From Gym Hater to Self-Care Enthusiast: Embracing Exercise and Nutrition

by | Jun 8, 2023 | 0 comments

TL;DR: From hating the gym to embracing self-care, my journey began when I found out about my high cholesterol. With the guidance of a nutritionist, I learned to nourish my body and focus on overall health instead of weight loss. Starting with at-home workouts and later joining a gym, I discovered my strength and found joy in the process. My approach is centered around self-care and balance, free from comparison or seeking validation. This personal journey has transformed my mental well-being, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to prioritize my health and find happiness along the way.


I never thought or even wanted to be a gym person. I didn’t love the idea of changing into workout clothes nor trying to fit into the 5 am club! Never appealed to me. I used to refer to myself as weak and uninterested in exercise. Despite several attempts in the past, statistics proved correct, as my gym memberships rarely lasted more than three months. Little did I know that my perspective would change, and I would love my gym time to the point that it’s on my calendar as part of my work routine. 

The Turning Point:

I found out my cholesterol levels were high, and it made sense; I was constantly fatigued and sleepy. Determined to improve my health, I made an appointment with a nutritionist. I loved it since their approach centered on nutrition, educating me on making better choices and fostering a healthier relationship with food rather than the traditional: losing weight plan. Over six months, I followed a meal plan incorporating more vegetables and vibrant colors into my daily meals. Weight loss was not my main focus; I embraced the joy of nourishing my body from within.

Taking the First Step:

My nutritionist recommended exercising at least three times a week as part of my journey toward better health. Despite my hesitation to join a gym, I decided to sign up for an at-home challenge. Encouragement came in the form of a friend who joined me on this fitness journey, promising to keep each other accountable, (Thank you, Cece!) During one of my workouts at home, my two-year-old daughter observed my every move, imitating the exercises with her adorable enthusiasm. At that moment, my reasons for exercising became clear: to lower my cholesterol but also showing up for myself and my family. Showing my daughter that exercise and movement are fun. Did I discover exercise and nutrition as self-care?

Discovering a New Passion:

I decided to join a brand-new gym near my home. Initially, I felt how my body adjusted to the new routine and relearned its movements. As a former jazz dancer, I had always been active in my childhood, I was overwhelmed by the idea of lifting weights, doing cross-fit training, and even running – it seemed daunting. Surprisingly, I discovered that I could achieve things I never thought possible. Day by day, I showed up! My strength grew weekly, and I was proud of my progress and the care I showed my body that mattered and that I needed exercise and nutrition as self-care.

Finding Balance and Self-Care:

Unlike the stereotypical gym-goer, I don’t obsessively weigh myself or count calories. My primary focus is to incorporate exercise and nutrition as self-care practices and maintain a healthy lifestyle. As a co-founder of TYSAH, I have the privilege of incorporating my gym time into my work schedule, allowing me to prioritize my well-being. I exercise at my own pace, free from the pressure of comparison or expectations. I don’t feel guilty about indulging in things I enjoy, like chocolate, pizza, or beer, because balance is essential. Rest is just as crucial as exercise, and I’ve learned to honor my body’s need for both.

Embracing the Journey:

My exercise routine is not about achieving a particular body type or competing with others. It’s a personal journey unique to me and my goals. I don’t post gym selfies on social media or boast about my accomplishments, as my journey is profoundly personal and inwardly fulfilling. I respect and admire those who rise early and lift heavy weights; their path is their own, and I celebrate the diverse experiences and goals of others. Exercise is about self-care, nourishing my body, and ensuring a steady supply of serotonin, a natural mood enhancer. These journals have helped me keep track of my progress.


Looking back, I am immensely proud of how far I have come. From hating the gym to eagerly marking my gym time on my calendar, I’ve discovered how exercise and nutrition transform mental well-being. My high cholesterol diagnosis sparked the change, and with guidance and determination, I’ve built a healthier lifestyle. Today, I am grateful for the opportunity to prioritize self-care and care for my body. It is not about perfection or comparison; it’s about embracing my journey and finding joy in the process.


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