“Self-care is how you take your power back.” – Lalah Delia
So I kicked off my 2019 fitness goals by downloading the Nike Run App after some inspiration from someone’s Instagram feed. Two years ago I was setting Les Milles classes on fire! The gym was less than a kilometre from my office so it was just easier to fit into my super hectic schedule. The gym kit stayed in my car and depending on how my day started or ended, I would squeeze in a work out before the office or after, before heading home in time for homework and bedtime. My foot choices were not the best, but because I had a hard core strength and cardio training regiment, everything sort of balanced itself out.
Then I got on a massive cost containment strategy last year and cut out the gym fees, opting instead to look at more affordable – pretty much free options to still keep it together physically. Part of the cutting costs mission, also resulted in my making poor eating decisions. Let’s face it, bad food is also cheaper food! The organic/healthy food section of the grocery mart is a bank breaker, and I wasn’t having that for last year. Starting a new, but awesome job also brought with it added pressure. My weeks were made up of choosing between fast food and eating out – and off course with that, you don’t know what goes into your meals. And so I gained a couple of kilos – and needed to do something about it before the pants and blouses started rioting against me.
This year one if my more critical goals was to train myself to make better food choices. Q1 has just now ended, and the rudimentary salad over fries and water with a lemon wedge over soda is the current order of the day. I must admit – I’m feeling better for it. Now this post isn’t going to be me harping on why greens are great for you, and why this one diet is giving me better results than another I’ve tried before. I’d like to share rather, about what the changes I’ve made both in the area of diet and exercise since the top of the year, are rekindling my zest to see results in other areas of my life. I hope my thoughts will help motivate you to get started on a thing or two you’ve been meaning to because when you do, you too will be better for it.
1. The early bird clocks in a couple extra miles. I love my sleep – A LOT. In a group I’m a part of, the ladies in there share a lot of their early morning routines that help them get through the day. Early morning cardio was one of their quick tips and so I decided to get back on that track. Waking up at 5:00am each morning and going for a run resulted in me clocking more than 100km this month. I also enjoy my prayer walk at the same time such that by the time I’m done with the school run circa 7.30am – I feel real energised and void of that anxiety that comes with anticipating a long day ahead.
This applies to any area of your life. Rise up early and you’ll get more done. Show up to meetings or appointments on time as a sign of respect for yourself and others. Carry out your research before starting on something and always try to anticipate what will be asked of you before it’s time. He or she that is prepared stands a better chance of conquering the day than those that stumble upon the day’s events. Get started, early.
2. No pain, great gain. They say no pain, no gain. Well, I have to admit, the first week and a half of my early morning jogs was brutal. I felt I had more energy during the day, but also experienced a very achy body all at the same time. My knees hurt, my back hurt, everything hurt. A month or so in, supported by limited carb intake, we seem to be making head way and I’m excited. A few week ago I managed my first 10km run-walk in one session and am chuffed. I also went ahead and ran in a run as part of the Special Olympics activity in Abu Dhabi a week or so ago and was super proud for having tried something different.
I want to get my fitness form back to the days of Les Milles and am conscious that this will require a lot of dedication and commitment from me. I am confident however that if I were to continue on this trend, I may very well shed the unwanted weight and reduce a lot of these weird body aches that come with growing older. 40 is only 3 short years away – so we best get to work ahead of the big 4-0!
3. My body, GOD’s temple. My faith is everything. Living a life for GOD means that I also have to take care of the body He gave me, simply because I only get one. If I’m physically strong, I can then carry out the tasks I’ve been assigned without blaming my health for failing to do so. If GOD allows me to live long, I’d love the opportunity to do so void of random illnesses that can be curbed by good habits. And so cutting excessive sugar intake and eating more natural, unprocessed foods is part of the bigger picture. It’s not always easy to do, but seeing results means that we oftentimes must sacrifice the things that satisfy our short term cravings.
The same applies with what we allow our bodies to absorb through our eye and ear gates. Growing older has made me realise how much our days are numbered, and how there is no real gain to spending time sweating the small stuff, listening to negative conversations or watching content that’s sprinkled with all forms of negativity. “To what gain?” has been a question I ask myself often before I commit to an appointment, engage in certain conversations or watch certain shows on TV, YouTube or other social media channels.
What we allow in is what eventually comes out – which is why it’s not only good for us to be prudent about what we eat, but also be conscious of what we entertain ourselves with or activity we spend our time on. To what gain?
The journey to defining and attaining your body goals is unending and that of self-mastery is truly a complex feat. I don’t have it all the way together but I am thankful for the understanding I now possess, particularly as it relates to the principle of “garbage in, garbage out”. Each time I put some exercise in, it’s a clear reminder that the same level of commitment is required to keep all the other wheels of my life turning, oiling the engine with faith in GOD and the capacity He gave me to do my best.
May this be the case for you too!