Exercise Is NOT Punishment

Author: S. DeKeyser James

I had gastric bypass surgery on August 16, 2011 and that started my journey to getting my life back. From the moment, I woke up from anesthesia I had fixed in my mind that I was going to achieve my goal of getting healthy. I made the commitment to myself that it was time to make permanent changes for the better and I had the tools to make it happen. The first of my tools in my “toolbox” was the surgery. The next tool I needed to add was an exercise program. So I joined the gym and found a personal trainer to work with me.


With grim determination I showed up at the gym to work with my trainer three days a week. Up to this point my thinking was; I MUST exercise – it is necessary for my health.   Month after month I worked with my trainer. Slowly I grew stronger and began to build stamina — and muscles! The weight continued to melt off revealing a healthier, happier person. I felt better than I had in years!  Oh, I still thought of exercise as a kind of punishment for all the years I’d spent NOT taking care of myself.


Then this week I had a kind of revelation — Exercise is NOT punishment; it helps me.  Just like the surgery, exercise is a powerful tool to add to my toolbox. Exercise helps me achieve my goal of optimum health. Not exactly an epiphany – but that tiny shift in my thinking made me realize that everything I do should help me.  If it hinders me or stands in the way of what I want to be: a healthy, happy person, then it’s not helping me and I shouldn’t be doing anything or eating anything that doesn’t help me on my journey to a healthy, happy person.


Exercise is becoming an essential part of me and part of my new lifestyle. I read the story of a man who had weight loss surgery and lost nearly 200 pounds! He was eating right and exercising. In fact he was preparing to run his first marathon. He said his surgery date was his new birthday because he had been reborn and given a new start in life. This struck a chord in me because I too had been reborn and given another chance to get my life back.  August 16 is my new birthday! I even have the birth marks to prove it!


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