Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Subtle Shifts



This post is sponsored by Top50. Thanks for supporting sponsors here on TLM and please keep in mind that all opinions are my own. On my final countdown to 40 I have been doing a series of posts focused on health and fitness. This is not about weight loss or achieving a "bikini body." After spending a year and a half with debilitating back pain and recently returning to pain-free living I have a new found love for my body and feel grateful for all it allows me to do. I had a goal to do 10 pull-ups by my 40th birthday. Thanks for following along! You can see my related posts here: 10 tips for Working Out at HomeFavorite Work Out Songs, Protein + Pull-Ups, and How to do a Pull-Up when you're Almost 40

Even though I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions, over the years I've definitely gotten caught up in the idea. Sometimes I do just the one word goal, sometimes I just think in my mind what I want to happen in the upcoming year, but without fail I always think about something in terms of my body and what I want it to look like. I feel the guilt-induced drive to work out more and eat less with the constant desire to be skinnier than I am, no matter my current weight. I'm not proud of that, but it is the result of some life-long body shaming programming that will most likely always linger. 

However, this past January 1st I had a moment of awareness. This little tap of enlightenment knocking at my brain that said, Hey, do you realize that for the first time--maybe ever--you didn't think about your body and how to make it work out harder, better? There was no internal berating of my psyche that if I only did A, B and C I might finally look (and then feel) like X, Y and Z.

Here's the thing: I work out. I work out almost every day. 

So perhaps you're thinking, I'm sorry that wasn't enlightenment crazy lady. It's just that you already work out obsessively. That's called denial.

While it's true that I probably work out more consistently than I ever have before, it's the why that's important here. The why's in life are always important. 

I'm working out not as a punishment for what I ate or what I look like, but because I geuninely want to. My body craves a good workout as much as it craves a good bowl of ice cream. I work out because I appreciate my body. I like how working out makes me feel. I like being stronger. I'm working out at my pace. I do whatever my body wants to do that day. Some days I want to challenge myself and do something really hard so I do it. Other days I want to take it easy, so I do that instead.  And on the days I don't feel like doing anything at all, I don't. 

I cannot stand here and promise you that there is absolutely no desire for my body to look physically different. I definitely still fight that. I probably always will. But there is a difference mentally. It may be a subtle shift, but it's there. And it is enough. 
Small and subtle shifts in areas of health can have a big impact. This past year my goal was to do 10  pull-ups by my 40th birthday. Really, I just wanted to be stronger. I approached this goal from a very common sense point of view. I didn't read any books, I didn't follow a specific fitness routine or diet, I just decided to increase my strength training and protein, and decrease my sugar intake. Along the way I discovered that I like moving and applying stress to my body and watching it respond. If you're looking to make some small and sublte shifts in terms of fitness here are some tips:

1. Do what you feel like doing that day.
When it comes to working out I have finally given myself permission to do whatever I feel like doing that day. If I want something more mellow I do yoga, or I go on a walk. If I feel like challenging myself I do a harder work out video like Jillian Michaels or circuit training or weightlifting. I like working out, I like seeing if my body can do hard things. But I don't like feeling forced to do it or like I have to do it to be acceptable to myself or anyone else. So letting myself choose how and what kind of movement I want to feel each day--or if I even want to do it at all--makes a big difference. Also, I focus on gratitude for my body. 

2. Find ways to reduce your sugar intake.
One of the reasons I was so excited to work with Trop50 juice beverage is that we don't often buy juice around here because of the excess sugar. Not just as it relates to waistlines, but my husband is a dentist and he sees way too many people who drink way too much sugar. The great thing about Trop50 is that it tastes great with 50% less calories and sugar. Each glass provides 100% of your vitamin C and it's also a good source of potassium and NO ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS. Which is super important to me that when cutting sugar, fake sugar isn't added in. And it tastes really great! We all love it. In general being mindful of our sugar intake is becoming increasingly more important. 

3. Add extra protein
A protein shake after a hard work out, scrambled egg whites for brakfast and swapping out nuts and beef jerky instead of ice cream or cookies for a treat are some of the ways I've tried to add more protein. Eating lean meats and legumes wasn't ever a problem for me, so it was about finding ways to add a little more. Again, I'm not a nutritionist and I didn't want to completely eliminate all treats and snacks from my diet, I just wanted to try and do a little better. And I am. 

So the big question, can I do 10 pull-ups yet? 
No. My record is still 4 but I'm going to keep going.
I genuinely feel happy with the progress I've made.
And I'm genuinely happy, that I'm genuinely happy about that. 

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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