Behind The Why of Fitness

This time of year is a boon for the fitness industry. People decide to take care of their health and in droves join gyms, subscribe to a new eating plan and at some point in the month all enthusiasm is lost.

If you feel stuck or discouraged right now, take a moment to reassess. Find out your Why behind wanting to do it. Understanding the reason behind wanting to be healthy will help you succeed. Write it down, tell a friend. Doing so will help to stay on track.

It’s something I didn’t think through when I began my health journey six years ago. Though I had lost weight and achieved many goals physically I was still searching for my Why. As the years go on it keeps evolving. At the heart of it I want to avoid the health issues that my family tends to have.

But there are other things playing out. I believed that being thin would equal happiness. But instead it lead to an obsession with the amount of calories consumed or freaking out about getting workouts done.

I wasn’t able to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I had believed the lie that being thin would mean acceptance. My Why had been skewed.

What I had missed was that God made it possible for me to be healthy not for my own glory but His. I still miss it. Losing weight was needed, dealing with the compliments and attention was hard to get past. Because then it becomes all about the outside. The pressure I placed on myself then became I need to maintain this weight for acceptance. To not disappoint others.

I had to admit that a lot of my motivation was external. In hopes of being the right kind of person that would be loved. I longed for the compliments about losing weight. When I didn’t hear them as much it meant I had failed somehow.

In this journey I had to confront these motivations. As I did so, the pressure to be perfect began to fall away. My Why today is different from my Why if yesterday. Today I try to workout consistently and eat well not to gain admiration but to care for myself. Plus it’s a habit that keeps me balanced, physically, mentally and spiritually.

The Why is just as important as how one goes about being healthy.

Still Learning Healthy Skills

I was uncomfortable in my body when I was unhealthy and that did not change once I was healthier. My mind had to catch up with my body. What I did not know yet was that it would take time. Even though I was at my thinnest ever in my life, I became obsessive about two things. How flat other women’s stomachs seemed to me and counting my caloric intake. Seriously, the majority of my thoughts focused on that alone. I would sit in a room during Bible study and instead of paying attention, I would find myself staring at other women and their stomachs.

[Tweet “Were theirs flatter than mine? I need to sit up straighter so mine doesn’t poof out as much. If my stomach was flatter that guy would want to talk to me….”]

Were theirs flatter than mine? I need to sit up straighter so mine doesn’t poof out as much. If my stomach was flatter that guy would want to talk to me….

Then there was the constant counting of calories in my head. Constantly going over in my head and My Fitness Pay how much I ate and when I ate it. Calculating how much of my workouts negated the calories I had consumed.

I was exhausted. I had gone from binge eating to binge thinking about food. How much I ate, when I ate and what I ate. I spent more time on the food app then anything else.

A huge motivation during my journey to getting healthy was that it would lead to my believed fairy tale ending. I was blinded by the idea that it would be my turn, finally my turn and nothing was going to move me away from this idea! But (and there is always a but with God isn’t there), God was showing me something more. He placed people in my life who continue to cultivate the idea of His love in my life. People who challenge me and force me to really take a look at my motivations behind my goals.

I also had to grow comfortable with how my body. The key for me was coming to terms that my stomach will never be flat no matter how many ab work outs and sit ups I did. That no matter how much I count calories, there will be times that I am off or just don’t care enough.

I have gained weight since meeting my weight loss goal four years ago. Today, I am in a healthier place mentally and no longer desire to try to fit into some mold that doesn’t work for me. Meaning I still strive to be healthy, working out and eating well ( for the most part) but not freaking out as I once did when I do not. Accepting my body for what it is, for how God has made me has been so freeing.

I encourage those of you to strive for your goals, to be healthy and see the amazing things your body can do! Also learn to accept the reality of what your body will look like. There will be a time when the choices you make will be to not work our or to eat that “forbidden” food. Just try to be kind to yourself during those times. You are not less than because of these choices. How you come back from them is what will define you. Gaining health is not about getting it right all the time. It is learning skills in order to be healthy. To live a well rounded life.

I am still learning how to be healthy, and some lessons take longer than others. The biggest lesson I have learned is to keep going, that life can get in the way. Or like me one can just want a break for a time from the work out grind. And that is just fine…

 

 

The Never-Ending Weight Loss Journey

This past week a few articles about the effects of metabolism can have on those who have lost weight years after their initial weight loss. While this article focused on former The Biggest Loser winners and competitors, it made a lot of sense to me. Since I lost weight four years ago, I have slowly put on weight. A lot of what I have been struggling suddenly made sense to me.

Essentially, the body is fighting to return to my previous state. While I can do my darndest to remain at that initial weight, my body it seems has other ideas. It was so used to the amount of calories and lack of exercise that it adapted to burn off these calories. Once I began to eat more mind fully and exercise, my body did not know how to process this, and so the pounds fell off. But once things settled down for with my weight and eating habits, it then began to recover. However what it was recovering was my old metabolism, having not adapted to my new lifestyle. After all I was now smaller so there-fore my metabolism slowed down.

