Yesterday morning I woke up and worked out.
I’m telling you this because it had been awhile. A few months actually, since I had ‘officially’ exercised. It was a back in July that I made the choice– my daughter got sick and, understandably so, needed my extra energy and attention during the day and night.
It was physically and emotionally demanding and R&R, not intense-ish exercise, was what she, my body, really needed. I stopped doing my Body By Banner work-out videos.
To be honest, the next few months felt equally tiring with a family emergency, traveling to a different time zone, plus being out of our routine, and now settling back in.
So I continued to honor my body and didn’t push it with exercise. I never, ever, stopped moving though. Which brings me to the first point I want to make today.
We owe it to ourselves to be clear about what matters the most.
There are no wrong or rights here. Please don’t think that what matters most to me needs to matter most to you OR even that what matters most to you needs to matter most to your friends(the latter, a topic for another day).
Ideally, your priorities and goals depend on what feels right for you.
What matters most to me right now is to feel my absolute healthiest. Which is sometimes different than having the flattest abs or most toned arms. Though I welcome those;). Above all, I want good health and plenty of energy to share with my loved ones – you included.
Most of the time, exercising helps me stay healthy and energized. But sometimes, mainly when I’m not getting proper rest (sick kids, working late, unexpected life stuff…you know), being my healthiest self means putting down the weights and focusing on relaxing, and nourishing activities.
Which is why personally, movement is a non-negotiable.
Walking, dancing, a few minutes of yoga here and there and simply playing, are priorities every day – in whatever way and quantity feels right. Because, yes, moving is good for our bodies and in these ways, also lowers stress.
What surprised me most, was that in the few months I stopped working out, I never felt bad about it.
Not even when my husband was going out to the gym in the evenings and I was already in my pajamas did I feel guilty. Nor did I beat myself up in Buenos Aires about not taking advantage of the awesome gym in our building.
I did feel sad about missing out on the chance, but we had a lot of really late nights and full days (lots of walking and swimming there, though). So those early mornings I had to myself. I chose meditation, journaling, reading, or light work over the gym. Again, it was a personal decision made out of wanting to honor my body given the circumstances.
My strategy then is to always stay true to my overall goal the best I can, while letting the finer details of how I do that shift as needed.
Now, if I were reading this ten years ago, I would have thought: this lady is lazy! She’s just making excuses. I probably even would have put myself on a pedestal, proud that I ran every morning no matter what. Well, every morning until I got hit by a car backing up out of a parking garage on the east side path of Manhattan when I really could have used some extra time in bed during that busy week at work.
I also would have been scared to stop exercising. And I understand why-
Because giving yourself time off means at some point you’ll need to start up again.
That’s where things get tricky. The line is fine between respecting (giving yourself time off) and disrespecting (becoming lazy about recommitting) your body’s needs. Presence, honesty, commitment to yourself are required.
Let me explain: I knew I wanted to get back into working out at some point, but I didn’t have any plan to start exercising yesterday. When I woke up and checked in with myself, I felt ready. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t making excuses though! I usually workout Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the week, I’ll mess my whole schedule up if I start on a Tuesday. Really, Stef? Lame. But tempting none the less.
Being completely honest with myself about the fact that I felt energized and able- I put on my workout clothes and grabbed my weights.
Because committing to being your best, healthiest self means that – honoring your needs. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s not.
I want to end off on a powerful note – By asking you to get really honest with yourself:
That thing you aren’t doing right now- only you know what it is.
Are you not doing it because it truly doesn’t feel right? If so, I invite you to get really clear about why you’re making this choice and own it. Let go of the guilt. Then commit to staying present, honest and committed to start up when it’s time.
Are you not doing it right now because it’s uncomfortable, you don’t feel like it, it costs too much, it doesn’t fit into your schedule, ____________? Deep down do you feel like you’re disappointing yourself?
Is the choice you are making respecting or disrespecting what matters most to you?
Now that you’ve given it some thought I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. I’d be honored to be here and back you up in your decision or help you re-commit.
Here’s to showing up to your beautiful self.
Do you struggle with committing or re-committing to your fitness goals? If so, why do you think you’re struggling?
Women’s Menstrual Health & Fertility Coach
With her passion for reproductive health, and personal experience in how to apply it to her own life, Women’s Health Coach, Stefanie Kleinburd created a diet and lifestyle program which improves the symptoms of menstrual disorders and boosts fertility by restoring hormonal balance. Stefanie is a graduate of Columbia University, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and YogaWorks, in New York. She’s also a trained Psych-K facilitator. Compassionate and insightful, Stefanie guides her patients to live life in a new way, incorporating feel-good, sustainable habits into their routines. You can sign up for her newsletter to receive her secrets for becoming your most vibrant self at stefaniekleinburd.com.