The Most Popular Promise
I know the most popular New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and get fit. It is also the one that most people give up the quickest. But this past winter I hit my heaviest weight of my life. And I was farthest from my fitness goal. Though I was still working out and eating “healthy-ish” I got to the point where I was uncomfortable in my skin. And the brutal winter temperatures made going outside torturous most days. For me to say that is alarming because I absolutely love snow and all snow based activities.
However, for four months, I found myself basically secluded in the apartment. And when I am cold, I eat carbs. I love carbs as much as I love snow. It is a problem. So my clothes felt tighter and I felt weaker. And my self-esteem started to plummet. Not because it is tied solely to my appearance but because I did not feel like myself.
Fitness Goals: Definitely Not That
So I want to be clear here. My fitness goal is not to be stick thin or drop 50 pounds in 2 months. I have not and will not go on crazy diets to meet the clichéd fitness resolution. My goal is to be healthy, proud and comfortable in my body. I have long ago accepted that I will always be on the curvy side (which my husband is all for). But I have the wish to be strong, to feel strong. And I love the effort I have to put in to get there. I love to exercise. I can hear a lot of you groaning and thinking, “No one likes to exercise.” But I promise you I do. I like lifting, I like pushing myself. I love pretty much any outdoor activity and with the beautiful summer we are having, I have taken full advantage.
I have been a pretty active person since middle school. My genetics, unfortunately, make it difficult for me to shed weight and, even more unfortunate, I was told this often since an early age. As a teenager, I took this as a challenge of something I could overcome with extreme measures. For a few years I cut my calories down to 800 a day, stopping only to switch to a new extreme. Working out like mad. I ran 12 miles a day on top of any other activities I was doing at the time. I did cross-country and track in high school. I became consumed by it. Fortunately, college and graduate school helped me to mellow out a bit. I got to try new activities like belly dancing, ballet and Tae Kwon Do.
Listening To The Body
Through trying out these activities, I learned what my body is good at and responds to fitness wise. I also learned that my goal for each workout session needs to be to listen to my body, push it where I can, but really enjoy the process. My husband helped me out a ton by getting me a fitness tracker watch for my birthday. It has helped me see how much I actually do throughout the day and set numerical goals. It is also helping me to celebrate how much I have done. So when I am having trouble to see the results in the mirror, I can look at the charts of each month and see that I have done the work.
The best example I can think of was earlier this Spring. I used my watch for about four months and working out every day. However, because of the lack of evidence in the mirror, I doubted how much progress I had really made. One gorgeous Saturday, I decided to go for a hike. After getting a little lost, I decided to climb up to a road so I could get my bearings. Once I figured out my location, I decided to run back to the car. I did a 90-minute workout that day. That mixture of hiking and running that had my heart pumping the entire time was my turning point. As I ran in the sunlight, I found myself smiling. I felt like a beast. And I felt free.
I am still working on my fitness goals. I hope that I can cut back a little fat here and there. I would like my clothes to fit better of course. But you know how they say that “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels?” Well I argue that feeling skinny would not come close to the feeling I got running down that mountain. So I am going to work until I am proud and then set new healthy goals.
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