ROTH: Falling into old patterns

Megan Roth writes a regular column about life and pop culture

I have learned a bit about myself during this self-isolation period.

I’ve learned that I get antsy when I sit still for too long. I’ve also learned that a big stress relief for me is baking – lately I’ve been testing different brownie recipes to create the best brownie.

I’ve learned that isolation can be draining. I just feel exhausted all the time, even when I have done nothing more all day than move from the bed to the couch.

The biggest thing I have learned is how terrible I am at home workouts.

I’ve tried for years to do workouts from home. I follow a few fitness YouTubers and Instagram influencers I had hoped would inspire me to fitness excellence.

That never happened.

Instead I would watch the video, think it looked easy enough and then never complete the workout.

Then, this New Year I made the resolution to actually do something about my fitness. I started taking a few classes, I joined a fitness challenge, got my stress eating under control.

In two months I lost about eight pounds.

And then March hit. And then COVID took control.

I naively thought I would be fine working out from home while gyms were closed during the outbreak. I believed I had conquered my motivation problems with home workouts. I was certain my new eating habits were going to ride through the isolation. I looked forward to coming out of my home after the pandemic was considered over and be better for it.

A challenge, I told myself. This is nothing more than a challenge you can overcome.

Two months later, and the challenge has overcome me.

I have gotten back into my old patterns. Watch a fitness video and then do nothing afterwards. My yoga mat is collecting dust in my hall closet, and I’m not entirely sure where my gym shoes are.

The stress relief of going to the gym a few times a week has become baking the perfect brownie.

At most I go out for a walk, but usually just so I can play Pokemon Go, or to get photos for work.

Those eight pounds of weight I lost at the beginning of the year, have since come back, with a few friends.

I’ve been thinking about the psychology behind my apparent inability to workout from home. What is mentally blocking from working out from my living room?

I think it has to do with the space. Home is my safe place, where I can be comfortable and relax. Exercising is neither comfortable nor relaxing.

At home I am free to just be a potato, because no one else is looking, no one else cares.

At the gym I have motivation. I paid for a membership, other people are working just as hard, trainers and instructors are watching. At home I have none of this, so I don’t work as hard, so why even bother. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

It was never my goal to become a bikini model or something like that, I rather like the way I look, I just don’t particularly like the way I feel. So I started exercising more. I hoped to overall just be more healthy.

And now we are five months into the year, roughly two months into pandemic procedures, and I am back where I started, possibly even further back from the start line.

I’ve accepted it. Home workouts are not for me. Stressing over forcing myself into something that I hate will not help.

When this is all over, I’ll pick myself up, brush off the potato chips and start again. Until then, I’ll just be the potato bingeing the latest season of “The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel.”

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