Anxiety will run away with your reason if you let it…
Sometimes the best idea is to take a deep breath and return to the present moment (the only thing – let’s be totally clear – that we the power to do anything about.)
I came across this image the other day and found it to be incredibly inspiring (I have head of these ladies before but I am always impressed.)
As we age, it takes longer to recover, and we may not be able to handle the intense training of our youth. (I sure as shit can’t!!) Our bodies change beyond that too – we may not look the same as we did when we were younger. We may also not be as able to achieve those results without more work than it once took.
One of my biggest pet peeves, though, is when people say it’s impossible to stay fit, healthy and strong as we age – they dismiss it with an apathetic resignation that doesn’t resonate for some of us. . . Just because we are getting older doesn’t mean we can’t stay active, continue to be an athlete, or stay in good shape.
I am a strong proponent of setting ourselves up for success, and believe that unreasonable goals are a fast track to disappointment. I also believe we can achieve anything we put our hearts to provided we are smart about it. If we want to achieve a healthy body, we CAN…and without having to work until we are horribly run down – that is a more than realistic scenario.
Staying fit isn’t about the OUTSIDE appearance – for many of us it is a lifestyle because it permeates every aspect of our lives…not just the exterior. It means having more energy, and feeling proud of little accomplishments along the way. It means being able to participate in activities we enjoy without feeling horrendous doing them, as well as having a clearer mind, and more self confidence. It may also mean staving off some unnecessary (and unkind) illnesses as well.
We don’t have to force ourselves into the box of looking the way we did at 20 – we’d not only be disheartened, but it also isn’t going to happen (unless, of course, you find a genie in a bottle.) I struggle with this sometimes too – it’s hard to see those changes and know there isn’t a ton we can do about them. I don’t think it’s necessary to beat ourselves up for feeling that way either, ps – it isn’t about vanity all the time. For those of us who have been active our whole lives, and fueled our bodies with healthy foods, we might identify with certain conditions (internal as much as external.)
In this way, it might feel all the more overwhelming to lose the control we might have *thought* (wrongly!) we had. In order to stay on a track to success we need only allow that “fit” may look a little different in our older age, and continue working towards incorporating healthy choices in our lives. That includes eating healthy, whole foods, staying hydrated, staying active, and at least *trying* to get a solid amount of sleep.
Remember that deviations once in a while are okay – living life behind bars isn’t exactly the point! It’s the overall attitude, approach, and consistency that will get you where you want to go…and keep you in that vicinity.
I was definitely more “fit” when I was younger – who wasn’t!? I’ve backed off a lot of activities, as well as the duration an intensity of the ones I’m doing. I need more time to recover, and there are days when rest is more in line with keeping me healthy than going to lift or to class. I may also have days where I need to eat more…or less…depending on what my body is telling me. But the short of it is…I’m thankful beyond words to be healthy, to have the ability to be active, and to better recognize my body’s cues. There is such a thing as aging gracefully…and staying badass while you’re at it (however you choose to define it.) Never let anyone tell you what is…or isn’t…possible – that, my dear, is up to YOU.
I frequently get questions about which exercises to use to “spot reduce” certain areas, and the answer is always the same – it’s more about the food we eat than the exercises.
Spot reducing does not work, It can’t hurt to focus on an area, but without a comprehensive approach, efforts are often in vain, leaving disappointment in the wake of (some) concerted efforts.
Clean eating has a bad rap, though, among the masses – it isn’t about depriving at all which, in my mind, is 100% doomed to fail. It’s about the overall consistency (treats are allowed here and there!) and choosing healthier, whole foods as the primary sources of nutrition. When we are *generally* fueling our bodies with healthier options, having a goodie once is a while is NOT a big deal.
I don’t know this Instagram page – @vshred4women – but this image cropped up this week in one of the App’s ads (hence my post.) Much that sponsored material makes me crazy, I did agree with what was being presented. I always say that our nutrition accounts for 80 to 90% of the results we see and feel.
This particular image shows meal prepping at it’s finest. Not everyone feels like they have time to do this, and that’s okay – you don’t necessarily need to. I tend to cook several pounds of chicken at once myself because I find that’s easiest for me. If I’m also making veggies, or I think in a day or two I’ll be preparing a different meal, I may chop up those extra veggies ahead of time since I’m already at it! Do what works best for you because that’s what will keep you on track.
Getting back to eating clean though…it’s all about setting yourself up for success. I shared a few of my personal tips in this post – 10 Tips To Feel Full – Yes, Really! (Because Hangry Is Horrible!) – a few weeks ago, and they really can help.
Not buying foods I know will derail me is one of my key tactics, and filling up on foods that will keep me feeling full longer is another…but again, it’s about works best for you.
I think the misconception about healthy nutrition is that one mistake is the end of the world – many times people will eat poorly for a day or two, even a week (vacation, anyone?!) and then go into “weeeell, I’m failing as it is, may as well give up!” and they continue with poor choices. It is NEVER, EVER too late to have a fresh start, so toss that negative notion to the waist side. PLEASE!
Each day is a new opportunity to try again. If there is a strategy that you know works / has worked for you, re-employ it! If there isn’t, take baby steps and make a point to notice your progress – a tiny step forward is still in the right direction!
It’s also important to remember that little changes can make a huge difference. Some examples:
There are so many possibilities, you just have to look!
Fueling our bodies with the right foods also aids our training efforts, and the results of all that hard work. Without the proper combination of protein, carbohydrates and fat, we won’t function optimally, and we may not see the results we would otherwise if we did nutritionally support the exercise we are doing (for example, lifting weights and skimping on protein means you aren’t going to see the muscle mass you would if you had the appropriate protein intake.)
