The SparkPeople Blog

Fitness is a Journey Not a Destination

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/4/2010 5:16 AM   :  63 comments   :  15,972 Views

By Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL)

I used to think ďSomeday when Iím thin, Iíll ______.Ē

I was waiting to live.

Well, guess what? Life is happening now, not 10 pounds from now.

Fitness is not a destination; itís a journey, and itís a process. To think that we will arrive at a state of fitness perfection one day and stay there without continuing on our journey, is a dream. Think of changing your lifestyle as evolving, not as something with which you can just be finished. Itís easy to get caught up in the idea that you can achieve a certain number on a scale or a certain body size and be done. The problem is that itís never enough. You have to maintain your healthy lifestyle in order to maintain those results. You also have to fight the effects of aging on the body and metabolism. It can be done, but not in one act, one step.

This is change that needs to be nurtured and grown like a garden. You canít just throw seeds down and have beautiful plants immediately. It takes proper soil (environment), good fertilizer (food), sun (to nurture and help the plant grow), and water (necessary for all life to survive). While you may have cleaned out your kitchen, bought your scale, measuring cups, and healthy food, is your environment stress free?

Is your family supporting you? If not, you may want to rely heavily on other (like the SparkPeople community) to give you that support. They are like the trellis for your flowers and vines to climb on and gain strength as they reach for the sun.

Is your food REALLY good for you? Have you read and done research on labels and misinformation? There are plenty of articles on SparkPeople to get you going in the right dietary direction. Forget only eating rice cakes. Check out SparkRecipes.com. You will find nourishing food that tastes wonderful and suits every palate.

Nurture yourself everyday a little bit. Whether itís taking time for a book, a run, or a bubble bath, you need some time to yourself. Youíre no doubt familiar with the importance of drinking water. It cools the body, regulates it, and is vital for life, not to mention that it suppresses the appetite.

In my weight loss journey, Iíve lost 144 pounds and counting. Iíve kept over 100 off for over two years and continue to lose. What I discovered was that sometimes things worked for me for awhile and then I needed to change it up a bit. Then I would find a new tip or trick that would work better. I am always reading SparkPeople articles, blogs, and fitness magazines to help me learn what changes to try next to keep it fresh. Reading helped me learn what to try in social situations, when Iím alone, bored, hungry, angry, tired. My favorite fitness magazines are Shape and Fitness. The two books Iíve found most helpful are The Spark, and YOU: On a Diet.

A mistake I used to make was to eat the same old foods over and over and repeat everything so that each day was boring and ritualistic. Varying things and trying new ideas gives me a sense of adventure.

Another mistake I made was going to parties or holiday celebrations with my ďI will be good on my dietĒ mentality and end up focused on the food I was or wasnít eating the whole time. There were people there, but I wasnít nearly as focused on the people.

Then I read that you should vary your diet and try new things. I also learned to fill your plate first with good-for-you foods, then later take small spoonfuls of your favorites. I tried both, and by knowing I got to try new things or have what I wanted, I kept myself in check. It worked for me.

Finding a workout you like may take awhile if you donít like exercise or are disabled. You may have to start with 3 minute, 5 minute or 10 minute chunks of workout time depending on your situation. You might be able to do more and explore different sports. Even playing with your children actively can be a cardio workout and so can rocking very fast in a rocking chair.

There are a million ways to be active. I learned that just because youíre disabled and hate exercise, doesnít mean you canít learn to enjoy it and do it. Seriously, I used a roller bottomed chair and rolled around my kitchen because I couldnít walk. It was kind of fun. You can dance in bed, do chair yoga, chair tai-chi, chair dance. Weights can be done anywhere. Swimming is a great all over toner and itís very easy on the joints. Keep trying things, no matter how silly they sound, as long as they are fun and work up a sweat and youíll find your passion. Now, I still canít say I LOVE exercise, but I am motivated like Pavlovís dog when I hear my motivational workout music start.

Good luck on your journey. Remember it is your personal journey, so take what you want and leave the rest behind.

Did you ever view fitness and good health as destinations? Have you changed your mind?


