Tag Archives: new year

Resolutions

Ah, the new year. An arbitrary revolution of the calendar that gives us the illusion or the excuse at a fresh start.

I have made many resolutions over the years, mostly of the extreme or self-loathing variety. Not all of them are precipitated by the new year; that just presents a convenient excuse to brand intention into my brain. Over the course of my “fitness journey” (read: whole damn life), I have made countless goals and resolutions. And each time I fail at them or they turn on me, I tell myself that I have learned from them; that I will get it right next time. Yet, instead, I seem to find a new way of getting it wrong, another unique way of pushing it too far and perverting the intention to masochistic proportions.

So I am accepting this quirk in my pathology, this extremist tendency of mine. I am acknowledging and embracing it. I am changing my resolution paradigm. Instead, I am going to keep it simple. My goal, my new year’s resolution as it were is: BALANCE.

That’s it. Balance.

(Potentially the hardest thing ever for me, by the way.)

I want to find the compromise between a hardcore diet and binging on food. I want to exercise from a place of health, loving my body, and enjoying the activity rather than to punish my body. I want to find a way to pursue my goals while also appreciating where I am.

Balance.

I think this idea has become especially important as I recently decided to return to therapy. I have not worked with a therapist since I was pregnant and post-partum with my daughter, over 5 years ago. Yet, I very lately plunged into a bought of body dysmorphia so strong, so persistent, so pervasive that I felt compelled to reestablish a clinical lifeline.

Generally, when I am managing my crazy, I can diffuse distorted thoughts by analyzing them, dismantling them, and applying logic. It may not necessarily cure or alleviate the feelings, but generally, it brings me back to perspective enough to ride it out while preventing behavioral consequences. In this particular round, nothing had any impact on the thoughts. I could tell myself that it was physically impossible to gain any significant amount of weight overnight, yet I just continued to obsess, fixate, hate myself, plan how I would punish myself.

It was alarming enough for me to decide to do something different. It has been over two years of unhealthy obsession disguised as health and recovery. I need to break the cycle and actually create balance in my mind more than anywhere else.

I am also changing my fitness regime with the new year. After two years of being devotedly dedicated to the gym, I am dropping my membership. My favorite zumba teacher left. They dropped the hip hop class I enjoyed. I went from attending 6+ times a week to maybe 2. It is simply not worth the investment. Plus, it is time to spice things up.

In the spirit of enjoyment over punishment, I am trading the gym to return to belly dance. I am also diving into my new barre addiction. And, hamstring willing, I want to get back to more running.

I guess my new year’s resolution is to have no resolution, to learn to let go. To find my balance.

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Coming Back to Life

Instead of devoting the month of January to my running resolution, I spent the weeks dying.  I picked up a rather wicked cold while on holiday in England. I did not, however, let even this resilient virus slow me. I hit the workouts with the ravenous desperation of someone who overindulged in every beverage, snack, meal, and dessert on vacation. At my sickest week, I crammed 8 workouts and a rest day into the 7 days. While I kept pushing myself, my performance was borderline tragic, and all it earned me was mutating my English ailment in a raging sinus infection.

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I continued to workout more out of a groping for routine and an attempt at mental balance. Unfortunately, I found my crippled state pretty discouraging. Particularly with running. Running seemed to be so impossibly hard and so completely unenjoyable. I was starting to question if maybe my time with running had passed. If I no longer found joy in it, what would the point be? But maybe I should have realized that running 6 miles in the snow was a horrible idea while my sinus were so full of fluid that it was spilling into my ears.

However, pumped full of antibiotics and steroids, I am starting to glimpse health again. After a month, I was beginning to adapt to the illness and forget what it felt like to not be sick. I crested a peak this week though. Suddenly, my workouts felt incredible! Suddenly, I was able to push to my limit and not dissolve into a coughing fit that resulted in compulsive heaving.

It started with zumba yesterday. I danced in motions that felt natural to my body. I lost myself in the melody and the beat until I did not notice my heart racing or sweat pouring. At the end, I realized I was not dying. I finally felt good again. Sated.

Then tonight, I had an amazing run. Trisha and I hit the run club 10K hard, harder than we have in months. The weather was chilled; my lungs were cooperative. At times, it felt like my legs flew unaided.

In the shortest terms, running felt like running again. It was everything I remembered it to be and everything I was missing about it.

My breathing was not strangled; it flowed in a way to fuel me. My form solidified. I found my chest lifted, shoulders rolled down, hips tucked in above legs that found long strides. It felt like all the work I had been doing for months was finally evident. The way I ran just felt right. I even found clouds of float punctuated along the route. It had been so long since I had such a pleasant run that it almost felt foreign.

I know every run will not be this blissful. I know that extremely well. More often than not, the runs will not be so euphoric. However, I also know to take the experience, suck all the joy out of it, and stow it to remember why I do this to myself week after week.

Christina Bergling

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