I feel like it’s been a year since my last blog post. Summer break does that to me. The kids are home and our schedule is all over the place. I’m very much a creature of habit, and I like my routine. I like knowing who needs to be where and when, and I like knowing when I have time to myself to do the things I need to get done. I like structure and I like predictability.
Summer is exactly the opposite of all of those things. The kids can sleep in, we’re out of town a bunch, friends & family are visiting, our days move slower… And it’s exactly when I need to take care of myself the most, because the unstructured needs of everyone else in the house can make me lose my mind.
And this is exactly when I’m most grateful for proper fueling and exercise.
I had a conversation with a friend the other day who had just gotten back from a trip with her family. As she was telling me about their trip, she said, “It was so nice not to have to work out for a week and eat whatever I wanted!”
Hmmm. Her statement bothered me, but not for the reasons you might assume. It wasn’t that she didn’t eat “healthy food” all week. It wasn’t even that she was less active than at home.
What bothered me about her statement was the implication that fitness and proper fueling are an everyday chore.
When I first meet with clients, they typically fall into one of two groups:
- Athletes whose chosen sport is an integral part of who they are. Moving and fueling well are a normal part of the daily routine.
- People who know fitness and healthy eating are important and should be done. A chore, like their taxes.
Health can’t be a to do item.
This is about lifestyle.
Health is about giving your body what it needs, all the time, in a manner that is sustainable for the rest of your (hopefully) long life. Health isn’t about deprivation, and it isn’t about struggle. It isn’t about “having to” do anything – it is about wanting to move and feed a healthy body. And it isn’t something that we “take a break” from because schedules change. You don’t stop brushing your teeth because you’re at a hotel for the week, do you?
“But Kirsten, that’s so easy to say. It’s hard to fit in exercise. It’s hard to say no to dessert all the time. I want to enjoy my life!”
Yep, I agree with all of the above.
- It is hard to fit in exercise. That’s why you don’t “fit it in.” That’s why it needs to become normal. It needs to be just something you do every day, like eat & sleep. It takes time to get to that place, but it is vital that you get there. The great news? It can be anything at all! Physical activity doesn’t have to take place in a gym or on a track.
- It is hard to say no to dessert all the time. Which is why you shouldn’t. Like I said: no deprivation.
- You should enjoy your life! For a long time. Hopefully with (physical) ease! You should be able to run after your grandkids one day, if that’s what you want. You should be able to climb a set of stairs. You should be able to have functioning joints and organs that allow you to participate in anything you want to participate in. You should be free of lifestyle-related chronic disease – for many, many years!
One of my local fitness inspirations is Jamie Eastley. She’s a mom and a badass who runs a bootcamp and also has a fitness app that gives you easy “at home” access to fitness. Jamie posted a quote on her Instagram the other day that really hit home with me:
“Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel.”
And there it is. I think she hit the nail on the head. Most people have never experienced just how awesome it feels to be healthy. To move like our bodies are meant to move. To fuel like our systems want to be fueled. To sleep well, to have energy, to be less stressed, to be regular (yep, I said it, because we all know we feel better when that’s the case!), to feel mentally and physically on point.
There’s a whole industry out there that banks on you wanting to feel that way. So they sell you cleanses & detoxes (don’t even get me started – there’s a future blog post there!), pills, quick fixes, promises…And all you need is to move and fuel well. And it takes some time. And it’s not a quick fix. But once you’ve gotten there, it’s permanent and it’s awesome.
So I’ll have to ask you to trust me. Trust me that if you are willing to make a lifestyle change, you will get to a point where fitness and proper fueling are your normal. You will get to a point where moving every day and eating a mostly balanced diet is automatic. And you’ll understand how your body is supposed to feel. (And then you can take Jamie’s bootcamp class at the park and be reminded to stay humble! Ha.)