Let’s be honest, I never used to enjoy fitness. Growing up, I was a farm kid and would ride my horse all day if I could and would definitely clean a stall before I ever cleaned my room. The only sports I was ever involved in were horse riding, cheerleading (yes, it is a sport – especially when you are hiking girls up over your head!) and cross country. I about died with the last one listed there (raise of hands if you were ever the one bringing up the rear of the running pack!). Really exerting myself physically wasn’t something that I wanted to do, but more so felt like I had to if I wanted to “stay thin”.
The summer between junior high and my freshman year of high school, I struggled with an eating disorder. My food intake was small portions, very (if any) low-fat, and few calories. I wasn’t eating what was good and right for my body, but rather what I thought was healthy at that time (guess what, it wasn’t). I remember weighing myself and the little flutters of joy when I saw that I weighed less than I did the last time. 98 pounds was the lowest I ever saw on the scale – and for a little background info: I started at 140. It was not healthy. My love for cooking dimmed and I was consumed with my body image. I am so very blessed to have loving and supportive parents and family that made me realize how I wasn’t taking care of my body, but rather hindering it from growing into who I truly was meant to be. I remember the first time I ate something that I had forever deemed “unhealthy” and it was my Mom’s infamous chocolate mocha cheesecake. A bite of cheesecake has never been more freeing. I have always grown up in a family that created healthy meals for dinner that were packed with good-for-you proteins, fats, starches and veggies, so it was pretty easy for me to get back on track with eating foods to build my body with their support.
All of that was never something that I really wanted to talk about. I just sorta moved on with life and my love of cooking came back with it. It’s not a journey to share to get sympathy, but rather one to share to encourage strength as we are growing up in a world that is pounding into our heads that our body isn’t good enough. I have learned to listen to my body and to know what feels good for it to do, and not to do. It’s definitely not easy, but I think it’s something that we all need to do. Listen to what is good for YOUR body, not what the media is telling you what would be good. Because you know what? I tried it, and it wasn’t good.
Fitness came to be a love of mine around my senior year in high school. When I started working out the way that I wanted to instead of the way I thought I had to, I was hooked. To me, fitness makes me feel SO good. Even now, my husband (and I) can tell when I have and have not worked out in awhile as my confidence and well-being spike when I have.
I’m no fitness coach or guru by any means, but I do have a desire to continue to work my body to stay healthy. This can look like many things to me and here are a few of my favorites: walking (even if thats all you get out and do, just do it!), stair climbing, weights, hiking, running, push-ups/planks/squats etc, healthy and meaningful eating and napping or going to bed early.
Let’s break it down:
- Walking – I absolutely love it! If its on a treadmill for an hour, or walking with the hubs on the farm at the end of the night, it just makes me feel good!
- Stair Climbing – I’m addicted, I admit. I love the way it challenges me and makes my booty feel when I’m done (real talk!). I typically cool down after this by walking. This is also an easy respiratory workout for me to do (more explained under “Running”)
- Weights – Definitely an area of growth for me as I feel out of place doing so, but helps me work on toning my muscles and makes me feel all “beasty” after doing so! (oh yeah, I got this!)
- Running – Ever since I was born I have always struggled with asthma. Its never been bad enough to the point to have an asthma attack, but has always been there looming over my lungs. On my bad days I can have as low as 66% lung usage, and in the upper 80’s-lower 90’s on my good days. Needless to say, running hasn’t always been my friend. BUT I am adapting and training my mind and body to work through it. Very rarely will you catch me running on a treadmill. I’ll wait until it’s nice enough outside 🙂
- Push-ups/planks/squats etc – these are some of my love-hate favorite things to do! I love having different workouts that I can do in my own home if I am not able to run outside or make it to the gym. 30 minutes is all you need to get nice and sweaty!
- Healthy and Meaningful Eating – as you know, I LOVE to cook. I will always try to have a healthy meal prepared, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to live a little and have my cake too. My day can consist of a granola bar, coffee, spinach smoothie, leftovers from the night before for lunch and Chick-Fil-A for dinner (ok, we are trying to space it out to only let ourselves go there every two-three weeks 🙂 )or it can look completely different and I have had to learn that it is OK for it to do so. I want to put food into my body that is going to nourish it and make me feel good after eating it.
- Napping/Going to bed early – I am not a frequent napper (they typically make me feel lazy), but I have had to learn that along with listening to my body with fitness and food, it is also with rest. Let your body get the rest it deserves!
So, here’s me. Feeling all exposed and vulnerable as this is not something I’m used to doing. But, here is also me: full of energy and excitement to be sharing part of my fitness journey with you!
It’s SO so easy to get sucked into the world and what it tells you on how your body should look. I know I fall into that trap every day. Looking into the mirror, I am my worst self-critic, pointing out things that I want to change. I am still learning, but God has been laying it on my heart to shift my eyes. See myself fearfully and wonderfully made. Be the woman He created me to be. Be the woman and wife that my husband sees. I’m not saying its easy to adjust our thinking, but at the end of the day our bodies are a temple to take care of and to glorify Him with.