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Comments

  • 13
    I am so impressed with so many people I have read about that are SparkPeople!!! This blog is wonderful and puts dieting and life in such a thoughtful prospective. Also, so many people that have replied are doing so well and work so hard. It is so fantastic to be part of a group that can and does inspire so many of us. Thank you everyone!!!! - 11/4/2010   9:53:03 AM
  • 12
    thank you for this eye opening blog! excellent tips and words of inspiration. - 11/4/2010   9:42:04 AM
  • 11
    Beautifully written, Beth! You are so right about this being a lifelong process that constantly needs "tweaking". I think the reason so many famous "diets" don't work is because people think it's something you do for a while and then go back to eating whatever you want. One big thing I've learned from Spark is that no two people are the same (duh, think I've heard that before). And it is a process of constantly looking for new answers. We are never exactly the same on any two days. Our bodies are dynamic systems that change and fluctuate just like the weather, the ocean, and all the rest of the beautiful things in nature. - 11/4/2010   9:36:44 AM
  • 10
    Great blog. Thanks for sharing your journey, it was good for me to read it. - 11/4/2010   9:04:56 AM
  • 9
    I so much enjoy this great blog! I thought like that too? You once reach your weight lost you made it? Wrong? it is a continuing life change... one you have to slowly but surelly beat the odds? I learn that without that process of eating better,healthier choice of foods,and exercising daily you are fooling yourself? So I am taking one day at a time and I know now their will be good days and other days not so good but I will get there? - 11/4/2010   8:50:39 AM
  • 8
    Thank you so much for your blog as it is very inspirational. I have a long way to go but I'm starting to get my mindset on my journey and like you say you definitely have to be able to change it up along the way. For me, I have always felt like my life is on hold for something and as I grow older, I know that I should live my life, in the now, and not wait for something that might happen in the future.

    Thanks again. Keep 'em coming.

    Susan - 11/4/2010   8:47:51 AM
  • 7
    I think I've always looked at Fitness and Wellness as a destination, not a journey. "If only I could get back to 'x' weight/health/activity..." This year I decided a couple of things - first of all, that I'm in this for life - that I'm creating my life - not simply trying to get to a certain weight (although there is a weight goal that is a part of this). I am looking to build healthy eating and activity habits that I can sustain for as long as they are working for me. Being a part of Spark has helped me learn, like many others, that what works for me now may not after a while and I need to be prepared to change it up. The second thing I decided happened before I found Spark: As part of my pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, I decided my motto was "While, not When" - While I'm learning to eat healthier, I will buy and wear that bathing suit, take that trip to Hawaii with the family... Not When I reach a certain weight/fitness level. While I'm retraining my body to move, I will join that dance studio, even though I'm the heaviest person there by far, not When I lose weight. This motto has been a fabulous motivator and a pick-me up when I hit those inevitable moments of doubt - especially in HipHop class :-). So yes, for me, my definition has changed from destination to journey. Great topic - Thanks for sharing! - 11/4/2010   8:14:42 AM
  • 6
    Thank you so much for sharing your journey today. I am ever so thankful to have found this site. Not always are friends and/or family supportive of our endeavors but here there sure are a group of people who are. I've talked about health for amny years but my Pastor often says "when the student is ready the teacher will appear." Welll thx again - 11/4/2010   7:19:59 AM
  • 5
    This blog is so true. I am only about 6 weeks into the SP program, but am making progress. The articles, blogs, motivation, support from other SP, etc. is really helping, but I know it is up to ME to follow the program. 10 lbs down; 40 lbs to goal. I WILL make it. - 11/4/2010   7:17:18 AM
  • 4
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I'm learning so much from SparkPeople too, and the support I get is a major factor in my success. And as you say, I'm learning to live life NOW, not 10 lbs. from now. Congratulations on your success! Let's keep Sparking! - 11/4/2010   6:57:17 AM
  • ENJOYINGLIFE57
    3
    Terrific blog and timely for me. I've lost 75 pounds but have been stuck for a year. Granted I have some weeks that aren't so great, but for the most part I get in about 4 or 5 hours of exercise a week and eat within my range. It's frustrating but I know that at 53, it comes off a lot slower. I'm going to continue on this journey and although I'm not at my "goal" weight, I was kayaking all summer and will be snowshoe-ing this winter. Living life the best I can all while on this journey! And how ironic...the picture you have for your blog is one I printed 2 years ago for my weight loss journal! - 11/4/2010   6:25:43 AM
  • ENJOYINGLIFE57
    2
    Terrific blog and timely for me. I've lost 75 pounds but have been stuck for a year. Granted I have some weeks that aren't so great, but for the most part I get in about 4 or 5 hours of exercise a week and eat within my range. It's frustrating but I know that at 53, it comes off a lot slower. I'm going to continue on this journey and although I'm not at my "goal" weight, I was kayaking all summer and will be snowshoe-ing this winter. Living life the best I can all while on this journey! And how ironic...the picture you have for your blog is one I printed 2 years ago for my weight loss journal! - 11/4/2010   6:25:43 AM
  • BOBLITE
    1
    Great blog. I am currently at 106.5 pounds lost in my weight loss journey and still want to lose about 15 pounds. To me, it is always important to have something to reach for, a goal to strive toward. And once you reach it.....there is something exciting and new around the bend. Finally, I have found that, as with every journey, enjoy the surroundings while you are taking it.
    Your fellow Sparker,
    Bob
    - 11/4/2010   6:18:39 AM

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