Fitness is a Journey Not a Destination

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL)

I used to think “Someday when I’m thin, I’ll ______.”

I was waiting to live.

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

Fitness is not a destination; it’s a journey, and it’s 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. It’s 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 it’s 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 can’t 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 You will find nourishing food that tastes wonderful and suits every palate.

Nurture yourself everyday a little bit. Whether it’s taking time for a book, a run, or a bubble bath, you need some time to yourself. You’re 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, I’ve lost 144 pounds and counting. I’ve 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 I’m alone, bored, hungry, angry, tired. My favorite fitness magazines are Shape and Fitness. The two books I’ve 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 “I will be good on my diet” mentality and end up focused on the food I was or wasn’t eating the whole time. There were people there, but I wasn’t 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 don’t 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 you’re disabled and hate exercise, doesn’t mean you can’t learn to enjoy it and do it. Seriously, I used a roller bottomed chair and rolled around my kitchen because I couldn’t 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 it’s 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 you’ll find your passion. Now, I still can’t say I LOVE exercise, but I am motivated like Pavlov’s 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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GMACAMI 5/25/2019
interesting article and comments Report
JSTETSER 12/8/2018
You are my hero, and I am motivated when I read about your journey. I am controlling Type II Diabetes (T2D) with food and exercise. I continue to grow stronger and healthier on this journey. Some people consider me a crazy nut for my lifestyle changes, but I don't care. All I have to do is look at you and know that it's worth it.
I do it all for me. Report
KHALIA2 8/25/2018
Thank you for this great blog! Report
It's a forever journey, SparkFriend! The change of a lifetime! Oh, yeah Report
Great article! Report
Really great blog!! I agree it's about the journey not the destination at the end. Indeed, that's what all life is about: The journey! Good journeying to you! Report
I like music too but didn't think about having a song that triggers me to start exercising. Think maybe using my son's drumming would be best because it's not dependent on my choosing or not choosing to start the music.
Was reading your blog. You are really talented at song writing. In church music, setting new words to familiar tunes makes it much easier to introduce an unfamiliar hymn. As the tune is usually extremely well known, one is able to focus on the lyrics and the message being conveyed through them. Report
Great positive thoughts! This reminds me of a book I have, called,
"Happiness at the Speed of Life."
You should be the poster gal for SparkPeople. You've come a long way and always seem so upbeat and positive. In my book, YOU ROCK!!! Report
Thanks Beth, I really needed this blog today! Report
Good Blog!! Am working on taking the 'healthy eating' to heart. Most dif.
Exercise isn't as difficult. Just need to remember 'me' and make time.
Congrats on taking weight off and maintaining.
Take care. Report
Thank you SO much! Report
Thank you for such an inspirational insightful blog! Report
We are all in so much of a hurry. Our journey and the people we meet along the way who support and urge you on is what is really important. That is one of the many reasons I am so happy to have found SparkPeople. They are helping me along in my journey. Report
Your insights to what life is all about are an insiration Report
Everytime I see a blog in the emails from "DailySparkGuest," I'm always hoping it's Beth...another beautiful blog! =) Report
Your blog is so inspirational. I am a positive person by nature but everyone gets in a blue/depressing mood at some point especially with all the ups and downs, that comes with trying to better ones self. You lifted my spirit and gave the motivation to get through another day. Thank you!

