Choosing to be Fit...Enough

I like the Nike slogan that says “strong is the new beautiful.” I think it sends a good message. But I believe that an even better one would be: “healthy is the new beautiful.”

Because there is such a thing as “too fit.”

  I’m all for healthy competition and to be honest, I miss going to those classes which were über challenging. I loved creating new goals and seeing myself do more than I ever thought possible. But is “being strong” what it’s all about?  I know plenty of people who are religious about getting in their workouts, but they are far from healthy.

If you can bench 250, but live off processed foods and lack the ability to touch your toes, I’m not sure you qualify as a leader in healthy living. Or if you’re the ultra-runner who’s so thin that people often make comments about how skinny you are, chances are something is wrong. And to the closet alcoholic who loves to talk about their latest athletic achievement… “Enough is enough people!”

  I love teaching my kids that being active is important. They know that our bodies need nutritional food and exercise. They often wake up when mommy is out running, or they know daddy and his friends are mountain biking. In doing these activities, we are modeling for them that fitness is about enjoying activities that 1-we enjoy and 2- are good for our bodies.   We encourage them to try new things. We swim, play tag and go rock climbing. They ride bikes and go hiking, and enjoy going to gymnastics. They see our weights at home, but they don’t see us neglecting life in order to “hit the gym.” The goal isn’t to just build huge muscles, or be super thin. The goal, is to be healthy.   

Because, there is such a thing as “too fit.”  

A the bottom of the fitness spectrum are the inactive and unhealthy. No matter the inspiration or encouragement, they tend to lack the internal motivation to exercise.  At the top, are those mentioned above: the “Chris Traeger’s” of the world, who tend to turn us off of fitness.   And in the middle, are the rest of us. We run because it burns calories, but we also know it’s good for our heart. And because the number #1 cause of death in America is heart disease (more than ALL the cancers combined), we have learned that cardio is good for us.    And those of us in the middle have our ups and downs. We go through seasons and stressors which push the work outs to the bottom of the priority list. We get busy with work, with kids, with life and we embrace comfort or convenience foods, and enjoy our vacation by letting the diet slip. And we are typically those making New Years resolutions to “be more healthy” next year.

  And after years of making those resolutions, I have come to grips with the fact that it’s ok to do so every January 1st.  Why? Because, I want to continually become better; I don’t want to just maintain. So, while the specifics change as I age, the overall theme is to always “be healthy.”

  Like many other areas of life, I’ve learned to embrace “enough.” With regards to healthy living: I have monthly fitness goals. I run, practice yoga and lift weights. But I don’t beat myself up when I fall short of my workout goals.   I’ve also come to realize that I would rather have that extra 1/2 inch (that I’ve been trying desperately to get off my thighs) than give up the “treats” that make life sweeter. Like chocolate.  Life is too short to not enjoy chocolate!    I hope you enjoyed today’s installment. I hope you laughed. I hope you were encouraged. Especially as we head into the gluttonous holiday season.    Be honest. You know it’s coming. The post-turkey coma, which is always great after you’ve binged for weeks off your kids left-over Halloween candy (that you have hidden from them so that you’ll be able to enjoy it later.) The holiday parties and snacks at work. The gingerbread men (you know you like to bite their cute little heads off) and the delicious chocolates that Trader Joes seems to sell out of within a matter of days (so, you feel no remorse when you put 10 boxes into your cart). You know… all that good stuff….it’s ok. We all over-indulge at times.   Enjoy it! You have permission. But make sure you make time to M-O-V-E this holiday season too. It’s your best defense against all those goodies. And remember, exercise should be activities that you like to do.Because if it’s something you enjoy, it’s more likely that you’ll make time to do it.    [Tweet “Being strong is a good goal. Being healthy is better. “]