Just do it for Health, not Svelte

Apr 5, 2013Find joy today, Work Uncaged




(of a person) Slender and elegant.

While I was running on Monday, this phrase came to me. Just do it for health, not svelte.

I’d despaired a bit about my physique, how it wasn’t as svelte as it used to be pre-children, pre-Texas, pre-middle-age. It just ain’t the same ol’ form. And I’ve been working hard, though not as consistently as I should. Even in the midst of walking through Julia’s illness, I did manage to run a half marathon. (Oh the trauma to my body!)

Even so, it never seems to be enough. I read a lot of nutrition books, particularly as it relates to food health, organics, and how to garden well. I watch those documentaries that make you want to drink green slithery smoothies til the cows come home (Honestly, the cows can have my kale smoothie. blech.)

I eat well, whole foods, interrupted by occasional lapses shaped like dark chocolate of any form. And still, this weight. (Hmmm, maybe it’s the bread chapter from my cookbook, The Irresistible Table…)

I realized that if I am in this nutrition/exercise “fun” for the result, I’m going to be sorely disappointed. The biology just won’t cooperate. So I’m learning to shift my focus. Not weight. Not perfect skin (it will only get wrinklier). Not the body of a twenty-something that hasn’t yet lived several decades.

Nope. Just health. Thus my manifesto:

  1. I will work out for the sake of being healthy.
  2. I will run farther (er, further?) because it’s a challenge, and it helps my heart.
  3. I’ll keep at it because my morning runs are when I hear the voice of God.
  4. I will eat good, whole food because it fuels my body well and helps me concentrate as I work.
  5. I’ll take periodic breaks because my sedentary life messes with my overall health.
  6. I will stop looking at those pesky airbrushed women on magazines because, well, they’re not reality, and frankly, they make me feel less than.
  7. I’ll hug my husband and children, work to the best of my ability, and incorporate recreation into our lifestyle. Not so I can be a hottie, but so that I can live abundantly, joyfully, and alertly. (Dear English Teacher: Please forgive the three adverbs in a row like that, but they were genuinely offered.)

So there you have it. My health rant of late. It’s my encouragement to you, too. You are more than you look. You are valuable and important. And your preoccupation with looking like you did decades ago is preventing you from living beautifully right now.

Q4U: How about you? How have you managed to view exercise and diet in a life-giving, freedom-loving way?