Randall Report
I have read this three times and each times have gotten something more from it. Thank you for this excellent blog!! Report
Great blog! Report
Wonderful Blog !!! Thank you. Report
You are an inspiration. I don't have as far to go as you but it is still a struggle. I have been trying to start an exercise program and do well for a few days and then forget about it again as I get wrapped up in lift's activities. You are right, though you just have to keep working. I'm hoping to establish an exercise habit but the first week went well and now the second is stalled. I will not give up. I CAN do it! Good luck on your continued success! You CAN do it too!! Report
I definitely used to think of fitness as a destination. But I now see it as a journey....taking it one day at a time and even 1 meal at a time. Healthy choices tend to snowball and eventually show results. Report
I'm printing this and posting it on my motivation board, next to the picture of me in the hospital after my heart attack. As a goal-oriented person I need to be reminded it's the trip has more value than the destination. Thanks for the reminder! Report
Hi Beth, I love reading your blogs. I always find so much common sense and usable wisdom in them. Today's blog reminds me of one of my all time favorite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Life is a journey, NOT a destination." I will always remember the first time I heard it. MADE SUCH A DIFFERENCE IN MY LIFE. Just like YOU do.
Thanks always, Paula Report
This is an awesome blog. Report
First thing I did was cancel subscriptions to "Fitness" and "Shape" magazines, they stress getting Skinny to look like the current crop of celebs, and just "wink & smile" at the health part, in actual fact, but pretend to care about nutrition. Not really helpful at all for the average schmuck. Report
Thanks for the refocus. I was thinking of it as a destination and now I have changed my mind. Report
Good thoughts --- reminds me that when I hear certain songs on my mp3 player I feel like I HAVE TO run! Certainly wasn't true a couple of years ago. Thanks, SP, for helping change my life! Report
~INDYGIRL: I love your story! You are a great hero to me. There are so many complexities to our journey, but it always starts with baby steps. Thank you for this blog. Report
Thank you so much for such a wonderful blog. I have to say it gave me a new perspective on losing weight and getting fit. I have never quite thought of it quite like this before. Thank you and God bless! Report
I definitely used to think of weight-loss as a destination. I figured I would get down to a certain point and the rest would be cake! Found out, really quick that's just not the case! Report
I have always made sure I made nutritous food. I was told I would not lose weight so stop trying by a prominent Dr.
Thanks to the in depth information regarding portion, timing and exercise, I am very gradually succeeding. I never binged, I tried to avoid over eating. This is a lifetime journey. I see it that way because I am healthier than ever. The weight loss just came along with becoming healthier and stronger with exercise. Report
Great blog! Loved the analogies AND tips - will be imagining that trellis of support as I grow upward and bloom! THANKS!!! Report
How beautifully stated. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us. You are truly inspirational. Report
Thanks for the wonderfully helpful blog. I have saved it to my favorites. Report
'They' say it takes 21 days of doing the same thing everyday, to make a habit! So if you want to make a good habit of doing something everyday, just repeat it everyday for 21 days, and then it will become automatic for you to do it thereafter! (or so they say)! Report
Beth, this is so beautifully written and so helpful. Thank you for articulating and sharing these thoughts. I think it's so hard for most of us (myself included) to stick with it when we may not see or feel changes, but that's the point: you do it anyway. Then suddenly, one day, you feel wonderful. And the day after that. And then the scale goes down a bit, and a bit more. Then you feel even better. And, as you said, it becomes a habit. But forming the habit is the hard part. Thank you for your inspiration! Congratulations and keep up the great work! :) Report
sometimes we do forget that this is a journey and we better live life right now instead of waiting on tomrrows. thanks for reminder Report
I still think running will be better when I'm thinner. But, thanks to all these enthusiast runners on SparkPeople, I have given it a go. And it didn't injure me, or kill me, so that's good. But I prefer walking. I really did like this article, though. Report
Thank you for this! I so needed to "hear" this right about now. I have become very frustrated with my plateau of two months- not one single pound down :( but I keep trying...some days are better than others. And hopefully the stress will go down by the end of this month and that will help :) if i could just get back on a regular sleep schedule now... Report
I like this, a lot. So many people forget that, at base, all of life is a journey--and most of us don't like to dwell on the ultimate destination...

Beth, you have done a beautiful job of articulating what a meditation teacher would call "being in the present moment" as that applies to fitness. Thanks. Report
I loved this blog. It reminded me of how I was 70 pounds ago when I started this journey. Now I just have to get motivation to get back on the exercise wagon. Motivation page, here I come, even though I feel like a "slug". Report
I like the way you are so right! This is just what I needed to hear/read today!!
Thanks for sharing! Report
WOW-- I love this perspective. I am changing to that line of thinking the longer I keep this. Thanks for sharing Report
Thank you for taking the time to write about your journey. My journey is to dance, dance, and dance. Have fun while exercising also. Report
Great ideas and inspiration! Report
Thank you IndyGirl. I needed to read this. I've been struggling the past few weeks. I think it's the change in seasons. Reading this blog helps me know that I willget over this and I will move forward. Report
I love the image of you rolling around in the rollie-chair - that's just awesome. You are SUCH an inspiration lady! Thanks for this! Report
Thank you for writing this so many people are dieting, or join Spark People and still expect weightloss to be instant . Also people think that once you lose your weight and become thin life will be perfect. The person that you are with the weight will be the person you are thinner. If you make lifestyle changes gradually that you implement in your life then you will keep these. I think your article should be read by everyone on the message boards on Spark People . I think that would encourage and give people a wakeup call that this is what is the reality. Report