“I can tell you gained about ten pounds,” the participant in my cycling class said to me.
Actually, it’s closer to twenty, I thought as I pasted a smile to my face.
“Well, I guess that means we will have to work harder than usual in here to help me lose it.” I said.
I had recently returned from three months in Africa. We had gone overseas to adopt four children from Ethiopia. The foreign food, the lack of routine, missing out on teaching my fitness classes, and the stress of doubling our family had worked against me. My butt was bigger than normal and this member had noticed.
“I can give you some fat blasting workout ideas,” my frenemy continued. “It will help you get back on track,”
“Oh, thank you but I am too busy right now to add in extra workouts. I will just pray the fat away.” I said.
There was a time in my life when this conversation would have crippled me. I would have revisited it time and time again in my mind. I would have doubted my ability as a group fitness instructor because of the extra ten (or twenty) pounds on my hips.
I had been overweight my entire childhood. I grew from a chubby grade schooler into a plus size high schooler into a genuinely obese college student. When I was twenty years old I decided to take control of my health.
I began attending Weight Watchers meetings and hanging out with Richard Simmons in my living room. One year later, I was 70 pounds lighter.
I was also a fitness instructor.
I had found my passion – group fitness. I loved everything about it. The music. The choreography. The camaraderie. The spandex. Thankfully I missed the years of thong leotards and leg warmers.
I taught my first fitness class when I was twenty-one years old. I have been teaching ever since. This makes eighteen years as a group fitness instructor. (This also makes me nearing forty, for those of you keeping track.)
And still, over all those years being involved in the fitness industry, I struggled with my weight.
Whenever I birthed a baby or adopted a big kid, my weight went up.
Whenever I cut out all carbs, sugar, Starbucks, and margaritas, my weight went down.
But who wants to live their forever days without margaritas? Not me, that’s who!
I decided there had to be a balance. I don’t want to be a fitness model. I want to be FIT[ish].
Fitish for me is enough whole foods to keep me healthy. Enough exercise to keep me strong. And enough margaritas to keep me happy.
Everyone has their own fitish guidelines. Find yours. Don’t let the false ideal of perfection keep you from doing something good for your body. We don’t have to be Olympians to run the race. We don’t have to be professional athletes to play the game. And we don’t have to have a six-pack to be fitish. Hallelujer!
Speaking of Olympians, I read a quote from speed skater and eight time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno. When asked about his diet regimen he said, “Not one almond more. Not one almond less.”
He. Counts. His. Almonds. <—–That’s no kind of life for me.
I decided a more appropriate quote for my fitish revolution would be the famous words of daytime talk show host Rosie O’Donnell, “Move more. Eat less.”
I am at the place in my life (nearing 40 brings everything into focus, it seems) where mediocre is good enough for me. I am never going to run the fastest mile. I am never going to lift the most weight or complete the most push ups on my toes. I am never going to break up with margaritas.
But I am going to be the most fitish person I can be.
And you can too.
May we all strive for fitishness together.