Fitness and healthy habits are a lifestyle. Focus on getting stronger, not smaller. Start by setting exercise goals that aren’t related to weight loss.
“You look great, did you lose weight”
“Why do you need to exercise, you don’t need to lose weight?”
“You started exercising, what’s your weight loss goal?”
It’s phrased in a multitude of ways, but the message is still the same, exercise must be rooted in weight loss.
Except it shouldn’t be.
Julie Measures is a place where you’re encouraged to measure you life by the things that really matter.
By the minutes spent celebrating with friends and family.
With the yards of yarn knitted or crocheted.
By the dozens of cookies baked, miles traveled, or glasses raised in a toast.
But a number on a scale is never how I want to measure life. Honestly, I don’t even own a scale. The only time I step on one is at the doctors office or sometimes out of curiosity at a family members home. (For example, my parents who live near me do have a scale.)
Instead, I’m much more interested in how my body feels and how my clothes fit. In fact, how my clothes fit is the main way I keep track of how I’m feeling. When my jeans start getting too tight I take a look and see if maybe I’m indulging a little more than I generally do. If I notice my pants start getting too loose I make sure I’m eating enough. For me, it’s a more intuitive way to check how things are going. That’s not to say I don’t change sizes. Life changes, seasons change, and our bodies change.
During my workout this morning the trainer said something that really struck me. He talked about fitness being a lifestyle and how it’s so much more than exercise and food. It’s getting enough sleep at night. It’s not pushing our bodies too hard. It’s balancing effort and rest, work and play.
My exercise consistency has ebbed and flowed, but has been very consistent for the last year. And to be completely honest, in that year I have put on 10 pounds.
I’m exercising more regularly than I was before, I’m eating better than I was before, and I gained 10 pounds.
If my goals were strictly weight related that might completely throw me off.
If I’m being truthful, it still took me aback.
But then I went back to how I feel. How my body is performing.
I’m healthy. I’ve avoided injuries. I’m lifting heavier than I was a year ago. My cardiovascular health has improved. I can feel muscles in my body that I didn’t even know existed.
My exercise goals aren’t dependent on my weight.
I’m not trying to get smaller.
I’m trying to get stronger.
Let’s stop making exercise solely about changing the appearance of our bodies. Instead let’s exercise so we can
- have fun
- relieve stress
- build strength
- sleep better
- feel better
Measure your exercise goals by running (or walking) farther or faster, by lifting heavier, and by getting stronger.