Allow the heresy to begin.
Starting right now, I’m creating a place where we can examine some of the existing assumptions about exercise and ask the most fundamental of all questions: “How’s this working for me?”
We’ll look at what’s true and what isn’t, and figure out how to make up our own minds about the notion without shoulds, musts, or fear. Perhaps you’ll come to agree with the party line, which is fantastic. Or maybe you’ll look at the regulations and find they don’t apply. It’s likely that such restrictions are even standing in the way of you experiencing the power of your body.
Be warned: this walk down Heresy Lane will provide you with a clutch of permission papers. This might be awkward if you’re accustomed to doing things by the book. I’m just reminding you that it’s easy to take a step back from the pressure to do everything properly and start thinking about what’s best for you.
So let’s start with the most fundamental fitness assumption of all:
You don’t need to lose weight. Really.
I’m sure that made the internal critics scream. Mine as well. If you have a moment, jot down a couple of the things they’re screaming. Allow them to express themselves. Demonstrate that you care about what they think by allowing them to scream against this crazy lady in Montana and her harmful views.
It’s fine. I’ll take it. Because they’re not shouting at you if they’re yelling at me.
I’m going to take a chance and guess what they’re saying.
How could she even suggest that you don’t have to lose weight? You’ve been overweight since high school! Or since the children were born!
You’ll inflate up like a balloon if you don’t keep the pressure up, and you’ll end up looking like Aunt Mabel. Uncle Ernie, for example.
Nononono! You must reduce weight immediately! That’s what we’ve always believed!
With all of our country’s weight issues, how can someone advocate such an illogical idea?!
Assure those naysayers that, indeed, I am insane. And you’re going to listen in to validate how correct they are and how insane I am.
So take a deep breath and think about it. Have you ever thought about exercise as anything other than a means to reduce weight? Have you ever gone for a stroll or a run without thinking about calculating the number of calories you burned? When was the last time you went to the gym just to have fun?
Since high school, when they taught us how to monitor our pulse and calculate how many calories we burnt each hour, I haven’t been able to separate weight reduction from exercise. Those instructors had the correct intentions. They were doing all they could to logically reinforce that exercise meant health, hoping to establish a lifetime routine of everyday exercise.
It worked for some people. It backfired on many of us. Exercise had been taken from that location of sunlight, freedom, running barefoot across grass, and socializing. It evolved into a center of competition and evaluation. Another location for us to compare and contrast. It truly became a location where we could weigh ourselves on a scale to judge our merit.
It’s natural that many of us in our hectic, stressful lives avoided exercise since it became another area where we felt scrutinized or were frightened to fail. Hugs and a fist bump to the part of you that tries its hardest to keep you safe from pain and disgrace.
Let’s show it some love this week. Consider what kind of activity makes you feel wonderful. Do you like strolling in your neighborhood or a nearby park? Would a mild winter allow you to go for a leisurely ride on your bike? What’s the timetable for that dancing class you’ve been wanting to try quietly?
Consider having some fun. Consider thinking beyond the box.
When I climbed on a bike, I was finally able to sever the link between activity and weight reduction. I didn’t look at my watch or consider how many calories I’d burned. It wasn’t about having the most advanced technique or the quickest time. I can fly. What’s not to like about that?
Please find attached your permission slip. Forget about stepping on the scale, getting in the zone, working out for 30 minutes, or doing a certain amount of repetitions on the weight machine. Don’t force it on yourself. Do not muster. Simply chose something for the sake of it.
If your internal critics create a commotion, just assure them it’s OK. You’re working out, right? You and I can talk about the weight issue another time. This week, you’re taking advantage of where your body leads you.
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