Success by aiming low

Like many of us, I had noticed that my pants were getting a little bit tighter.

Like many of us, I had noticed that my pants were getting a little bit tighter. I’d have to take that big deep breath in before attempting the button. Sometimes, instead of trying to get them closed, I’d just pick a different pair.

I began to realize I had two options. Buy a new wardrobe or get off my behind and shrink the body so my current clothing selection would continue to suffice.

While a little retail therapy seemed attractive, not to mention a heck of a lot easier than the fitness option, I knew buying bigger sizes wasn’t really the direction I wanted to go. (Besides, a host of new larger-sized clothes isn’t really in the budget)

But we all know what excess weight can do to our health, both physical and mental. Obesity is a contributing factor in many of today’s top health issues including diabetes, heart attack and stroke. And when it comes to your mental well-being, sucking in your gut to close your pants is not exactly a boost to one’s self esteem.

I’d once been a gym-goer, a yoga-doer, a swimmer and hiker. Then came three kids, a full-time job, and my aversion for throwing away my children’s left-overs, which resulted in me shovelling food into my mouth as I stood over the open dishwasher before putting their plates in. And the results started to show.

I knew what I needed to do to reverse the trend, but I must admit to being intimidated. Going back to the gym or the pool or a yoga class and huffing and panting while those who have already found fitness elevate their game with more weights or longer distances can be disconcerting.

But I adopted a new strategy. Since the hardest part of my fitness commitment is simply getting started, I decided that just starting was enough. I began just by getting out for that walk. Then I added a bit of running into the mix. My mantra became, “It doesn’t matter how fast you are going, you are still beating everyone on the couch.”

I told myself that it was OK for me to stop whenever I felt the need. But it wasn’t long before I started to surprise myself. When I told myself it was OK to stop running at the next tree, sometimes I’d get there and then think I could keep going. And I would. Sometimes, I wouldn’t want to get out of bed and go do a run, so I’d tell myself that it was fine not to run, but to still get up and at least walk. Well, once I got out on the Little Mountain trails, I’d usually end up putting a little more effort in. After all, I was already there, right?

Instead of trying to jump right back into my former level of yoga, I enrolled in a Yoga 101 class, to help my brain and body remember what to do. Now, I’m less intimidated to join other classes.

While some fitness practitioners might advise setting long-term goals, this didn’t work for me. Instead of setting lofty goals when it came to fitness, I aimed low.

And now I can close that button.


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