New Year, New Me?

This week I started a fitness challenge with a local fitness centre with a goal to lose 20 lbs. or 5% body fat in the next 6 weeks.

When I met with the consultant to see if the program was going to be a fit I was more than a bit skeptical that the goal would be possible. I explained that I really only treat myself to maybe a latte a week (not a Tim’s every day person) and that I wasn’t a drinker (tequila and bourbon on occasion but not a wine/beer a day gal) and I try to eat healthy (minus a few cookies here and there). My body type is an endomorph so I store fat easily for survival, yay for evolution!

The funny thing is that he was trying to be positive and said if nothing else, coming on a regular basis and having a nutrition guide to follow will be a good change in your life. He gave an example that if I lost 18 lbs than I should still be happy that I got into a routine and made major lifestyle changes. I literally thought to myself in that moment, if I lose 18 lbs, I’m going to be so pissed! To be 2 lbs. off would kill me.

So I just finished my 3rd workout of the week, the commitment is a minimum of 3 work outs/week at the gym and to stick to the food plan outlined. I also swam on my day off yesterday and will hopefully sneak in some Reformer (pilates) work over the weekend to stretch out a bit. Basically I’m saying I’m 100% in and committed to this thing. It did get me thinking about why am I doing this?

I had to step on a scale for the first time in 6 months at the consultation and it was no bueno. I got so upset afterwards. I left my job a the beginning of December and as a means to stay mentally sane (by keeping busy) and productive I took on some pilates challenges (through Pilates Anytime). At the time of weigh in I had completed 35 workouts in 40 days – which was huge! I was feeling strong, more toned than before, and excited but at my weight was 5 lbs. heavier than even my heavy guess. This seriously crushed me. So I had to pump myself up a bit so here goes –

As I said before my ‘weigh in’ I felt good about the work I was doing. To feel like that didn’t translate was disappointing. So back to the biggest thing, which is the WHY – why do I want to work out.

  1. I want to work out because it’s an ingrained aspect of my familial culture. My parents were both incredibly active while I was growing up. We spent a large part of our childhood watching them play tennis, or going for a swim with them or taking ridiculously long bike rides (my mom). I admire that both my parents were/are so active. My father is now 88 and up until two years ago he was a regular at the pool for a morning swim unfortunately an accident and old age (hard to recover) has left him wheelchair bound and now unable to go. I do credit his long history of an active lifestyle for allowing him to make of the most of his life. My mother is a force to be reckoned within terms of fitness, I can only ever aspire to do some of the things she has done or does. She is an avid hiker, bike rider (did the cycling part of the Kona Ironman, just for shits) and hits the gym for yoga, weights and a swim on a daily if not almost daily basis.

2. I work out because when I don’t I start to feel sluggish, tired and overwhelmed. I have a swim routine that is fast (under 30 min) and easy for me – it is the following –

  • 3 x 100m swim – free, back, breast
  • 3 x 100m kick – flutter, dolphin, whip
  • 3 x 100m pull – free, back, breast
  • 100m I.M. Cool Down

When I am my most stressed all I need is to get in a pool to relax. I once said to a good friend of mine that I swam because I could cry while working out and no one would know because everyone’s eyes are red when they get out of a pool. He said it was the saddest thing he had ever heard but for me it’s cathartic. Having my set routine gives me an option that I know I can do quickly and that also gets me in a setting that feels like I can wash away my worries.

I do believe I am built for distance or longer workouts because I never feel like I hit my stride until I’m at least 30-45 min into it. So learning to run was a fun thing, you can imagine needing to continually run for 30 min before it started to feel any semblance of good was slightly trying but I did it. And as many runners can attest to or claim there is a ‘Runners High’. I think this is probably true for the end of any cardio activity, once completed you just feel good.

3. I work out to be strong. After having my first child my back and pelvic floor were a wreck. I remember going to pick up my daughter and doubling over because my back locked up. I did not lose much weight between numero uno and dos, due to a pregnancy in between and my inability to focus on wellness.

After having my second child I worked hard to get back into shape, it still wasn’t easy but luckily my work at the time was physically demanding so the weight came off and I felt good. My back and pelvic floor were still a mess until after baby number 3 when I tried Pilates for the first time in over a decade. This was a game changer, I was able to run and no longer worry about peeing my pants. My back although still off after weird sleep or a long day (curse of the big boobs) is much better than it was. Working on my deep core and overall strength has helped a ton in my everyday tasks. I am starting to feel strong again.

Picking up my kids, being able to move furniture and lift boxes are all things I want to be able to do and these all require strength.

4. I also workout to look good – If I am 100% honest, this is a big reason, yes I feel good and get the endorphins. I value being strong and fit but another thing I like is feeling like I look good. I know this is vain but it is what it is – I feel better when I believe I look good.

I have been lucky enough in my mom life that few people have commented on how I look. I just know that my old clothes don’t fit whether it’s a roll over my pants or my chest popping out that bit more, I don’t like it. So this was a big motivator for me to get going and join this challenge. I want to feel like I look good again, for me not for someone else. And to be clear I want to look what good looks like on me, not what it would look like on someone else. I have accepted my own body and what it is capable of.

You should notice that nowhere in my 4 whys’ did I mention to lose weight. The number on the scale can not be a why for me, it fluctuates too much to hold onto. It’s all about feeling – feeling part of my parents legacy, feeling sane, calm and content, feeling strong and feeling like I look good.

So New Year, New Me? or more so New Year, New Start? or New Year, New Perspective? I needed to give myself a pep talk (logical and outlined), maybe this could be for you too or not but thanks for reading.

So you know my WHYs’ – what are yours? Or what are your WHY NOTs’?

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