Your Journey to a Healthy, Fit Life

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I want to talk to you today about starting a change or in my case beginning a journey to a healthy, fit life. How many times have you said the words "Maybe", "Tomorrow", "Next ___", "But", "Should" and "Want"? It's time to replace those with NOW, I can and I will. 

Starting a program or new lifestyle is frightening. Your biggest fear is likely failure. You've tried before and you gave up. Life and stress wore you down to the point of giving in. I know, because I've been there. You don't get to my size without feeling that failure and embarrassment. You don't want to go to the gym or wear a bathing suit because people will see you. You fear running into people you haven't seen in a long time because of what they may think. Stop it! Your worst critic is YOU. What's holding you back? Who is holding back? I would bet my entire savings account (don't get excited, there's not much in there!) that the answer is YOU

So let's get started.

Exercise is embarrassing at first. I won't lie. I sweat, I stink, my face turns BRIGHT red within seconds, I'm clumsy, and my balance sucks. Here's the thing though, all of that is true for everyone in the gym. I'm not the biggest, clumsiest, smelliest person in the gym but I couldn't tell you who is. You know why? Because I don't notice them. I'm too busy paying attention to myself and what I am doing. I will also bet my checking account (again don't get excited, this offer is only good today and I don't get paid until tomorrow) that the skinny, fit, beautiful chick over there isn't paying attention to me either. You know who she's paying attention to? Herself...and maybe that hot guy over there. Heeeeyyyyyy, check him out...Sorry, back to this. Um, where were we? Oh yeah, no one cares about what you look like. Everyone has done something dumb or embarrassing. People fart in yoga class, fall on their face, fall during step class, turn the wrong way in Zumba or can't seem to raise opposite arms and legs. It happens and no one cares but you, so stop caring. Got it?

Now take a second to read this, Hey Fat Girl!, and then come back to me. I'll wait.

Moving on. Let's talk about where you're going to start. Some people take up running on day 1 and others just start getting out of bed each day. Both of these are commendable and require the same amount of effort. I can't run. Heck, I can't jog. When I get on the treadmill, I'm going fast if I hit 3.0. Some days, yesterday for example, I don't go over 2.0. But it's all exercise. Actually, you don't even need to go to the gym. Work out in your own living room. Do laps around the house. Practice sitting and standing. Work with what you've got and do what feels good. Any movement you add into your life is a start. You'll get there. Just go at your own pace and eventually you will be able to run, if you want to. Me? I have no desire to run. It just doesn't appeal to me. I want to be able to run, but I don't see myself becoming a runner. Maybe that'll change, maybe not. But I don't ever have to run if I don't want to. There are so many ways you can exercise, don't judge your fitness based on one type.  

I try to exercise every single day. That doesn't mean that I'm biking 60 miles or running 20. I'm doing Aqua classes and Tai Chi with 80 year olds. Some of them are much more able than I am. But that's ok. When I am no longer getting something out of it I'll move on, but for right now those workouts are doing good for me. When I did Tai Chi last week, I was pouring sweat and I felt the workout. Things that shouldn't have caused my muscles to work hard had them burning. I'm not in shape by any means. The point is that you have to start somewhere. Run if you can but army crawl if you need to. It's ok. You're still lapping the people on the couch.

This is very, very true. Do something every day, even if you don't want to. It doesn't have to be big, just stretching or a short walk is worth it. There is no more starting over, no more fresh starts. You only have one life to live and there are no do overs. If you have a bad day, shrug it off and get back to work. Forget about failure, there's no such thing. Yes, there will be hurdles, but honey you can just jump over them. If you do trip over it, dust yourself off and keep going. 

There will be pain. You cannot avoid it, but you do need to learn the difference between good pain and bad pain. They will both hurt. Good pain comes from things you're not used to doing and your muscles getting stronger. If I haven't been in a while or if I increase my activity, my used muscles will be sore and achy for a couple days. While it hurts, I baby it but keep going. I stretch more and take lots of warm showers. Bad pain comes from over doing it or doing something at an intensity that you're not ready for. Exercise should never hurt while you do it. It's ok to feel a burning sensation, that's how you know it's working but if it's real pain, stop. Find your limits and respect them. Push yourself but don't injure yourself. No one can tell you what you are and are not capable of including yourself until you try. Don't force you to do something that you're not physically ready for. It's better to keep working out at a lower level than to injure yourself and be out completely.

We good here? Great! So get going. Don't wait for tomorrow, start right now. Even if all you do is stand up and walk around your house, it's a start. Get to it!

P.S My trainer was unable to measure me yesterday because of a time misunderstanding, so I will not be measured until next Wednesday.


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