Fitness & Exercise
How I Started On The Road To Fitness -- And 3 Ways You Can, Too
Not too long ago, a friend of mine wanted to get a group of us together to go skydiving. I have wanted to go skydiving for almost 10 years now, and life has just been happening and keeping me too busy from pursuing that one little item on my bucket list.
I was thrilled to join the group and finally go for it. But I soon found out I had one very huge limitation. I was too heavy. At 250 pounds, I was 30 pounds too heavy to throw myself out of a flying plane.
I was suddenly floored, for never in my entire life had I ever been too heavy for anything I have ever wanted to do.
That was an eye-opener for sure. But the real news that made me suddenly take charge and change my life was learning that my cholesterol was dangerously high, something which coming from a family with a history of heart disease, I was not happy to learn. I needed to do something to minimize the risk of following in the footsteps of my paternal grandmother and a few of my aunts.
Overcoming Your Biggest Obstacle: You
No matter what we say, our biggest obstacle to getting fit is one: ourselves. Every single excuse we can make, be it work schedules, an achy back or knee, the kids, etc., the truth is we use those as crutches to getting started. I know because I did it for 7 years. Once I convinced myself that this was important enough for me, I found a way to make it fit my schedule and my life. Granted there are days when I work out less and eat more than I should, but not a day goes by that I am not aware of what my commitment and promise to myself is, and that is to become a healthier me.
It’s Not About Fat or Skinny, It’s About Health
I won’t deny that I will be the first one to get upset when I see a model too thin walking down the runway. I don’t have anything against thin people – some of my best friends are thin! I also won’t deny that I love fitting into a smaller size in jeans or looking better than I did in a bathing suit.
What I do have a problem with is the pressure society puts on us to be skinny without taking into consideration the negative effects, both physically and psychologically, that these messages have on our overall health.
Of course, we are a nation that suffers from too much fat, with a reported 61% of American adults being either overweight or obese. However, one in 200 American women suffer from anorexia and two to three in 100 American women suffer from bulimia.
Finding the balance where we can enjoy life, food, experiences, while feeling proud and confident with our bodies is hard. Making sure we combine how we look on the outside with how we look on the inside health-wise, can be harder, but really should be the biggest focus. Which is why before you take on any fitness journey you should consult your doctor and see where you stand. It will give you a good plan and goal to focus on beyond fitting into a pair of jeans.
Find Your Fitness Tribe
This is trickier for some. There are people who can jump in and find their mentors and supporters right away. Then there are times when finding those special friends is a bit harder.
People who are overly happy and chipper and never have a bad fitness day, EVER, turn me off. But then I also can’t hang with those who complain and whine and are always blaming this or that for not losing 5 pounds. It’s a balance of both with me, and though at first I thought I didn’t need anyone, the truth is finding my tribe, my workout buddies and friends, has really helped to keep me motivated.
I met Dr. Andrew Weil recently and he said it best, "Surround yourself with people who will motivate you to pursue a healthy lifestyle." It’s a must, because we all have days when we want to give up or just not do anything. Having that one person, or those people who will believe in you when you don’t makes all the difference.
Is it easy? Not always. I am down 38 pounds since I started working out last July of 2011. Fitness is a huge part of my life. It hasn’t happened overnight, and I am still not completely healthy inside - though I am much better – and I have not reached my fitness goal in weight, though I can technically jump out of that plane now!
But I am worth it. YOU are worth it and so is your family. Overcome the obstacle of you and love yourself enough to get started.