When talking about fitness and working out recently, someone asked me why I did so if I wasn’t performing anymore and didn’t have that to keep in shape for. I was a little taken aback by this question as to me it seems so obvious that it would be for my health and well-being. However, on reflection, thinking back to Maria in her early twenties, I definitely didn’t have this train of thought regarding health and fitness. To be honest, health and fitness didn’t come into it - it was just about being as small as I could be. The idea of being truly healthy both mentally and physically didn’t matter as long as my body looked ‘fit’.
My ‘why’ wasn’t my health so ultimately once I met a physical goal and looked a certain way I would stop doing whatever I had done to achieve it and before long return to my previous physique.
Many people experience this in the form of yo-yo dieting. We see so many before and after photos promoting weight loss product, but what about after and after photo? How do you make sure you maintain your results?
Imagine not having the same New Year’s resolution year in year out, to lose weight or to tone up? How good would it feel to be comfortable in your body, grateful for what it can do and not consumed with thoughts about how you need to change it to be ‘better’.
To make it clear - Being smaller or losing weight does not make you better. Your size has no reflection on who you as a person and any idea that you’re not good enough because you enjoy cake, have a little bit extra fat than you would like or struggle to diet should be addressed, worked on and let go of.
(If you are embarking on a weight loss journey remember fat is something you HAVE it is not WHO you are.)
Knowing your WHY is important. Especially when you’re beginning your fitness journey. If your why is that you want to look a certain way or fit into an old dress then these might be what you need to get your butt into gear and make a start, but is that thought going to get you to the gym in 3 months’ time when you’re motivation has worn thin, you’re tired and you just can’t be arsed.
Because this will happen.
You can’t rely on motivation, it will come and go. You won’t feel like training every session and eating salads and smoothies will get boring.
So what keeps you going? Having a strong enough why.
Something deeper than the way you look or the compliments others give you, because at the end of the day none of that matters.
What does matter?
Being able to chase after your children and play with them at the park without getting out of breath.
Being strong and healthy enough to still be moving and enjoying yourself pain and injury free in 10, 20 and 30 years’ time.
Being able to run upstairs or for the bus without giving it a second thought.
Being present with your family and friends, living a long and full life, being mentally challenged and fulfilled.
Showing up for yourself and being disciplined is a privilege. It’s a privilege to be able to move, to be in good health - you are lucky to have the body you have.
Putting yourself first and taking care of your health, regardless of how you’re feeling that day is the ultimate act of self-care.
When you have a strong attachment to your why, it makes being disciplined about your health, fitness or diet that little bit easier.
My why is that I want to be moving pain and injury free, as I am right now, when I’m 60, 70 and 80 years old. I want to live my best life for as long as I can and being mentally and physically well will help me to do that. I want to be able to run after children and grandchildren one day. I also want to be prepared that if I do get sick, I am in the best physical shape possible to fight it.
Health is wealth.
‘Ask a healthy man what he wants, the list could be endless. Ask an unhealthy man and there will only be one answer’
Be clear on your why.
Whether it’s your mental health, being the best version of you for your family, setting an example for your children. It will still be difficult but once you have your intention set, creating a healthy, sustainable lifestyle and stepping away from yo-yo dieting and other unhealthy habits will feel easier.
Saying yes to the workout will be easier.
Saying yes to walking to the shop instead of driving will be easier.
Saying yes to cooking a nutritional meal will be easier.
Saying yes to taking care of yourself will be easier.
Take 10 minutes and really think about what’s important to you. How do you want your life to look in 10 years’ time? Are your present actions supporting this goal? Do your daily actions align with the person you want to be?
Write down your why.