Recently, a friend asked me about fitness and health and expressed her frustration with it. I am not an expert but a Mom of two (ages 10 and 7) embarking on another phase in life with a passion for fitness and health.
About 4 years ago, at the urging of my family, I allocated time to myself in the form of fitness and along the way have become an avid fitness fan. From not being able to jog a mile without stopping, I have completed a few half marathons (a full is a goal) and become group fitness certified with the hope of becoming a group fitness instructor of cardio kickboxing and TRX for strength. Family and friends encouraged me to share my journey to help inspire other women of my generation to find their passion and to “go for it”. It’s a delicate balance between taking care of ourselves and realizing the importance of maintaining and regaining our own identity while nurturing our families and being an involved parent.
So, I dedicate my blog and first entry to all my friends and family who have inspired me to “go for it” even when I see only trees and not the forest and a constantly shifting path.
My friend Jen C asked: any advice regarding exercise and weight loss (very generally stated).
My advice (I am not an expert but just someone with an interest in and a passion for fitness and health) is to:
1. Set CONCRETE goals whether it’s to enter a short distance running race, bike ride or a sprint triathlon, become an instructor, join a fitness group/club that meets on a regular basis, improve your health and/or to simply feel better about yourself. Personally, visuals are very effective (i.e. photo on the refrigerator door of an athlete you admire is one example). It’s tempting to set a weight goal but I’m not a big fan of this particular one only because one tends to fixate on the end result instead of discovering ways of enjoying the process which will be more effective in helping you make lifestyle changes that are sustainable.
2. Once you have established your goal(s), work backwards to incorporate changes into your lifestyle that will help you achieve the goal(s) you have set for yourself. This is the most important part as it must be a LIFE style change and not a temporary one. Whether it’s adjusting your diet (type, portion and timing of meals/snacks), assuming a new type of exercise (it must be one you enjoy and is convenient) and deleting the word DIET from the process. Diet, in my opinion, implies temporary and what you want is something that is achievable, sustaining and long-term. I will post suggestions for snacks and there are so many types of healthy replacements and recipes for meals.
3. Enjoy the process and make yourself accountable by sharing it with others whether it’s for support (and in some cases, fitness groups have formed as a result) or just to let them know. Also, be forgiving with yourself: start the process with small achievable goals. It’s better to be consistent with small goals than to be inconsistent with a lofty one as the saying goes “repetitive behavior becomes habit and we all know how hard it is to break habits”. This doesn’t mean no breaks, no dessert or anything extreme but simply a general pattern of change with a long term goal of being healthier and fitter.
4. Anything is possible. It truly is mind over matter and what you CHOOSE. And, as a mother of two, I am at a point in my life where fear of regret keeps me motivated.
Each week, I hope to post a question and response which I invite family, friends and followers to comment as they wish and to also feature a real-life story related to the topic. In the interim, please join in on what has worked for you and anything else you think might be helpful to others to help them get started and to continue with their journey.
More to come and we all look forward to reading your comments.
A few helpful sites:
http://www.active.com – great site that generates customized lists of races in your area based on the parameters you select for area and sport/activity of choice and a great resource of informative and helpful articles on health and fitness.
http://www.grabthegold.com – my favorite protein snack.