sports culture, and my persistent tendency for passive activities, we arrive at outright contempt and arrogance towards sports and people who place movement on an equal footing with their education. After all nobody wants to be dumb, but who cares about a few extra kilos, right? The worst thing is, however, that this attitude to physical activity is ridiculously promoted as the more successful and moral position. And it is in a toxic relationship with the inner beauty concept and what is truly valuable in a human being. This perception still haunts society and frankly speaking it pisses me off. Why now when I’m no longer overweight you might be tempted to ask? Well, a slight conceptual distortion like that practically caused me to spend 25 precious years of my life struggling with uncertainty and missing out on one of the greatest joys of being alive – being active.

And so factor after factor, brick by brick, kilo after kilo gained, there comes a moment when you actually become overweight. Shortly after you are already obese, and all of the above mentioned factors have not only remained with you, but they are pressuring you even more. The box you’re in becomes harder and harder to break out of and the vicious Merry-Go-Round spins even faster.

Just a second!  Just a second! As dear Judge Judy would always say :D. We’ve spoken about different factors, different reasons but here you are with the result at hand. You’re overweight. Fat. Obese. Now what? Here are the two logical questions that come straight to mind.

I. Should you blame only others and the circumstances for the situation you’re in?

II. Is this vicious circle truly that hopeless and should you take pity on yourself to the end of time?

The short answer to question number 1 is “no”. Constantly blaming others and circumstances is not only defeatist, but quite a disgraceful attitude to life in general. It is yours and nobody else’s responsibility to take care of your own life. Nobody’s.

The short answer to question number 2 is a logical follow-up to the answer of the first question. This is not the end of the road. There is always hope. The only irreversible thing is death, everything else is a matter of effort. So what you need to do, urgently I would say, is to get rid of that self-pity. Now! It is counterproductive, pointless and downright stupid. Pinpointing the heart of the real problems is never easy, admitting it to ourselves is twice as hard, but the important thing is that once we do, we already have a direction. So taking control of your body and mind is just a step forward in that direction. And please, please, please remember that you have no deadlines. It’s never too late to take up on that road.

I am saying this with all the confidence you can possibly have. The confidence of a person who has “discovered” sports at 25, only after I almost suffocated going up the stairs out of the metro station. I thought I would have died at 25, guys! And the confidence of someone who has helped her mother (80 kg) to lose 20 kg at 50. The terrifying 50 – the so-called point of no return for weight-loss. Fortunately, my dear dear mom was a tint less stubborn and clueless than me in her perception of nutrition and physical activity, so it was in fact easier with her than myself really.


In other words – what’s done is done. The good news is, things can only get better from now on, if you just try to negotiate it with yourself that it is time to change :).

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Be healthy and trust yourself, your spirit and your body,

 




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