The reality of maintaining weight loss years later is that it takes more effort than initial weight loss. Often times it means having to always to vigilant about the food I eat. Making sure I exercise at least six days a week in order to burn off those calories. And that is just not feasible for me right now. For one thing, constantly keeping track of my calories can be exhausting and stressful. It became all I thought about it. Tracking my intake with MyFitness Pal ( which is a great app by the way and very helpful!), adding and subtracting based on the amount of exercise I did that day.

I also do not have the ample amount of time to workout as I did a few years ago. There are days when I can squeeze in a quick workout. Honestly there are days where I just really do not care what I am eating, I just want it so I will eat it. The thing to remember is weight loss is unique for each person. Some go into this journey believing that by losing weight their entire life will change. Perhaps it will and perhaps only aspects will. This in itself can lead to disappoint and therefore a why bother attitude on continuing on.

[Tweet “The reality is that weight loss is a never-ending journey, one that has its highs, lows and valleys.”].

The reality is that weight loss is a never-ending journey, one that has its highs, lows and valleysThere are times when it is easier to say no to bad habits and other times when it is harder. So many factors go into getting healthy that it can be overwhelming. These studies will continue to come out, often saying the opposite of a previous study. Along with these studies will be those opinions to follow. The only ones that matter for yourself are your doctor’s and yours.

I know better today what I want for my goals, putting into practice the tools I already know to lose weight. But also not wanting to get down to a designated number. I know what works best for my frame and sanity. That being a certain number on the scale does not necessarily equal good health. Because if mentally you are constantly worried about how much you exercise and eat then it will only lead to exhaustion and burn out. Overall health is more important than maintaining an impossible weight.

Take your time in reading these kinds of articles and studies, resist jumping to some for gone conclusion. Examine what is working for you and what isn’t. Confer with your doctor and restructure your plan if need be. Keep going, keep running or dancing. Keep cooking and eating well and try not to be too hard on yourself when those days are not the greatest.

After all  starting this journey to health is about getting to enjoy this life more so than before. Remember that.

What has been your struggle with maintaining weight loss? Do you perceive the struggle is more physical or mental?

 

Washington Post article

New York Times article

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nutritionist or clinician. I am a woman who lost weight a few years ago through healthy eating and exercising.

 

Mid Week Motivator : Sometimes You Eat a Donut

For the past few weeks I have been getting back into my running routine. So far it is working out. This past Saturday after my run, I wanted to have donuts. And I did. I enjoyed eating them immensely too.

Sometimes, you just have to eat a donut. Or whatever it is you are craving. Enjoy it and then get back to your regular eating habits. Enjoying the odd donut now and again is important on your health journey.

Mid Week Motivator: It Isn’t Easy

You see that person, jogging down the road and it strikes you how easy it comes to them. And perhaps why it does not for you. Why can’t you be like that jogger who looks so graceful?

While it can look like it is far easier for them, it may not be at all. Perhaps it was a battle just to get out there. Perhaps not.

It takes work to get to the point of looking effortless. What you don’t see is all the work and time that people have put in.  Put in the time and effort. Get out there, push yourself to get to that point too. You are capable of becoming that effortless looking runner too.

Mid Week Motivator: Adapt as Needed

Make time for those healthy choices during this hectic month. And after too.

Plan realistically. Look at what waylays you from eating well and working out. You know exactly what your kryptonite can be. Mine is sugar and laziness in working out or choosing the drive thru instead of cooking. I try to keep healthier options on hand for when those treats start to fill up the conference rooms. Or eat my bigger meal earlier in the day since I may not get home until late that night. Plan work out dates with your friends. Or create a workout to go along with that Netflix binge. In other words, Adapt as needed.

Sleep! Sleep is key in overall health.

Mid Week Motivator: Getting Sick

image

It can happen, after getting into a routine you get sick. It can be frustrating as you want to continue with it. Your brain says GO! But your body says NO! Face it, the body will win out.

But this does not mean you need to lose momentum. It just means you will go at a slower pace. Even if you are stuck in bed.

Stretching– simply getting up and doing some simple stretches can do wonders for you. They will get the blood flowing. Do this a few times a day, for as long as you are able.

Static Yoga Poses – holding a certain pose for at least 30 seconds to a minute. My favorite go to poses are chair and tree among others.

Abs– even stuck in bed you can get a few reps of bicycles, crunches etc.

Push ups
– if you can’t do them on the floor, do them on a wall or counter top. Do as many as you can get in.

It does not need to be a whole lot of reps. But doing these exercises while you are sick will help keep you in routine. Will keep the blood flowing. This is what helps me when I am sick. I do what I can when I can.

Above all drink plenty of fluids, eat well and REST!