Several years ago, I realized that it was time for me to make a decision: I had some health issues, and it was time for me to get serious about addressing them. I considered myself a “healthy eater,” I went to the gym several times a week, but a lot of days I was just “going through the motions,” doing as little as possible and hoping to get by. To be honest, it was often more of a social outlet than a physical one. And so there was a thought that lingered in the back of my mind, a little voice that asked, “When are you going to get honest with yourself about your health?”
To me, “fitness” was mostly about weight control. I wanted to be thin. I had been 20 pounds overweight my first year in college, and although I lost that weight–through very unhealthy methods, I might add–I was still terribly fearful of re-gaining it. I looked pretty good, and seemed fairly healthy on the outside, but the way I treated my body was NOT what I would consider healthy today.
Take my 6-pack-a-day diet soda habit. The caffeine and sweetness in the sodas helped suppress my appetite and sugar cravings, so I stayed thin–but I cringe now when I think of the effect on my body. And drinking sodas late in the day made me jittery in the evenings, so I would have a couple of glasses of wine to relax. I had no idea how to properly fuel my body, so having any sense of proper macronutrient portions in my diet was completely beyond me. I knew the calorie content of lots of foods, but nothing about protein, healthy fats, proper serving sizes, or fiber. It was all about fitting into the skinny jeans.
So I got sick and tired of being (skinny, but) sick and tired. Giving up the wine was really tough, but it had to go. It was impacting too many areas of my life. The diet sodas came next, and that was a process, but the elation and freedom I felt when I no longer had to pop the tab on that can was wonderful. I learned more about working out, fueling my body, striving for vitality. I learned how to really limit my sugar intake, to avoid unhealthy carbs, and to pay attention to the amount of protein I was taking in. I learned to push myself harder in the gym, setting and achieving goals. I began to think, act, and feel like an athlete.
I had been going to the gym all that time, showing up, checking the box on that “task” for the day, getting it out of the way so I could do other things. Today, getting to the gym is one of my top priorities and I schedule everything else around it whenever possible. It’s simply a part of living the healthiest and most vital life I can. Being really healthy is a 24-hour-a-day commitment. And for the 23 hours I spend outside the gym, I support my body with nutritious food and proper rest. I also motivate myself by continuing to investigate and learn all I can about eating well, working out and taking care of my body. It’s a joy to know each day that I am cultivating a strong, fit body and mind, and providing a great example for my kids. And yes, I still fit into my skinny jeans!
So ask yourself: Are you really being honest with yourself about your health?