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Fitness Friday: A New Kind of Goal

Fitness…oh joy.  *eyeroll*

When I think of fitness and exercise, I immediately think back to my childhood, to loud, smelly gyms with a gym teacher that was way to enthusiastic about fitness.  Picture Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons combined into one thirty-something permed, tanned body with double layered colored scrunched socks.

Do you remember scrunched socks?  

Two colors to match her brightly hued wind suit, red over yellow on the left foot, yellow over red on the right foot. 

As a kid, I hated P.E. because I was always slow.  I was never athletically inclined and running laps around the play field made me want to die. Why were some kids able to run so fast and I was aching with side-splitting cramps just barely jogging?  

Those early years of failing at all fitness related endeavors left a mental scar, a story locked into my brain that said, “fitness isn’t for you.”

Do you have the same belief?

When I was 22, a young mom, and about 40lbs overweight, I realized that I was struggling to maintain a healthy blood sugar and I was probably going to end up diabetic if I didn’t find a way to push myself to do something.

I got a treadmill and started walking 45 minutes every day. 

All day, I thought about the cookies and junk food that I desperately wanted but wouldn’t let myself have.

Inside, I was angry with myself for wanting it, angry with life for being unfair. Why did I have this problem when I knew people who could eat anything and be fine? And I still remembered those feelings of frustration with the kids who zoomed around the field in P.E. while I wanted to sit down and cry.

I was fighting every impulse I had and pushing myself to do the “good” things and mentally punishing myself for wanting the “bad” things. 

And the numbers on the scale didn’t move.

Eventually, I did get my weight down.  I had to try a variety of exercises, diets, food combinations, and supplements. 

What I discovered along the way was this: 

If it doesn’t work for you, it’s not for you. That doesn’t mean you’re a failure. You just haven’t found the right fit. 

It’s like trying on shoes.  When you put on a pair of pumps that pinch your toes, you know you need to try a different size. 

When you try out a workout or eating plan that makes you feel like a bad person and you want to die… you need to try on a different plan.

Over the past year or two, I’ve been neglecting my health. 

I was reluctant to write an article for “Fitness Friday” because I knew I was doing poorly in the area of fitness. 

Even though I have about 15 lbs to lose and my energy level and posture are terrible, I don’t feel bad about myself, and I know I can do something about it.

And I’m going to.

Because my mindset has changed!

I no longer think of diet and exercise as something I *have* to do because I’m fat and made bad choices. 

I’m not going to punish myself for making “bad” choices.

I have a new goal.  

No. Actually, I have a new TYPE of goal.

In the past, I had should-goals.  I should eat better.  I should lose weight. I have to exercise. 

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the type of woman I want to be.  How do I want to feel? How do I want to show up in the world? 

When I picture myself at my best, I am the kind of woman who feeds herself good food because it feels good.  She allows indulgences because they bring her joy, but she doesn’t pig out on junk food as a means of self-medicating her stress. 

At my best, I would feel strong, healthy, and full of life.

What needs to change about my daily activities (or thought life) for me to become the woman I want to be? 

I choose the things that bring me closer to feeling the way I want to feel. 

Now, instead of a should-goal, I have a gift-goal! 

In Playing Big, Tara Mohr writes: 

We often have to push toward our should-goals. Gift-goals have a magnetic pull on us because they are an expression of what we truly desire.

When fitness becomes a gift you give yourself by a series of  small but deliberate choices to change, it’s no longer the miserable experience of burning off those calories you shouldn’t have eaten. 

It’s ok to make fitness a gentle, graceful, loving thing you do for yourself. 

You can have the body, lifestyle and health that you desire.  And you don’t deserve punishment for not having it already. 

If fitness is a goal of yours, make it a gift you give yourself.

You deserve to feel good, inside and out.


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