Why Do I Maintain a Fit and Healthy Lifestyle?

I grew up an athlete but somewhere after high school that changed. Society and the media got into my head that I had to be skinny to be beautiful, and endless amounts of cardio was the only way to achieve that. For about a decade I had an on-again-off-again relationship with exercise because I absolutely hated doing it. I would go to the gym and hop on the elliptical for an hour every morning for a few months, and then go six months without it because I was so bored. I really liked the thought of myself being a runner, so I used to force myself to go on runs to the park and back. However, that did not stick because I genuinely do not enjoy running.

It wasn't until my thirties that I learned how to do resistance training in a very intentional manner, and it turns out, that is what I love! I started doing yoga and Pilates, I came back to my dancing roots and took up ballet conditioning, and due to circumstance I learned that I really enjoy riding my bike. After giving birth to my son, I was only able to go for walks in the beginning, and I learned that I love going for a long walk while I listen to a podcast. I finally figured it out - it does not matter how I move my body, as long as I move my body! Thus in lies the joy and brilliance of reaching your thirties, you realize that you can say "Screw you!" to whatever expectations you and others have for yourself. I do not like to run, so I stopped running. I do not enjoy doing straight cardio, so I stopped using treadmills and ellipticals.

I am not sure if this realization comes with age or with parenthood, but I learned that the days are going faster and if I only have 45 minutes to move my body, I sure as hell am not going to spend that 45 minutes doing something I do not have fun doing. What a waste!

I also love the fact that the narrative is changing regarding exercise and living a fit and healthy lifestyle. When I was 19 it was all about being "skinny". That was all we cared about. Now, it is all about being strong, capable, and physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. I know that if I exercise today in a manner I enjoy, I will feel happier, I will be healthier, and I will be a better mom, wife, and friend. I personally do not subscribe to diets because diets make me unhappy and lead me to have an unhealthy relationship with food. Instead, I am mindful and intentional with my eating habits, indulging in things when I want to, but also being cognizant of the fact that if I indulge too much, my stomach will hurt and I am going to be sluggish the rest of the day. Sometimes, I make that decision... and that is OK!

Which leads to the biggest, most important part of all of this - learning to give yourself grace when you make decisions that do not align with your personal goals. Most days, I eat one cookie and stop. Sometimes, I eat half the bag. Most days, I kill my workout and finish feeling so strong and proud. Sometimes, I sit on the floor and just stretch for twenty minutes while I watch television and call it a day. All of these scenarios are perfectly acceptable! The problems arise if most days I eat half the bag of cookies and don't exercise. This usually means I am "eating my feelings" as is so commonly said, which really means that I am using food as an unhealthy coping mechanism in an effort to deal (or not deal) with a life stressor.

I live a fit and healthy lifestyle because I honestly love it. I love exercising now, I love making a new plant based recipe that my toddler will actually eat, and I love helping others realize they love the same things! I love the journey I am on, and I genuinely love being a part of my clients' journeys to self-discovery and making sustainable life changes.

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