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Don’t Exercise to Lose Weight

yoga2-insideIf you’re exercising to lose weight, please stop. No, not the exercise part, the exercising to lose weight part.

It’s a change in mindset.

We all have bodies that respond to life choices by coming to a particular weight set point and sometimes when we begin or increase an exercise routine that means weightloss. But not for every one of us because some of us have naturally fat bodies. Check out this Daily Beast gallery and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

What if you could have:

  • Lower blood pressure and a stronger heart;
  • Better flexibility and stamina;
  • Lots of busy endorphins, nature’s way of making you happier, calmer and more even-keeled;
  • More energy;
  • Higher chances of catching a good night’s sleep; and
  • Fun.

But you weren’t going to lose any weight. Would you do it anyway? You probably would if you had no expectations that you were going to lose weight but the minute you add that into the mix it becomes a win/lose proposition. Either you’re doing it right (and losing weight) or you’re pounding away at the pavement and what do you have to show for it? Nothing. (Except for the lower blood pressure, stronger heart, more energy, etc.)

What if you decided to exercise just for the fun of it? What if you decided to do it to get off your high blood pressure medication? Or because you don’t snap at your kids as often when you’ve got a regular running routine? Those are great, fantastic and worthy reasons and hopefully they’re good enough reasons to keep you going.

You might be tempted to step on the scale, especially if you notice your jeans are fitting a little differently. But try to skip it, ok? Because sometimes our body shapes change but our pounds don’t. And if you’re used to using weight as a yardstick, seeing the “wrong” number there can really send you into a tailspin.

Let me be clear — weightloss in itself isn’t a problem. The problem is when we use weightloss to determine the value of our accomplishments and our self-worth.

There is absolutely no reason to measure your progress by your scale. You can measure your progress by running further; holding a yoga pose longer; finishing a class without taking a break; racing a friend and so on and so on.

For inspiration and community support in starting and sticking to an exercise routine for health, you can join the Fit Fatties forum.

Coping with Mother’s Day

greencanopy-insideI know that for a lot of people Mother’s Day is a super hard and generally awful day. I’d love to give you a list of ways to make it less awful but honestly, sometimes things are just bad. And I think it’s OK to just give in. It’s all right to give yourself permission to check out. That means not steeling yourself, not putting your chin up and suffering anyway, and maybe telling people some white lies so you don’t have to show up for things you want to avoid.

You’re not being selfish; you’re taking care of yourself.

I know sometimes we really want to be the bigger person and swallow our sadness and sometimes that’s the right thing to do but maybe this weekend it’s not. That’s all right.

If this year is not the year you’re going to be able to stuff your feelings then I hereby give you permission to do whatever it takes to get through Sunday in whatever self-nurturing, loving way you can. Please don’t punish yourself for needing a break.

So here is a list of ways not meant to make it less awful but to give you ideas you could be good to yourself — you deserve that:

  • You can skip church if you want, to avoid those flowers they give out to mothers.
  • And brunch? You don’t have to go to brunch.
  • If there are mothers in your life who are expecting you to be part of their celebrations, you can call in sick and promise to take them out on another less fraught day.
  • Or you can go but make plans to get out early. If you have a partner, have them help get you out. If you have a friend who can text you with an “emergency,” do that. Even better if you can meet them somewhere after for hugs and sympathy.
  • Or you can go and bring along someone who will squeeze your hand when someone says something hurtful so you know you’re not alone. And who will listen to you vent after.
  • You can spend the day crying if crying helps you feel better. <– (that links to the Free to Be You and Me song) Crying releases endorphins and relieves stress and it might help you sleep better. So don’t fight it if you don’t want to. Let that day be a sad day.
  • Avoidance is OK, too. Denial as a regular coping mechanism might not be a long-term workable solution but if you need to spend Mother’s Day watching your favorite comedies or going for a long run or otherwise ignoring the celebration, by all means do it.

 

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