This post is part of my 40 before 40 project.
3. Get really fit, just once, so I know I can do it.
I have finally realised something. It’s taken me all of my adult life, but the lesson has – I believe – finally sunk in.
You see, like most women, I have struggled with my weight since I was a teenager. Until I was about 14, I was always slim and fit. I was an active kid, living in the country, and my parents fed me healthy food. For the first few years of high-school, I practiced Tae Kwon Do, and exercised on top of my training.
Then we moved to a different city – one that didn’t offer the style of Tae Kwon Do I had been doing. So I didn’t take up another sport.
Within a year or two I went from being fit and weighing 60 kg to weighing over 80 kg. I didn’t exercise, and I indulged in tuckshop food at school every day, including, but not limited to, multiple bottles of coke a day (our school eventually got a frozen coke machine – healthy, right?) cream buns, chips, sausage rolls… you get the picture. When I think back to my diet in those years I shudder!
When I hit Uni I fell in love for the first time, and the high from that coupled with the stress from Uni and my Mum being sick meant I lost that extra 20 kg over that year without trying. But I still wasn’t healthy. From then until now, it’s been a constant battle to not let the scales creep up again. (Last year at one point I hit the 80 kg mark on the scales again, and that was a bit of a shock). I’ve joined gyms, gone on diets, ran on and off over the years.
But you know the ONE thing I have never done?
Stuck to it. Been consistent.
I have always had the mentality that if I just work hard for a little while, diet for a little while, I’ll ‘arrive’ at the weight I want and it will all be good.
That is utter rubbish.
There is no such thing as ‘arriving’. This is the lesson I have finally learnt.
I think that altering my goals has helped. I no longer just want to be slim (of course I DO, but that’s not the main goal). I want to be fit. I want to be healthy. I want my body to be strong.
Hitting 30, and having a sedentary job, I have started to notice the odd ache and pain. I do not want to be a weak old woman one day.
And there is no ‘arriving’ when it comes to that. There is only striving, maintaining, keeping on going.
You will never reach your goal and magically stay there.
If you want your body to look and feel a certain way, you need to work at it. Every. Single. Day.
Every day you need to decide whether to watch what you eat.
Every day you need to decide to exercise.
Every. Single. Day.
For the rest of your life.
THAT is the ONLY way to become, and stay, slim and fit.
There is no finishing. There is no magical number on the scales that if you just get there you can relax.
Does that scare you?
Or does that empower you?
It empowers me. I have finally taken ownership. Every single day I have the power to decide how I will look and feel.
And you know what? Some days, that means I’ll eat chocolate. And ice-cream. And drink cider. And… whatever the hell I want, really. Because I’m not on a diet.
I write down what I eat every day. Some days I’ll eat too much. And I’ll bloody well enjoy it.
But MOST of the time, I’ll keep my kilojoule intake low. MOST of the time, I’ll eat healthy food, and I’ll enjoy that, too (because it can taste damn good! Especially when it comes fresh out of your own garden).
Every day, I decide whether to move my body, and how. One day a week I don’t exercise. I let my body rest. Because rest is just as vital as action.
I like running. I like yoga. I like sitting on my exercise bike and pedalling away while I read my kindle. I like dancing. I like to MOVE.
Some days, I’ll move more than others. Some days I’ll push myself till I’m gasping for breath and my muscles are shaking. Other days, I’ll take it easy.
As long as I make the time to move most days of my life, I’ll be going in the right direction. It’s as simple as that. And as profound.
It’s the long game, people.
And every single day, you have the choice to play, or to sit on the sidelines.
Which one do you choose today?
I think it’s time for me to go get on that bike…
Image of Aussie Surfer Laura Enever from the Nike website.