It’s been almost five years since I started embracing the healthy coastal lifestyle. It’s been a little over two months since my family and I started following the Mediterranean eating plan. And it’s been about nineteen hours since my tween and I last did a dance fitness workout together, which is always fun and affords us time for meaningful conversation. She noticed that I’ve gotten smaller, which is wonderfully affirming. We talked about finding her “why.” She likes doing this workout with me, but beyond that, how does it benefit her? What is her “why”?
First I shared my “why” with her. This is part of my story from three years ago:
I quit with the denial. My body was telling me there were some serious issues – my knees, especially. Then I started noticing problems some of my heavier family members were having – sleep apnea and diabetes. (I knew a guy who was a pretty young fella with weight-related heart problems and apnea; he died in his sleep one night.) I’m a big fan of vicarious learning if it’ll keep me out of trouble, and I took advantage of the learning opportunities. Truth for me includes realizing that my family has to take care of me later if I don’t take care of myself now. Why put that on them sooner than necessary? My knees stopped hurting when I dropped weight; my sleep got sounder when I conquered my anxiety and learned mindfulness (which has also helped with weight loss); and since I’ve started yoga, my ibuprofen intake has dropped from 5 tablets on cardio days (2x per week) to fewer than 5 per month.
Now I take turmeric supplements to help with inflammation so can’t safely take ibuprofen. Even so, I’m more likely to take acetaminophen for monthly discomfort than for anything at all health-related. Being active and taking care of my body has made it healthier.
As I state in the quote above (it’s from a Facebook comment on a post I’d put up), part of my “why” is so my family–especially my daughters–won’t have to worry about taking care of me any earlier than necessary. Conversely, I want to be able to continue showing up for them. If I’m healthy and active, then not only will the quality of my life be good, but so will the quality of our family life. They are my “why.” This is a choice I’ve made completely on my own. None of them said I was fat/obese/overweight, and none of them told me I need to lose weight. If I were doing it for them, then I’d have no motivation to stick with it. Instead, I do it ultimately for me. My choices just happen to benefit them, too.
As my daughter and I danced like no one was watching and talked, she shared her “why”: “I’m building up stamina for soccer.” She’s a phenomenal goalie and defender, but she had the opportunity to play forward last season and loved it. Defenders run in sprints; forwards have to be able to run up and down the pitch continuously, which requires stamina. Since she’s hoping to play offense again this season, she has to be ready to run. Her “why” is to better her game, and that’s a darn good reason to me.
What’s your “why”? What motivates you to stay with your healthy lifestyle choices? Could you use some help and motivation to get with it or stick with it? Let me know in the comments below. I’d be happy to cheer you on!