Archives for Exercise
Maybe you're pregnant and are lethargic and nauseated every single day. Maybe you take what feels like 30 naps a week. Maybe you have a newborn, and you can't think straight. The tasks that seemed so simple are anything but today. And it's like you're moving through neck-deep mud. Maybe you're going through a divorce, and it feels like you're scaling a mountain.
There's a powerful passage in the new book Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic For a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living where author Shauna Niequist talks about why she's choosing to be present in her life---instead of striving for perfection. She writes:
In our society, restriction is perfection. It is beauty. Restriction is seen as a correct, desirable approach and path. We glorify it. We yearn to adhere to it. We see it everywhere. Restrict the number of calories and carbs you eat. Restrict the amount of dessert. Restrict your portions. Don't even think about having pasta, pizza or ice cream. Don't even think about eating past 7 p.m.
Working out has become synonymous with weight loss or maintenance. That is, we assume that people only work out --- that we should work out --- to lose weight or to maintain our weight. This is often why exercise is thought of as a chore. As a necessary evil. As a punishment for eating dessert or consuming too many carbs or fat grams. As a way to burn calories. And nothing else.
Here's what is so awesome about appreciating our bodies: We don't need to wait until we lose weight or change anything else about our appearance to do so. You can begin embracing your body right now. I hope these suggestions provide a helpful start:
Many of us think we have to repay anyone who says something nice or complimentary to us, to anyone who takes us to dinner, to anyone who pays attention or is kind in some other way (whether the kindness is genuine or ill-intentioned). We think we owe something beyond a heartfelt thank-you.
I'm not sure that I've ever felt good reading a fitness or "health" magazine geared toward women. Instead, I've felt self-conscious, inadequate and way too big. At some point I realized the words in their glossy pages weren't gospel. I realized that I didn't have to believe or act on their tips---which focused on watching my weight and what I was eating (like a hawk), feeling guilty any time I wavered and preparing for (i.e., panicking over) bikini season and holiday parties.
Today, in the U.S., we honor Martin Luther King, Jr., who had an incredible dream and helped make it a reality. Inspired by his powerful speech and Therese Borchard’s beautiful piece, every year I republish a post on my personal dream (which I’ve updated since last year). It’s a dream that focuses on everything from how we treat each other to how we treat ourselves. I have a dream that our society will stop judging, shaming and bullying people because of their size, shape and weight.
Pausing and thinking through what we want our lives and our days to look like is powerful. After all, it's important to get intentional and deliberate about our time on this earth. And I think knowing what we don't want is just as important as knowing what we do. And it's especially helpful if we have no clue what we want. That's why this year I've created a list of resolutions I won't be setting in 2016.