I have never liked being told that I cannot or should not do something. Ever. It annoys me, and immediately makes my resolve stronger to do that thing. Having a stubborn, driven, Type-A personality drives me to want to do things on my terms.
Over the past several months, I have been dealing with some heart rate issues. When I met with my cardiologist recently to discuss some test results, he indicated that I would need to modify my exercise regimen. I was FINE with modifying until he said, “Running may not be an option anymore.”
To me, running is not just exercise. I started running 11 years ago to bring awareness to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. I ran because my nephew couldn’t, and my running helps to bring in research money for this horrible disease. I started off small, and worked my way up to 5ks, 10ks half-marathons and full marathons. My family runs, and many of my friends run. I truly love running with them! I coach my kids’ middle school Cross Country team. THAT’S how much I love it. Over time, running has become my stress reliever and something that gives me joy. I feel GOOD when I run. In some ways, it has become a part of who I am.
So many thoughts and emotions swirled in my head after my doctor’s appointment. I felt angry, frustrated, disappointed and defeated. Just thinking about how far I have gone literally and figuratively in my running, but no longer being able to maintain that pace, was a bitter pill to swallow. The thought of running less or more slowly seemed unacceptable because none of it was my idea.
It hasn’t been easy for me, but I have followed my doctor’s orders and modified my exercise program. It was not easy at all. I had to take a step back and accept that I cannot always control the situation I am in, but that I can control my reaction to it, and how I choose to move forward. I had to make the choice between staying stuck in the memory of what I had been doing, or accepting and even embracing what I CAN do now. It turns out, that I can run, just less and at a slower pace. I have incorporated more swimming and walking into my exercise routine. It turns out that it wasn’t the huge scary change I thought it would be.
The same can be said in our day-to-day living. There are times when our eating habits, exercising, self-image, or managing our time may be off-course or languishing, or not going the way we want them to. We think that getting back on track is an insurmountable task that will involve a huge amount of immediate change. But it truly doesn’t need to be that way. Small changes can make a big impact in all of these areas! Here are four small changes that can make a difference.
Eliminating all the yummy, unhealthy choices in one fell swoop will all but guarantee failure pretty quickly. Start small by adding one in healthy food every week. For example, add more vegetables or a protein to each meal. By adding these into your meals, the unhealthy choices eventually get crowded out.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. A marathon isn’t run in a day, either. Training for a marathon can take months! Taking that first step to go to the gym can take weeks of convincing yourself to go and ignoring all of your own excuses. The thought of getting up and exercising can be truly daunting. If you aren’t moving at all currently, just get up and move for 10 minutes a day, then start to add more time. Once you have mastered that, set a fitness goal that you want to achieve. It might be a race, mastering a yoga pose, or even just going to (and completing) a Zumba class. Every step, no matter how small, can make these goals become achievements.
Whew, this can be a tough one!!! It’s a lot easier to encourage someone else to not be down about their body image than it is to love and accept our own, isn’t it? We all know we are different, but it doesn’t stop us from comparing ourselves to others. One way to block the self-sabotage is to aim for being healthy and strong! Being healthy and strong can give us confidence. Confidence is such a gift that we ALL deserve to have, regardless of our shape, size, or the number of wrinkles we might have!
Our to-do lists can be ridiculous at times. Sometimes, it can’t be avoided, but sometimes, it really can. Lists are supposed to be edited and reprioritized. If something on your list doesn’t align with your purpose, then start saying NO! Saying no can be hard to do initially, but it does get easier. If items on your list do align with your purpose, then ask for help to get them done if you are swamped. The key to success with saying no or delegating items on your to-do lists is to finish what you CAN do on your list, not get lost on Social Media because you now have some free time.
Changes in your life don’t have to be huge shifts. Focusing on one area at a time, and making small adjustments to what you do makes change a lot less overwhelming. Accepting that I have a new reality when it comes to my running has allowed me to continue to move and do what I love. I run slower, and am much more focused. One added benefit to this change is that I can now write a blog post in my head during the first couple of miles :)
Welcome to Balanced Healthy Self! I'm Amy and my passion is helping individuals who want optimal health, strive for peak performance, and know that prevention is better than treating just the symptoms. Do you crave balance in all areas of your life? You're in the right place.... Amy