Why Working Out Is More Than Just Being "Skinny"
I promise this post is about working out and my "why" but you are going to have to hear my back story, so stick with me to the end!
2 years ago today. June 23, 2015. It started out as a totally normal day, and ended with me in emergency surgery.
That morning I was headed out with the college group at my church to stay at a cabin in Plain, Leavenworth. We got there, set up our things, and started to make dinner. My now husband, but boyfriend at the time, had brought his dirt bike and I was itching to get on it and ride. I finished up in the kitchen and ran down to change into jeans and my tennies so I could jump on the bike. As I got on the bike, I could tell that it was a bit big for me. I could barely sit on the seat and reach the ground, let alone keep it upright. But i didn't care. I was so excited to feel the rush riding through the woods as fast as I dared. Somehow I managed to get on and start riding. Straight towards the parked van
To my horror, as I started riding toward the parked van in the driveway, I was unable to turn the bike. I froze. And as I did so, I gripped the handle of the bike which also happened to be the gas for those that don't know dirt bikes. My leg took full impact as I catapulted at 25 miles an hour into the parked van.
I landed about five inches away from the trailer hitch and a foot away from a concrete pillar for the house. As I fell, I saw my leg flop and I knew that I had completely shattered my leg. It was the scariest moment of my life as I let out a blood curdling scream.
And then it was silent. Dead silent. I don't know if my mind just shut down, or it it was because the only people that moved were my husband and our pastor as they frantically tried to get me into the van so we could get to the hospital.
All I could think as we were driving was the horrible thought, that I may never regain full mobility of my leg. I knew by how much I was bleeding and by the way my leg looked that my bone was no longer inside of my body.
I went into emergency surgery that night, where they proceeded to put a rod from my knee to my ankle and four screws into my leg.
This was the summer before my senior year of nursing school, and I was told that there was a good chance I would be unable to finish out the year because I wouldn't be able to put weight on my leg for very long periods of time.
I am not really one to be told I can't do something. In fact, I usually do exactly what I am told I can't do simply to prove that I can. So a week after surgery, I was walking on my leg without crutches. I fought, tears, exhaustion, nausea, and discouragement alllll summer. And if I'm being honest, for a good year after the accident. There are even days now that I can feel the tears welling up because I hurt and it sucks.
But wow, this accident has changed me. It has made me realize that I am stronger than I ever thought I was, it has given me the ability to empathize with my patients who have life altering medical changes, and it reminded me of the blessing a healthy body is.
I was never really one for exercise before my accident. Yeah, I called myself athletic but I was far from it. When I started to recover, I had to work. HARD. To get back to where I was before my accident. And as I started to come up on my one year anniversary of my accident, I decided it was time to get serious about using the healthy body that I had and taking care of it the best that I could.
I joined a Beachbody accountability group and decided to give it a go. It was just 21 days so why the heck not? By the end of the twenty one days, I was shocked. The numbness I had in my leg from the damage that was done was significantly less. I could walk, run and jump without wincing every time. It was the kind of moment that brought me to tears.
Those 21 days jump started my desire to never take for granted the gift that I had of being able to exercise that some people only wish they had.
I hear often, "you don't need to work out, you're already skinny" or "you can eat anything you want, you are so tiny." The thing is, I totally get it. Before my accident, I thought the same thing. I thought I was exempt from needing to exercise. The fact is, no one is. And it doesn't matter if you are skinny, curvy, male, female, exercise is good for you!
Don't shame people for doing something just because you wish you were. Empower them to be healthy and let it encourage you to do the same.
Fitness is about so much more than being skinny. It is about being HEALTHY. It's about creating habits that will keep you active, mentally healthy, and physically fit. It's about taking care of your body and your mind.
The reality is, if I don't work out, my leg goes numb, and if I eat a bunch of crap, my leg is so painful because of the inflammatory response that sugar creates. Working out is so much more for me than just being "skinny." It's about being pain free. It's about the joy I get when I am able to squat, jump, or lift more than I ever have. It's about the fact that my leg actually has muscle definition instead of just looking like a blob because the bone structure is so disfigured.
I have an ugly scar on my leg to remind me of my why. It used to discourage me, make me feel weak, ugly, and ashamed. But I have come to embrace it. I have come to realize that it isn't ugly, but beautiful. It is a constant reminder of how far I have come and how far I have yet to go. Maybe you have an ugly scar of your own. But don't let it be ugly. Let it be empowering, let it be beautiful, let it become your why.
Or maybe you are still looking for your why. I urge you to keep searching. Maybe you already have a why but are struggling to find the motivation. Keep persevering. Know that you are doing something for yourself you will never regret.