You Are Not An Athlete

This may be stating the obvious but I think sometimes people need to be reminded not to be so hard on themselves. Deciding that you want to be fitter and exercise does not mean that you have to starve yourself, visit the gym every day and live off protein shakes.

Start small. What can you do to push yourself a step closer to fitness today? (Bare in mind your idea of what it means to be fit will change over time.)

I was lucky enough to get a job within a half hour’s walk of my house. I gave myself some leeway of course; if it’s raining or I’m ill I take the car. Sometimes I need to go somewhere straight from work or pick up a large parcel and walking isn’t possible, but on every other day I decided that walking was compulsory.

It actually takes me only 5 minutes more than driving because the traffic near me is so bad. How ridiculous is that? Sure, I’m cutting through alleyways but it’s still crazy.

Now I’ve been doing it long enough that it’s part of my routine. It no longer feels like something I do to be fit- it’s just something I do. I’m ready to take the next step.

So you see, you can slowly build up what you are doing in such a way that your will power isn’t drained by feeling like you are punishing yourself all the time. If you do not enjoy what you are doing then it’s simply not going to last. You will invite excuses in to cancel those sessions at the gym and start ‘rewarding’ yourself with cake because you’ve had a stressful day and there you are, right back where you started.

Instead, I don’t say no to cake, I just reduce the size slice. I still got cake. I haven’t denied myself. But it didn’t do anywhere near the level of damage that a large slice would do, (think of the calorie input and do you really want to run that off? I don’t!)

Personally, something I always struggled with was portion-size. Plates are large and when I’m hungry my eyes are even bigger. I serve up monster plates of food and then I finish it all because I’m a good girl who finishes my dinner. (Drilled into me with admittedly smaller serving sizes.) There are remedies to this of course. I make lots of food but I use a bowl instead of a plate. Then if I’m genuinely hungry after I’ve finished that I can always go back. Must remember to stick with that one!

There are other little things you can join me with. In my core sessions at the gym, my teacher reminds us to walk around everyday holding in our stomach muscles to strengthen them and to support our backs. (Supporting your back muscles being more and more important in our computer/desk based society- trust me- you need good back muscles if you do not want to suffer later in life.) Her trick was to imagine that you are wearing an electric belt that is the size of your stomach when you are not holding it in. If you stop holding in your stomach muscles you will touch it and get a zap! It’s hard to remember this without physically wearing a belt to remind yourself, but it is something that you can do anywhere, anytime, without drawing attention to yourself. If you don’t like the belt idea, image you are wearing a crop top, or that you are being filmed. You will be holding your stomach in without thinking about it!

Remember, the trick to feeling good (read smug) about yourself is not to throw yourself into crazy get-fit schemes, but to add to your routine little by little until you are staying fit and healthy without feeling like it is any added effort. You are not an athlete and to get fit you do not need to act like one.

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