Time for a Fitness Manifesto…

I am strong. I am beautiful. I am mighty and an overcomer. I am not defined by, nor does my worth come from the number on a scale or the tag in my pants. A life well lived is not measured in calories, but in hugs, kisses, smiles, and laughs. In prayers prayed, in people loved. My kids don’t see me as overweight, they only see their mama. My soft areas are comfortable pillows and my muscles hold them close. I set an example of pursuing my best self, and not chasing an impossible standard. When they ask why I work out so hard, I tell them it’s so I can have a healthy mind and body and all the energy I need to play with them. I work out for the mental health benefits as much as the physical. I practice yoga for the same reasons but even more so. Nothing makes me feel stronger or more celebratory of the body God has given me.

I will not “diet”, or fall into any fads that restrict or are extreme. Food is for fuel, to make this complex machine run at its best, but it’s also to be enjoyed. I will not choke down food I don’t enjoy in the name of weight loss. I will not live a life of deprivation, but one of balance. It’s not all or nothing. There is such a thing as one cookie, brownie, or cupcake. If I want something, there is always an option I can live with. Sometimes that’s a healthier version-Blaze pizza instead of Pizza Hut, for example. Sometimes nothing will do but the “real thing” and I’ll indulge intelligently, by making room in my calorie balance and keeping it to one meal. Deprivation and “can’t have’s” lead to frustration and failure. That’s not a way to live. I will pursue new foods that I’m excited to cook, eat, and serve, and provide my family with delicious healthy options.

I will not give up, because I am worth the fight. It’s not just about reaching a goal, it’s about finishing what I’ve started so I can see where I can go next. It’s not just about a jean size, but about the freedom of no longer carrying the burden of the unfinished. It’s about the confidence of having completed something I began in another season and starting a new chapter.

I will not be sucked in, shamed, or discouraged by comparison. I will hike my own hike, travel my own road. What works quickly and easily for someone else may not for me, and I will learn to be okay with that. All bodies are different with different needs and different abilities, and I’ll do what works for me, what fires me up and gives me life. It could be that that person I’m tempted to envy doesn’t or wouldn’t have the strength of mind to persevere like I do, and God has given me the gift of this opportunity to make reaching my summit all the sweeter.

I won’t wait until my body changes on the outside to celebrate it. I will celebrate the daily victories, the personal bests on my bike, the improved endurance, the improved strength, being able to do more reps on strength moves, use heavier weights, take fewer breaks. I’ll celebrate consistency and draw motivation from both the streak I set and making the next one longer. I will relish the deliciousness of real food, the way it feels to fuel myself well, and share that joy with my kids.

I will balance the work with good rest. Delicious naps when I need them, long baths with Epsom salts, rest days, both active and not. I will work to have exercise not consume my day, but become an element of it. I will take an active recovery week regularly. I will not minimize the importance of recovery, but make sure I value it as highly as the food and exercise.

I will love myself and my body and remind myself constantly of my WHY. So I can be free. Free to live with more energy, more confidence, more joy. Free from distraction of self consciousness, from being limited by pain and other aspects of PCOS, more free from my mental health struggles.

I will not be defined by my tummy pooch that others might not notice, or things I can’t change like the fact that my rib cage is shaped funny so I look bigger than I am or that my torso is short.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am strong, mentally, emotionally, physically, and getting stronger. I am determined and driven. I am a boss because when it gets hard I keep going and I do NOT give up (thanks Ally Love!). I am beautiful, inside and out. I am an athlete.

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