10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out
Mid-way through a recent group exercise class, the teacher lost me. She didn’t lose me because of some complicated step sequence or insanely long set of burpees; I mentally checked out because of a few words she kept saying over and over. “Come on! Get that body ready for your winter beach vacation! Think about how you want to look at those holiday parties! PICTURE HOW YOU’LL LOOK IN THAT DRESS!”
“THAT DRESS?” My brain couldn’t focus on an image of some random dress hanging in my closet. All I could think about was my three-year-old daughter hearing and trying to process those words.
My daughter’s little brain is making sense of the world every single second, taking in verbal and non-verbal cues about how things work and what things mean. And when it comes to exercise, I want her to grow up seeing it as a joy, and not a utility…as a gift, and not a chore…as an opportunity, not an obligation. I want her to do it for the love of it, not to fit into a dress. I want her to grow up knowing that…
Strength equals self-sufficiency. Being strong – particularly as a woman – is empowering. It will feel good someday to be able to carry your own luggage down the stairs if the airport escalator is broken, and it will be important to have a solid shot at outrunning a stranger should you meet one a dark alley.
Fitness opens doors. Being healthy and fit can help you see the world differently. The planet looks different from a bike or a pair of skis than it does from a car or an airplane. Out in the elements you have the time and space to notice details and meet people and remember smells and bugs and mud and rain and the feeling of warm sunshine on your face. And those are the moments that make up your life.
The bike is the new golf course. Being fit may help you get a seat at the table. Networking is no longer restricted to the golf course, and the stronger you are – and the more people you can hang with on the road and trail – the more people you’ll meet.
Exercise is a lifestyle, not an event. Being an active person isn’t about taking a class three times a week at the gym. It’s about things like biking to the grocery store and parking your car in the back of the lot and walking instead of taking a cab and catching up with friends on a hiking trail instead of a bar stool.
Health begets health. Healthy behavior inspires healthy behavior. Exercise. Healthy eating. Solid sleep. Positive relationships. These things are all related.
Endorphins help you cope. A good sweat session can clear the slate. You will have days when nothing seems to go right…when you’re dizzy with frustration or crying in despair. A workout can often turn things around.
Working out signals hard-working. The discipline required to work out on a regular basis signals success. Someone recently told me they are way more likely to hire marathon runners and mountain climbers because of the level of commitment that goes into those pursuits.
If you feel beautiful, you look beautiful. Looking beautiful starts on the inside. And being fit and strong feels beautiful.
Nature rules. And if you’re able to hike/run/bike/swim/ski/snowshoe, you can see more of it.
Little eyes are always watching. We learn from each other. You may have a daughter—or a niece or a neighbor or a friend – one day. And that little girl will be watching and listening to everything she you say and do. What messages do you want her to hear?
I’ll never talk to my daughter about fitting into THAT DRESS. But I will talk to her about what it sounds like to hear pine needles crunching under my feet and what it feels like to cross a finish line and how special it is to see the world on foot. I will talk to her about hard work and self sufficiency. I will teach her the joy of working out by showing her I love it. And I’ll leave the rest up to her.
“I am trying to see things in perspective. My dog wants a bite of my peanut butter chocolate chip bagel. I know she cannot have this, because chocolate makes dogs very sick. My dog does not understand this. She pouts and wraps herself around my leg like a scarf and purrs and tries to convince me to give her just a tiny bit. When I do not give in, she eventually gives up and lays in the corner, under the piano, drooping and sad. I hope the universe has my best interest in mind like I have my dog’s. When I want something with my whole being, and the universe withholds it from me, I hope the universe thinks to herself: "Silly girl. She thinks this is what she wants, but she does not understand how it will hurt.”—THEORIES ABOUT THE UNIVERSE by Blythe Baird
I am normally not one to do things during the week, but in the spirit of making time to enjoy the remaining weeks of summer and the culture of the city, I jumped on the opportunity to be E’s date to the Chihuly Exhibit at the Denver Botanical Gardens for a girls night out. Even though it meant passing up the Bronco’s v Seahwaks preseason game. And I am so glad it did.
