Hello friends! How long has it been since I shared anything fitness or health related? Several such posts sit here in draft form, but over and over again I feel like my thoughts are either repetitive or useless. But today! Today I feel a small, welcome personal epiphany and also have cause to mark the calendar, so let’s chat.
First, the calendar. As of today I have exactly one month before marathon training begins for the November Route 66 race. This will be my first time running in the hills of Tulsa, and I am already excited!
One month means… Four weeks to tighten up my eating habits. (So that I’m not dieting but fueling for energy the way my own body likes it.) Four weeks to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of running when I want, for however much I want, at any pace my legs see fit, or just for fun. Four weeks of spending workout time and energy on other pursuits, if I groove to. This past spring while regaining fitness from that ankle sprain (it is still swollen actually) I fell in love with hiking and barre. Yoga has proven to be much more than stretching, too. Plus we have been extremely busy at the farm, which burns both time and calories. So when my weekly mileage is low, it’s because I have been indulging in these other wonderful activities.
Okay. The idea of sustainable fitness is what’s been the small but welcome epiphany for me.
The other day I was wallowing in a custom blend of self-pity and frustration, all about how in five months I have not lost more weight. Five months of watching my food intake, running between 10-21 miles per week, dabbling in strength, etcetera… And my gosh drinking so much water!! I don’t even put sugar in my coffee anymore, haha! (Cue pitiful violins.) So I looked at myself that particular day and freaked out, thinking why hasn’t all this effort paid off better? The answer came almost instantly. Your effort has been medium at best. In addition to all of those great habits (and they are habits by now, truly) I have also enjoyed heaps of popcorn while watching movies, said yes to pizza and greasy Reuben sandwiches and ice cream with friends, eaten salty chips and salsa for lunch more often than I want to admit, and generally allowed myself more easy days than not. So, okay. Honesty with yourself is good. Maybe a touch of acclimation in there, too. Our bodies get used to the status quo.
More importantly, though? In the midst of those healthy-not healthy habits, in the midst of that balance, these four things are very new to me, and this is my proof that I have finally found some sustainable fitness:
- I feel comfortable enough with myself to take a fun Hula-Tahitian dance class with strangers or go swimming at a public pool or run in shorts out in public, etcetera, without worrying one bit. Just have fun. Way less self-conscious, way less annoying.
- I know that I can keep all of this up indefinitely, that this is my easy-effort baseline even among a hectic schedule, and it’s all fun! I am eating and moving in ways that make me feel really great, whether or not any of it fits a certain plan. The confidence that I can keep myself healthy no matter what is going on in life and without being obsessive in the kitchen is a wonderful gift.
- These months of experimenting with different eating habits and exercise options have taught me a lot about my own mind and body. So much. I believe more strongly than ever that each of us has a unique chemistry that asks for a unique blend of diet and exercise and that maybe women especially have fluctuating needs week to week (the moon affects more than the garden!). For this reason I have dropped out of all 90-day challenges. I resist all those cute graphics on Pinterest. You know what I’m talking about. Calories and macros are- ehh- well the jury is out and aggravated. On a related note, I have been weeding out social media accounts that exude any negative or confusing vibes about health and happiness. I still have goals, but knowing what methods work best for me is wonderful!
- The things we do to promote our health should be our servants, not our masters. Unless we are in a health crisis, or once we have a grip on things, they should be negotiable parts of our schedule that support a life well lived, not roadblocks to living fully. Does that makes sense? I’m not suggesting that we make excuses to be lazy; only that sometimes we seek a broader view of the world and of how we live in it.
So. I have not lost a million pounds since January. So what. Maybe that was unnecessary anyway. I might have changed measurements but don’t really know because I have been focused on other priorities, which is the best part of a hiatus. What is certain is that I am a bit stronger and way more flexible than I was when I sprained my ankle and had to halt marathon training before it really began. I feel sleeker overall (same weight, more muscle) and more energetic for sure. Having worn a Fit-bit for a few months, I know what times of day I am most tempted to be lazy; and by tracking my food scrupulously I know when I am most likely to eat junk and what that junk is (it rhymes with Florzilla Quips.)
With all this glorious perspective, that custom blend of self-pity and frustration is so silly and unwelcome. The progress I have made is more emotional than physical, anyway; so maybe it will be more long-lasting. I wish the same for you, if you need it.
Okay! Happiest possible Monday to you. Thanks for listening, and I hope your goals and methods are serving you really well, with so much love.
“I really don’t think I need buns of steel.
I’d be happy with buns of cinnamon.”