What does it take to accept who you are first, then your body and all of its blemishes, cellulite, rolls, wrinkles – AND AGING – and all that comes with it?
Are you chasing happiness in places it does not really exist or are you investing in yourself because it really matters to you? Fitness can be enticing because it is something you can “do” to change. Sometimes what we stop doing makes the greatest impact.
A fit mind is essential to overall health and wellness. It takes a non-airbrushed view of your whole life to really see how you can feel, what you are capable of and become “fit at 50” (or any age). Knowing who you are at your core contributes to the strength your “core”.
This path to acceptance may not be easy or quick because your personal history may include episodes of deprivation or food addiction. Maybe a rogue coach who forced you into abusive ___(sports)___ practice. Or you were chided as a child about your ___(body part A)___ or ___(body part B)___. You never engaged in fitness rather than risk embarrassment among “the exercise elite” at ___(big box gym)___ and now you feel “too far gone”.
Good news! There is power in kicking denial in the bottom. Getting curious about your view of your body can be overwhelmingly powerful. Facing your current place in life: job, family, friends, looks, and everything else is all a part of you. Without it, your path to fitness and the body you crave will be rife with setbacks, frustrations and excuses.
In my dreams, the medical community will no longer gauge blood counts and blood pressure as the only major markers for health. Ten years ago, my Internist told me I was his “healthiest” patient. My blood pressure and my CBC (complete blood count) were amazing. Sure I was “fit” training 5 days a week then as I do now.
Upon reflection, I was not “fit” or completely content with who I was. Back then, I was addicted to “doing” instead of “being” with a view that “it is never enough”. (More on overcoming my excessive “doing” in part 4!)
When our daughter was born, I threw away the scale in our home. There is so much pressure on children to achieve more than the kid next to them. Today, our nine-year-old measures her strength in push-ups, how high she can kick and her split times in the pool. Thankfully, she does not compare her body to other girls; she loves hers and knows it is a gift from God to love and cherish. Now, one of my goals is keeping up with her in the pool – a lofty goal.
We practice what we preach at FOR, no longer weighing clients. Most people have a sense of their weight and if their waist is over half their height.
A fit body is a smart body
The brain is smart and instructs the body to do all it does. So what you feed your mind matters. Get curious: How does your body move? How does it respond to different types of exercise, food, sleep patterns, stress? The more you learn about your unique body, the better equipped you will be to achieve the results you want. Part of this is also looking at what you typically avoid. If a movement feels difficult or awkward, we dismiss it though it might be exactly the exercise we need.
The body wants to move correctly, have proper posture, breathe deeply, and experience relaxation and recovery as much – if not more than – the tension drills and cardio we put it through. Make sure you give your body what it needs.
You will never regret time spent understanding your body – where it is thriving and where it needs attention. For me, a 4-year stint of sleepless nights due to our son’s chronic night terrors led to my becoming an expert on sleep. I interviewed sleep therapists, wanting to learn everything I could. Sleep became my sport, experimenting with pillows, blankets, lighting, routines.
Until my 40’s I hated my butt and kept it undercover for decades. My family teased me about it when I was young. Now, it is the source of a lot of my pesky injuries. Gaining glute strength is a huge goal of mine so that I can look injury in the face and say “not me”.
For you, it may be your skin is dry, or you’re more tired, or your knee is aching lately. Get that figured out before you take on the Big Kahuna of your body.
Make exercise a daily practice – 5 minutes is better than none
Make your exercise non-negotiable time, like you would an important meeting. Develop the habit of the 5-minute flow. It changed my life. I drink a full glass of water, I perform a variety of movements for 5 minutes, then dive into my delicious collagen-inspired coffee. I feel happy and have set the tone for the day.
See my coach Max Shank perform just one 5-Minute Flow for a better idea, or call me!
The Flow can prevent injury, help improve posture and increase your acumen for simply breathing correctly. Proper breathing leads to better stress management, less reacting and more curiosity. Breathing is the key to successful movement.
Finally, the shape of my – and your – body is a journey through fitness, food, sleep and stress management. Goals change, bodies age, circumstances evolve. Your acceptance of them is the best birthday gift you can give yourself.