Is Exercise A Luxury?
January is a month of new beginnings. Perhaps this last year is one you’d like to leave behind and forget. Maybe it was wonderful. No matter what 2019 brought you, I hope this new year brings you the motivation and inspiration to choose yourself. The year you focus on your health, stay determined and make life-long habits. Because if no one has told you lately, you deserve it.
Recently someone told me exercise was a luxury and if you got fit from doing it, well that was just a bonus… it really ticked me off. I mean, it struck a chord with me but I wasn’t sure why. Was it because exercise is so important to me? Was it because it’s part of my profession? I wasn’t sure. So I thought about it long and hard.
When I was 20 years old, I got pregnant. I was completely unprepared & naive. I had just moved into my very 1st apartment & was so excited to finally be independent. But I didn’t have a clue how to take care of myself, let alone a baby. During the next few years I dedicated every second to my daughter and eventually 2 sons as well. But my dedication became a crutch, an excuse, a security blanket. The 24/7 all about the kids came at the expense of my health, my marriage and ultimately my happiness. I developed unhealthy habits and a lifestyle that kept me from any kind of personal growth.
My career suffered because I hated every single job I had. My health suffered because I ate my emotions away and never exercised. My financials suffered because every holiday I thought it was more important to shower my kids with “stuff” instead of saving and investing. My marriage suffered because everything was more important than my husband, he was supposed to “understand”. Sadly, this pattern and lifestyle went on for almost a decade. In that decade I learned a lot.
Here is what I've Discovered:
- Being a good parent doesn’t mean going into debt to make your kids feel loved and it also doesn’t mean giving them all of your time. It’s about quality time not quantity. And years from now they are going to remember the time you spent playing with them not the stuff.
- Your job is where you spend A LOT of time! The average person spends more time at work than home. If you hate your job CHANGE IT! That includes stay at home moms. You’re not awful for wanting to work, even if it’s part time. Don’t make excuses like me and say you can’t change it. Dig deep, find your passion and go after it. You will never, ever regret feeling fulfilled and happy every single morning waking up to go do what you love.
- Food is amazing. We are an incredibly lucky, blessed country and we have to stop demonizing food. If you want to lose weight, burn more calories than you eat. You can eat a Big Mac daily and still get fit. Not ideal but my point is, it’s actually possible. Enjoy food, just figure out what your body needs to hit those goals.
- Nurture your relationships. Make your significant other know they’re important to you. Put the phone down, the remote down, laugh and talk about life. They are your partner for a reason. To share the experience of life with! If you don’t want to make that time or they don’t want to make that time, well, it might be worth finding out why.
- And last but certainly not least, exercise is NOT a luxury. Movement is vital component to life. It doesn’t mean you have to go a gym, but it does mean you need to work the major muscle groups multiple times a week along with keeping your heart healthy with cardiovascular exercise. Hike, play basketball, take a dance class, go for walks. Whatever makes you happy, go for it. Just remember, your body is capable of amazing things.
The comment of exercise being a luxury got me upset because luxuries are things we don’t need. They are added bonuses, the icing the cake. Your health is not a luxury, it is something you have to address, work hard for and repeat over and over. You can only do these things when you realize you deserve it. You deserve the awesome job, you deserve the time to workout, you deserve the time, effort and dedication to take care of yourself. It took a long time for me to realize I deserved those things.
So as you take on this new year and new decade, I encourage you to have a growth mindset. Stop waiting for next year, next month or tomorrow. Start now. Make little changes towards your growth. When you look back this time next year those small changes will have become life changing.