Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Back to the bootcamp issue

Apparently I should clarify my post from earlier today.

I was talking to my best friend about the bootcamp issue. She--who runs in the park as I do, though on opposite days--doesn't get the same feel from the bootcampers as I do. She tends to think people are having a more positive experience with it than I do.

Maybe they are.

I asked her, "So how many people do you know who have had success with bootcamp getting them on a roll to get in shape?"

Answer: None.

"What good do you think it does in their lives then?"

She thinks it could put certain people on a path towards exercising regularly by jolting them into it. And if it does, hallelujah--more power to them. If it sets them on a path that they can then cling to, that's great!

But no one I know, and know one she knows, has had that experience. I know several people who have bootcamped at one point or another. What has happened to each and every one of them is that they are in constant pain while they are bootcamping. They aren't a bit sore; they are really, constantly sore. They hate the exercise while they are doing it. They hate getting up in the mornings to go. But they think they should do it because they think "someone has to get my lazy ass out there." I am not making up that statement; I've heard it before from someone in boot camp. "I don't have enough will power to do it on my own." That's another. They think someone has to be yelling at them for them to keep going.

What happens when bootcamp ends? Well, the external controls have evaporated. They haven't found exercise they enjoy. They are tired of early mornings. They are tired of being sore. It drops off immediately or fades out. Some of them do it all over again six months later.

Melissa, in the comments from the last post, thinks I am being unsympathetic or unempathetic to people who are doing bootcamp, and sardonically wants me to know that I am "not more self-actualized" than the people who are doing the bootcamp.

Far be it for me to say that I am more self-actualized than anyone else. As these unnamed people are not living my life, and I am not living theirs, I could not say. But I can say this: I am more self-actualized than I was when I thought that getting my life in order required someone else to play the adult in my life. I am the adult. I had to get my money in order, and that took me a couple of years. I am getting my weight and health right, and that is also taking a couple of years. I am further along in the process of living a good, solid, inwardly rich life than I was when I thought that Weight Watchers or my boyfriend or anyone else was better at knowing what was good for me than I could figure out with my own research, experimentation, and self-knowledge.

Melissa thinks I am not empathetic to others on their weight loss journeys. But I am--boy am I. I have been overweight since about the 4th grade, and I know what it's like to struggle and struggle and struggle.

The truth is, I'm so empathetic that if people are wondering if struggling and struggling is all there is, I want to say, "Maybe that's not all there is."

Since 2005, I've lost over 45 pounds in a slow, gradual process. It has not been painful; it's been joyful.

What I want to share, along with my own struggles (of which there have been plenty), is what I have learned, and that is that we can do this weight loss thing and this getting healthy thing and not have it be such a frustrating struggle where we feel bad about ourselves whenever we make an 'off the plan' decision. We can make this whole process about taking control of our lives in a purely positive fashion and not let it be something that belittles us in any way. I want all of us to come out of this process feeling stronger and more capable--not more controlled by outside rules and forces but more able to take on the world knowing we can take it on successfully.

So let me say: if bootcamp does that for you somehow, have at it, and I hope you enjoy it--really! But if you have tried bootcamp or if you have tried other methods and feel like a failure, you are not a failure. You just haven't found the way that offers you your power back yet. You are a wonderful person who is still searching for a way to take control of her own health. And it is in you to do so in a long, gradual, possibly lifelong process.

5 comments:

Andrea said...

I took a bootcamp class a few years ago. It had me up and at the gym at 6 am three days each week (IIRC) in the WINTER. I definitely think it had a positive and lasting impact on my fitness. The instructor was a flake, tho! Haha.

I lived next door to a woman my age who was also super motivated. Together, the two of us woke each other up and held each other accountable. I worked out 5 days/week that winter. I wish I had a similar partner now. And that same rec center. :( Self-motivation is NOT my strength.

melissa said...
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Melissa said...
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the veggie paparazzo said...

Melissa, you are not welcome as a commenter on my blog anymore. Any future comments you leave will be immediately deleted. If you want a soapbox to insult people, get your own blog.

the veggie paparazzo said...

Andrea, it's very possible I just don't get it. If you found it empowering, that's all to the good.