Exercising For Health vs Vanity

10-07-15

This is a follow-up post to yesterday’s post, “Getting Motivated.”

First, for accountability, I’ll mention that today I did the 1st and 2nd Wheel Whole Woman Yoga programs.  Then, I vacuumed the whole house.

Ok, today’s post…

Yes, I AM now motivated to do more exercise, get stronger, firm up and feel a little more fit than I have over the past year plus.  However– I want to briefly discuss a big, big change that I didn’t anticipate since I had my baby…

PRIORITIES CHANGE!

As soon as I had my baby, my focus has been on him.  It’s not about me anymore!  Doing exercise simply for the sake of “trying to look perfect” just doen’t seem important to me anymore.

I realize now that before I had a baby I was focused on trying to make my body look as perfect as I could because I didn’t have “anything better to do.”  I realize it was a hobby.  It’s not like I was obsessed or disordered in my eating/exercising or anything, it’s just that I wanted to find out exactly what I could accomplish with my body.

Since I’ve been eating a healthy vegan diet for years, it’s not a matter of health.  Health has always come first.  I was healthy before pregnancy, I had a healthy pregnancy, and I am healthy now.  My post-partum weight loss back to pre-baby status happened without any directed effort because I eat well as a baseline.

For me, exercising isn’t for the purpose of weight loss.  In my experience, weight management is almost entirely diet-dependent.  In addition, when I walk 2-3 miles with the stroller several days per week, I consider that to be the absolute minimum exercise I should be doing.  Everyone needs to walk regularly!   Human bodies need to move and walking is the best general purpose full body exercise there is.

Bending and stretching to keep all the muscles of the body flexible and toned in a general way is also something that everyone should be doing for overall wellness.  And of course, everyone should find something active to do with their body that is super fun!  The recreational sports that really get my endorphins going are telemark skiing and mountain biking.

So– at what point does a person cross the line from doing the ideal amount and variety of exercises to achieve optimal health to doing more and more exercises for the sake of simply “looking good” (culturally defined, of course)?

This is one question that I’ve been pondering since I had my baby.  My priorities have changed.  I definitely want to do that “ideal amount and variety of exercises to achieve my optimal health,” but the question is, how much more than that do I WANT to do for the sake of my looks?

I don’t have the answer today, so stayed tuned as I figure this out.  As of now, I am sitting at my pre-pregnancy weight which is ~100 pounds.  My tummy skin still has a little looseness because I carried a baby to full term at 42 years old!  Fortunately, I have no stretch marks.  I have naturally maintained the strength needed to lift and carry my ~20 pound baby throughout each day, so certain of my muscles are toned.  I also maintain flexibility through daily stretching.

The “only” thing my body lacks right now in terms of “looking better” is regaining the muscle mass that I’ve lost.  Strength training to look my “best” is a hobby for me.  And it IS a hobby I’m still interested in!

But clearly that hobby is not nearly as important to me as it was before.  Now, being the best mom I can be to my son is my primary focus in life.  Everything else is secondary.

I love my new “take or leave it” attitude toward achieving body perfection.  It gives me freedom and peace!

I am healed.

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