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Now I certainly don’t mean to brag, but I’m sort of the queen of setting some seriously unrealistic fitness goals.
You know, like losing 30 pounds over the course of a single weekend. Or vowing with my whole heart that, come Monday morning, I’m going to wake up and run five miles before breakfast.
Neveryoumind that I don’t actually run.
And because I have a personality that is completely and totally fascinated by whatever shiny object happens to be sitting in front of me at the time, it’s hard for me to stay motivated with a fitness routine. It’s hard to put on walking clothes when I’m just so delighted by combing through an old high school friend’s pictures on Facebook. Or when I’m smack-dab in the middle of a reality show marathon. Or when my little boy tells me that he would really like to snuggle on the couch with me for a little bit because “I just love you so much, Mama, that I never want to let go of you.”
I mean, come on. You’d totally stay on the couch with your child, too.
But the fact of the matter is that if I want to see that little guy grow up – which OF COURSE I do – and if I want to be a person who feels good and energetic and about 15 years younger than my actual age, I have to take care of myself. That doesn’t mean that I have to look like Heidi Klum or have Jillian Michaels’ rock-solid abs. It just means that I need to be intentional about doing the things that I KNOW make me feel better.
And oddly enough, even though the power of rationalization might convince me otherwise in a moment of weakness, eating ten chocolate kisses in one sitting REALLY DOESN’T contribute to my overall energy level. Neither does, well, SITTING.
Over the years I’ve come up with all sorts of misguided ways to keep myself motivated when it comes to exercise. There was the if-I-walk-two-miles-I’ll-reward-myself-with-fried-chicken-for-supper method, the if-I-walk-for-10-days-in-a-row-I-bet-I-can-lose-two-dress-sizes method, the my-class-reunion-is-coming-up-and-I’d-prefer-to-feel-moderately-confident method. And honestly, I’ve had a little short-term success with all of those strategies.
But as someone who has always struggled with weight and body image and all of those fun things, I’ve realized – especially over the last few years – that there are two sentences that are the very best motivation of all:
I want to feel strong.
I want to feel healthy.
And I’m certainly not saying that those two sentences have inspired me to train for a half-marathon. Oh no ma’am. I have a long way to go in terms of reaching my fitness goals. But those sentences do inspire me to get in the swimming pool with my child and play just as hard as he does. They inspire me to get outside on a beautiful day and just move.
They remind me that I don’t have to do crazy things in some misguided quest for unrealistic results.
That’s sort of freeing, you know?
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