The word fitness has many connotations, but for me it means: strong, capable, well-rounded, confident, and healthy. It is a source of joy, perspective, fun, community, grounding, stability, challenge, and accomplishment. Being fit makes me a better person. I am a better wife, mom, friend, neighbor because of my fitness. As a result, I am a fitness evangelist. I want to spread the word and share the endorphin gospel!
On Wednesday, I had the great opportunity of leading a workshop at a local mom’s group that I am a part of. The topic was “Living Fit”, a passion of mine. I led two 45 minute sessions with 50 or so women. It was a wonderfully enriching experience for me and the highlight of my week.
We started our time with a
Ice Breaker Sweat Breaker – 10 minutes of intervals to get the heart rate up and give us a mid-morning boost. Any activity is better than no activity. Even a brief 10 minute workout can change your physical and mental wellbeing. This is a newly adopted concept for me, but one that I find so applicable to my daily life as a mom.
While there are so many components to fitness, I focused our attention on one thing: our motivation. Sticking to healthy habits isn’t easy for any of us, but it can be especially tricky for us moms. Our time/sleep/life is not our own. As we balance the demands of motherhood, maintaining a consistent and healthy life style is easier said than done. It’s all about the motivation. We must get the motivation right.
There are two kinds of motivators: constructive and destructive.
- Constructive motivators affirm our value as individuals. They are sustainable, promote balance, and create healthy habits. Examples include: preparing for experiences we hope to have (hiking, snowboarding, surfing, successful forearm stand), short term goals (triathlon, race, etc), long term goals (running with your grandkids, live to be 100, etc.)
- Destructive motivators tear down our value. They are unmaintainable and create/promote unhealthy behaviors. Examples include: distorted sense of what’s attainable, competition with others, physical appearance, clothing size, sex appeal, weight.
I spent most of my teens and 20’s focused on destructive motivators – mainly my weight and shape. I was obsessed with certain “trouble spots” and would go to unhealthy lengths in attempt to see changes. The result was a weak, skinny, anxious, insecure girl. While I may have looked good, I was far from fit and even further from happy.
For the past several years, I have been on a personal journey of letting go of the destructive motivators and choosing to focus on the goals that align with my personal values of improving myself as a wife, mother, friend, and neighbor. It is not easy for me. I find myself easily caught up in the metrics that don’t matter – I have to consciously decide to let go. For instance, at the doctors office, I intentionally turn around on the scale so that I cannot see my weight. That number has held my attention for long enough. That number is a trap. It’s bull shit. It reflects nothing of my value. It is not representative of my fitness. That number is irrelevant. You know what else is irrelevant? Whether or not I have a thigh-gap (we have already talked about that here). Other members of the Irrelvant Club include: the stretch marks on my hips, the back chub around my bra, and the dimples on my buns. Forget about it! It is not relevant.
On the contrast, I focus on the goals that sustain a lifetime of fitness, health, balance, and confidence. These motivators support my role as mom/wife/world citizen and encourage me to fully commit myself to fitness. A few of my motivators…
- My Fun Fit Friends community
- Feeling comfortable in my own skin
- The dream of running with my grandkids in a baby jogger
- Set an example for my daughters – strong, capable, confident, happy, joyful,
- My body is a tool that allows me to interact with the world – I don’t want my body to limit my experiences
- Hiking, running, surfing, snowboarding, backpacking with my husband
- I will be a runner, forever and always
- Aspiring yogi trickster
By focusing on these motivators, I have improved my health and fitness. As a matter of fact, I have never been so fit (capable, strong, confident, healthy, balanced, joyful) in my life. So, I will continue to spread the good word – focus on what is good, true, valuable, and relevant.