A woman doing crunches on a mat is sweating but is also crying.

IB(exerci)S(ing) On the Daily

As quarantine boredom set in by mid-April and I had eaten my fair share of baked goods through the tornado of my mother's quarantine boredom, I decided to start working out. Before April, I had worked out occasionally, on average 3-4 times a month, to ensure that I kept "healthy" but not necessarily "fit." One of my friends suggested we try doing online "boot camp" workouts and Facetime each other to keep motivated.

Seeing improvement

We are now on our second boot camp workout and have been working nearly every day since mid-April. So, as a result, I've started to see parts of my body shift and change, to my immense delight. However, my abdominal region has not changed an ounce. No matter how many crunches or Russian twists I've done in the past two and a half months, and no matter how much my bum has lifted and rounded, and no matter how much muscle I've gained in the back of my legs, my abs and stomach area have not slimmed down or flattened.

How my friends see my exercise

When I was discussing this sore point with another friend also doing at-home workouts, she said "I get bloated sometimes too, but you just have to try harder." Now, it's not her fault, and she wasn't trying to be insensitive, because she's worked just as hard as me to strengthen her body, but she just doesn't understand that my bloating isn't just lactose or regular food bloat that'll go away with some extra plank workouts or, to be crass, a healthy bowel movement. My abdominal area is and has been for over 4 years, distended. No amount of exercise (even though I am determined to have the nicest bum in all of Canada) will ever change that.

It's a fact I have to accept but it's frustrating. It's frustrating to see my friend, who, just like me, wasn't working out regularly until 3 months ago, and who "bloats a little sometimes," achieve the "shredded" abs/flat stomach look that I would love to have. It's frustrating for me to hear a great guy friend of mine, who I've previously been intimate with but have no romantic feelings towards, say that a girl he's interested in has "a nice body" because she has a flat stomach but he's never made that comment to me. Yes, sure, this is a little shallow of me to think this way, but it's frustrating that my IBS limits my ability to shape my body the way I want it to be shaped.

How my IBS limits my exercise in other ways

This is also not to mention that too much cardio in a workout can limit me as well. There have been many times in the past that I have run for the toilet because everything down there has gotten too shaken up and jiggled around quite too much. So, now, with the "boot camp" workouts I am doing, I am limited to modified options whenever there is the slightest bit of cardio in fear that I will have to pause my workout to run for the toilet.

Although I can press pause, do my thing, and go back, stopping in the middle of a workout isn't supposed to be good. I will definitely be stressed out for when I will head back to a gym at some point and tackle the same issue.

The sense of defeat and resignedness in knowing that I'll never achieve what I want from my fitness goals is truly heart-wrenching.

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