Thursday is the new Friday at the Gardens with the series Unwind, which celebrates the Gardens in the summer with different themes, wine, barbeque, live music, and admission to the exhibition Chihuly after hours.
Experiencing the exhibit after the sun went down was lovely. The sculptures alone are gorgeous, but it was fun to see the dramatic contrast when illuminated.
For those interesting in attending, the event will continue on through November to take advantage of fall’s early sunset, but the experience will be different June – September as full darkness doesn’t come until late evening. (I personally enjoyed touring around wine in hand as day melted into night, getting to see the sculptures from both a light and dark perspective.)
It is suggested to us a million times a day that our BODIES are PROJECTS. They aren’t. Our lives are. Our spirituality is. Our relationships are. Our work is.
Stop spending all day obsessing, cursing, perfecting your body like it’s all you’ve got to offer the world. Your body is not your art, it’s your paintbrush. Whether your paintbrush is a tall paintbrush or a thin paintbrush or a stocky paintbrush or a scratched up paintbrush is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that YOU HAVE A PAINTBRUSH which can be used to transfer your insides onto the canvas of your life — where others can see it and be inspired and comforted by it.
I’ve been struggling with body image. Feeling comfortable in my own skin. And in my clothes.
And it’s a damn shame because there is nothing wrong with my body.
I am old enough and certainly smart enough to know better than to fall prey to the airbrushed images lining magazines and catalogs. Knowing full well that many of the women with perfect figures I follow on Instagram earn their living as professional athletes and don’t sit behind a desk for eight plus hours a day thumbing through contracts.
Last summer, I went through some really ugly unmentionables and the only way I knew how to break through instead of break down was to lay down some miles. A lot of miles. Some around my neighborhood after work. On my mountain bike deep in the mountains. I ran myself ragged crisscrossing the county negotiating deals and keeping late hours in hotel rooms writing analytical papers about things like Amaranth deflating or energy elasticities. All in hopes that I could keep my poignant thoughts from consuming me. (I was wrong by the way)
And this other thing happened too.
I lost my appetite. I basically had to force myself to eat. So when I did, I chose the most nutritionally packed items I could get my hands on knowing I could get away with forcing myself to swallow less.
And as a result, I lost weight. Quite a bit of it.
And wow did it feel good.
But as time passed, and little bits of my life and happiness came back to me, so did my weight.
For the first time in my life, I feel heavy.
It’s not rational. It’s not realistic. And it’s not something I feel good giving voice to. Especially here on my little corner of the internet where I want my words to be pretty and document all the amazing adventures in my life. But here I am. A successful, independent young woman with body image issues just trying to be real.
I think there is a misconception that body issues only affect certain women, but the truth of the matter is that Body image it is a constant battle whether you are a 2 or a 12.
I know in my heart of hearts that I have a lot great physical qualities to be thankful about, but the thing is I am sick of looking at myself in the mirror and nurturing that negative little voice that tells me I need to get on the treadmill. And I am tired of beating myself up for eating that cookie.
Today I am embracing the fact that I am a work in progress. I am working to change my mindset by encouraging myself to think about how beautiful other women’s bodies are. I am beating down the negative thoughts that enter my mind when I compare myself to them.
I am acknowledging how much more important it is to be strong than anything else, that starving yourself isn’t attainable or healthy. I am working towards resuming a clean diet and getting back into a running routine so I can hone that strength, both mentally and physically.
(Ugly Friday morning words which will be edited and revised numerous times I am sure.)
“In French, you don’t say “I miss you.” You say “tu me manques,” which is closer to “you are missing from me.” I love that. “You are missing from me.” You are a part of me, you are essential to my being. You are like a limb, or an organ, or blood. I cannot function without you.”—Unknown (via theantiquated)
Amongst the many things I enjoy about living in Denver, I think I appreciate the proximity to the mountains the most.
