Don’t Pick Up Where You Left Off

Don’t “pick up where you left off” because whatever happened between then and now will have changed you.

If you’re doing something – and here I’m talking about an activity like going to the gym or yoga or a sport – and, for whatever reason you stop, don’t try to pick up where you left off. For whatever reason you stopped – illness, injury, changing seasons or life simply happening – you cannot expect to start up again at 100%. For whatever reason you stopped, take the time you need to recondition your body and mind. Taking care of your mind during times of inaction is just as, if not more important, than your physical self.

What would happen, after 3 weeks of inactivity  due to illness, injury, or life, you start running again (or hitting the weights at the gym, or whatever) and you’re unable to perform where you had been before stopping. What would happen? Would you give yourself a pat on the back for giving it a go, or would you verbally punish yourself for performing so poorly? I know what I would do, and it’s not very kind. Or, rather, in the past I was never kind to myself after periods of inactivity.

The biggest thing, recently, is recognizing my goals have changed. In the past, virtually my whole identity revolved around my habits and performance at the gym. “Once a bodybuilder, always a bodybuilder”. I would lift like a bodybuilder or power lifter; the heavier the better. I would constantly push myself well past my ability – after all, the only way to get stronger is to challenge yourself – but it would frequently cause injury or being so sore for days, it would be hard to function. Yes, I will be challenging myself, but I’ll be focused on lighter weights and on point form. I want to focus more on functional exercise.

“Old habits are hard to change”

At the moment, I’ve probably only had a couple of workouts – like, could count on one hand – at the gym over the past several weeks. It’s one of those things that I know my priorities have changed but I don’t know how to proceed. I still really want to focus on my yoga, which I am still doing at lunch during the week, but now that spring is here, I’m wanting to get outside for exercise… not go to the gym. I’m also starting to ride my bike to work, so my cardiovascular health should start improving. I also want to start running more (I do have a couple races coming up shortly!) but have yet to take it outside. I’m looking forward to watching my stamina and endurance improve. And I’m looking forward to losing weight (hopefully all fat and no muscle, but I know that’s a pipe dream!) The reality is, I need to lose weight. I’m not saying I hate my body, but I do recognize, physiologically, I am unhealthy. I get winded taking the stairs, I have leg joint issues – from my ankles to my hips. I am uncomfortable in my skin. I simply feel unhealthy.

And this is key; why do you want to lose weight? These are the reasons I want to:

  • I want to have more energy
  • I don’t want to get winded walking up stairs
  • I want to sleep better
  • I want to reduce migraines
  • I want to reduce body aches
  • I don’t want to stress over my annual fitness test
  • I want to kick ass on my annual fitness test
  • I want to reduce stress
  • I want to feel healthy…

Notice how my reasons have NOTHING to do with looking a certain way or weighing a certain amount or fitting into a certain size or wearing a bathing suit? To me, that doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter how much I weigh because I HAVE weighed the “proper” amount and I was extremely unhealthy. I may have looked healthy and fit in the past, but I was often at my lowest psychologically. I don’t care what size I wear because I have worn a size 00 and was told I looked emaciated!

There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight or get in shape. There is nothing wrong with loving your body and wanting to change it at the same time. As I’ve said before and will say it again and again because I firmly believe this to the very core of my soul:

Taking care of yourself physically is the deepest expression of self-love there is. Taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally is required for total health. To be healthy holistically, all facets of your life need to be balanced; if not, you will not be able to maintain this way of living.

This is why conventional diets do not work. You have to do this, or that, or cut out this type of food, or eat others; never mind what you do or do not like. Not to mention that everyone has an opinion, and here’s mine: whatever worked for your sister, best friend, mother, co-worker, or second cousin twice removed, it will not work for you. This is because you’re not the same. Your DNA is unique. Your likes and dislikes are unique. Your body composition is unique. Your cell configuration is unique. Every aspect of your life from your job, stress levels, home environment, work environment, personal schedule is different from every single person out there. Cookie cutter diets are setting you up for failure and opening you up to a multi-billion dollar industry who are waiting for people to be desperate enough to spend hundreds of dollars on some miracle pill that will only make your wallet lighter.

Stop the madness! Stop thinking that looking a certain way is going to fix your life! Stop believing that the problem is your weight! Stop listening to people who only care about how much money they’re going to make off of you!

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