That ridiculous saying that abs are made in the kitchen? It is more true than it isn’t. Our culture is a food-centric one, so saying “clean eating” is sometimes meant with scoffs and dismissal, if not considered a bad word / phrase. But it isn’t some horrible, unachievable state of being that should scare or intimidate anyone. Unless you are working on preparing for the Olympia competition, there’s probably room to tweak (and even then!)
Don’t have to be monumental…
You don’t have to go cold turkey (unless you know that is an ideal method for you)…
You don’t have to follow some stringent fad diet!
And you don’t have to say goodbye to all the things you enjoy.
Recognizing that you can see the results you want with some adjustments to your nutritional intake is actually very freeing – it’s something you have total control over, and can customize as it works for you. The key? Being honest and realistic with yourself – YOU are who matters the most, and there is no reason you can’t enjoy life, enjoy delicious food, and also have the results you are looking for.
As an athlete, I’m often in environments where people have a heightened awareness of their appearance – in ballroom dancing, the focus was so intense it sometimes made me uncomfortable! In figure skating it wasn’t as much of a big deal, but it did matter. At the gym, I’m used to people checking in on themselves in the mirror… And even when I’m doing my own thing, I sometimes am interrupted by someone making a comment as well.
We all have different goals and what should matter the MOST is how WE feel…not what someone else thinks of us. I remember someone saying “you know you look good” and it actually gave me pause. I wasn’t ungrateful at all, and I certainly truly appreciated what I believe they intended to be a supportive comment – but my thoughts stopped for a moment to examine the idea. . .
To some people, we are going to look great. But to others, not so much! And that’s more than okay. I’m thankful to have a husband who is supportive of my mesomorphic body type. My family is also incredibly supportive, even though they don’t all “like” a muscular physique. It makes me feel good because “mesomorph / endomorph” is what I am working with – I can’t change that, and I appreciate that the people closest to me always back me up in what feels best to me.
I *could* lose weight, gain weight, or stay where I am, but fundamentally, my structure is what it is. As a lifetime athlete, I identify with feeling and being strong – I love having muscle, I love the feeling that I can move my own furniture, or roll my own car. That doesn’t, however, necessarily mean OTHER people like that. Fortunately, I ascribe to the following:
#1.) I don’t really bother myself with what someone else thinks about which condition feels – again – best to me, and…
#2.) I have ZERO misconceptions that I am perfect to everyone out there (or that any of us have to live up to that impossible standard)
As Dita once phrased it…
We could be the most gorgeous thing to one person, and not at all attractive to another. That doesn’t mean we are too skinny, too full, too muscular, too tall, too short… Someone else’s idea of beauty is his or her own. What matters most is how WE FEEL about ourselves, and in our own skin.
WE need to feel good about ourselves – we deserve to feel healthy, and able, and happy. Period. If something in that picture is falling short, we also have the power to change it! But we mustn’t confuse what others think, because that reality isn’t our reality.
I always encourage people to be honest with themselves – are they wanting a change because HE or SHE FEELS that a change would bring about positive outcomes for themselves (feeling healthier, having more energy, feeling sexy, fitting into older clothes etc…) or is it because someone else is forcing that idea on them..?
The ball is always in our court – we have the power to decide what makes us feel our best, to have that, and to feel great in our own skin.
There are times in Life when it seems all light extinguishes, leaving blackness, fear, and despair.
And yet. . .
In the midst of it. . .if we look deep without our inner recesses, we will find the inextinguishable flame we’ve carried all along.
Remember what you have accomplished. Remember the demons you’ve conquered, the tears and blood you’ve shed. For you are a warrior, stronger than anyone else can ever know. You are a survivor, you are beautiful, and you are a beacon of light in spite of all.
I’m still working on this one, and I am certain I’ll be at it for a while. But deep down, I fully believe in this concept, and I am getting better about stopping myself when my thoughts *try* to sabotage my mind, emotions, and body. Like I said...*working on.*
The key is consistency – the efforts we make to apply it to ourselves, every…single…day, regardless of what’s going on around us. In my mind it isn’t necessarily a lofty goal, so much as a slow-and-setady one. It also happens to be an incredibly noble one and – should we truly desire peace in our lives – wholly achievable.
As an empath and co-dependant type, this is something I work on regularly – I’m worlds better than I once was, and I’m able to hear this sentiment in my mind even during the toughest times. I’ve referred to this idea often because it’s juts so powerful. . .
I remember watching Labyrinth as a kid – you remember that film with David Bowie as the Goblin King, right? Yeah, that one. (Don’t judge!) Well, for whatever the reason, I always noted – rather firmly – the “you have no power over me” part (the phrase alluded to in my early post, as linked above.) It just stuck. That said, I didn’t really apply it to myself until many…many…moons later.
Today I find myself going back to the sentiment – OFTEN. As they say, everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. You never know what’s going on with someone else, and therefore cannot know the impetus behind their actions. The reactions others have are (truly) their own and what we see is not always an accurate reflection of the full picture. Because of this, it is important we remind ourselves that whatever negativity comes our way – no matter the form – it doesn’t have power over us unless we let it.
As human beings, we feel – for empaths, profoundly – and that’s okay. But we do have a choice about whether we go flying off the tracks in anger, sadness, hurt etc…based on the actions of others. We don’t HAVE to. Neither they, nor any other junky energy, need ruin a beautiful day, or change our positive approach – only we can decide that.