Anyone who knows me in real life will tell you that during the week you will find me lost in my paper littered office, two or three cups deep into morning coffee black, (I’m taking another stab at paleo. damn you robb wolf and all of your hipster nutritional theories) thinking about acquisition strategy, how that operating agreement I pushed to the side needs to be reviewed and potentially negotiated at some point, what items should be put on the docket at the next regulatory hearing, and intermittently wondering if I could get away with rocking that navy and black leather Theory blazer to my next technical review with upper management because its superfierce.
But the thing is, as much as I want to pretend that playing career girl Monday through Friday (okay, and on the occasional weekend too) can be somewhat rewarding, the truth of the matter is that I don’t really feel all that whole from making deals for the big company I work at.
But I do when we’re drifting along the fingers of the lake, sans cellphone service with copious amounts of sunshine.
And I do when I am rain soaked and sweat-ladden looking out over the valley I have been so fortunate to call home for the last twenty-eight plus years…
More often than not I crash on my mountain bike.
I get dirty.
And banged up.
But I usually learn something. And get up stronger.
I think about things from a different perspective, because getting outside of the grind (both physically and mentally) not only allows my “work” and “play” lives to cohabitate, but it serves as a much needed and constant re-evaluation button. There’s just something about being out there that works as a catalyst for me to be a better person. To be more thankful. To count my (many) blessings. To push myself. Physically and mentally. To be kinder, to really live, disconnect from the treadmill. To shut off my phone, and my work emails.
These little betrayals of my weekend life peek through into the office by way of massive leg bruises or scrapes across my knees. But they function as helpful reminders of what is most important and who I want to be.
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s been nearly five months since I closed on my little brick bungalow in the highlands neighborhood and it’s just now starting to feel like mine.
So much of the last few months have been spent on business trips, and summer weekends in the mountains, that it’s felt more like camping at my house than anything.
And despite the fact that I bought a newly renovated property, there has been no shortage of to-do items, and there has been no hiding the fact that it was built in 1926.
The overlooked details… like not having wiring for wireless internet. The challenge in fitting an over-sized washer and dryer into a room built for standard laundry. And then the big armoire I planned for the downstairs while perfectly measured for the guest room, did in fact not fit down the stairwell (which I did not think measure). And for that reason, said armoire was subsequently bequeathed to the upstairs master bedroom by default.
And with that the decorating strategies needed adjustment. Especially to accommodate for pieces I couldn’t bare to part with. And a new design project began.
What was once red and awkward standing in my bedroom amongst grays and whites is now one of my favorite pieces in the house. (and should be after the 2+ hours I spend hand painting it)
It’s funny really, what I once feared (like having a giant entertainment cabinet in your bedroom instead of the 100 year old Chinese wardrobe that I planned on) can become such an unexpected ”blessing in disguise”. Such is my life lately it seems.
As a side-note, I’ve found quite the knack for refinishing furniture, craigslisting odds and ends like fireplace screens, and home dept trips. Who knew?
“J’aurais dû être plus gentille—I should have been more kind. That is something a person will never regret. You will never say to yourself when you are old, Ah, I wish I was not good to that person. You will never think that.”—Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed (via findthebrightside and reneenicolesays)
“Things didn’t work out because, well, greater things were in the works. It’s so difficult while we’re blind and hurting and don’t know which way is up. But, if you have faith in anything, have faith in the fact that the universe has a beautiful way of straightening things out far better than we ever could. You may not see it today or tomorrow, but you will look back in a few years and be absolutely perplexed and awed by how every little thing added up and brought you somewhere wonderful– or where you always wanted to be. You will be grateful that things didn’t work out the way you once wanted them to.”—What Happens After What Was “Supposed To Be” (via h-o-r-n-g-r-y)
“If you don’t have answers to your problems after a four-hour run, you ain’t getting them.”—
christopher mcdougall, born to run | via onwardandrunning
yes. this. this book is one my favorite things - a constant on my nightstand. a reminder of how great running is, how it bonds us, how much it goes beyond the physical, how it transcends time, & more. every time i read it, it inspires me to run - & run better than ever before. it led me to re-examine how i run &; how i could improve [which explains the pair of nike frees i picked up last week as i move towards a more “barefoot” approach to running]. if you haven’t read it, i cannot recommend it enough.