You want to change. Where to start? Fit into your “skinny genes”.
Whether you are new to fitness and a healthy lifestyle, or personal circumstances have pulled you off the wagon, figuring out what to do and where to start can be overwhelming and intimidating. You know what you are currently doing isn’t working for you. You have energy dips, mood swings, you have a hard time keeping up with your kids, you break a sweat walking up the stairs, you get winded doing the activities that you used to do effortlessly. You feel a total disconnect with your body. You want to look and perform better in all aspects of life. You are fed up. Period.
You are smart. Your logical self knows that if you continue these patterns of behavior, it will likely lead to further health problems in the future. Your father has type 2 diabetes, he takes a lot of pills. You watched as his weight fluctuate over the years. He has both knees replaced. Your mother has a thyroid condition. Your grandfather and your uncle died way too young from heart attacks. Your grandmother died of cancer. Your other grandmother lost the last years of her life due to Alzheimer’s.
Ok, maybe this isn’t your story. It’s mine. But, it is likely that you can relate to some. No longer can we look at our family history and determine our future. We are not locked into a DNA prison. We make the excuse that being overweight or diabetic is “in our genes” and just except our fate. While this may be true, we have the capability and the power of making choices that will affect how these genes are expressed. Just because family has it, does NOT mean that you will.
I hope I didn’t lose you. I just wanted to be clear that it isn’t too late to change. You want to be happy, healthy and live a vibrant life. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Why not do easy? Here is where you can start.
Keeping with the theme of family, remember when you were little? If you were anything like me, you loved to play outside with friends. You climbed and fell out of trees. You rode your bike to the playground, hung upside down on monkey bars and did backflips from the swings. In the winter, you made snow forts and licked a few stop signs just to see if your tongue would stick. It always did. In the “summer” you prayed that it was at least 70 degrees outside, which was the minimum temperature that your mother would let you break out the garden hose and play with the generic version of the “Slip and Slide” in your backyard (which you anchored to the grass with rocks from the garden). You may have hit your head one too many times on the rocks, but that wouldn’t stop your fun. Coming in for supper was a complete buzz kill. You claimed you weren’t hungry so you could stay outside. Can you imagine a time when you would rather PLAY than EAT??? I wish I could go back to that time, too.
Perhaps you weren’t like me…bouncing off the walls and jumping on the bed. But I know you remember what you liked to play. Are we too busy “adulting” that we forgot? What did you do as a child that you really enjoyed and that you haven’t done in a while? That is my challenge for you.
As human beings, we are designed to move, to explore, to learn to play. As a very first step to your new, healthier lifestyle, why not dust off the tap shoes? Join a softball team, or heck, even bowling! Take an adult Karate class or swimming lessons. If you liked video games like my older brother, there is no shame in WII tennis or Dance Dance Revolution. Find what motivates you to move, smile and remember what it was like when you had very few cares.
If you have kids, and say you don’t have time, bring them along. Go for a long bike ride, jump rope, run the dog, climb a tree again or make obstacle courses in your yard for your kids like my friend Jenn. Be the coolest parent ever. Let them inspire you. Know that the time you carve out to make health and fitness a priority is not being selfish. It is an investment in yourself, the only body you will ever have. Be kind to it. It will translate to all areas of your life. You will be a better parent, spouse, friend, not to mention more productive and creative at your job. Your best version of you is the greatest gift you can give. Again, your genetic code is not your destiny. It’s not too late to change it. Playing is a great way to start. Get out there and go have some FUN!!