Physical Balance Series Part 1
Our Conquering Momma team believes in a balance of the spiritual, mental, and physical aspects of our lives. For the past few years, I have been struggling with my physical health. I had been in decent shape prior to Covid and honestly was having a very difficult time getting back on track. I would work out for a few weeks then quit. My diet was hit or miss on whether I consumed healthy foods and continues to be a struggle. I am making ground, but it is slow, and there are setbacks. Realizing where I should start my goal setting was probably one of the harder tasks to get started as I had tried to go straight back to working out at a level that I used to and couldn’t make it work. I had to set a realistic goal of where I was in my physical fitness journey and go from there.
In December of 2022, I decided that I was going to walk 30 miles. Just a mile a day, no matter the weather or if I felt like it. This was the kicking off point, it was a goal that was appropriate from where I was starting physically and as I conquered the miles, I started to regain my sense of discipline. It was a bit discouraging because it was more consistent movement than I had had in a long time, but I gained seven pounds due to a new medication that I had started. This taught me to start focusing on the movement itself and not how much weight I could lose. I was feeling the victory of completing the goal and knew that I was ready to try to move to my next physical goal.
Next, I went to a gym on base with my husband and got familiar with the set-up. I had not been inside a gym in a long time and was frankly intimidated. I have been lifting weights since high school and I was scared, so I get it if you have never set foot in a gym, learning to lift is a daunting goal. I would suggest starting your workout regimes in a comfortable environment and as you feel more confident push yourself to the next goal. My goal is to go to the gym at least 2 to 3 days and then do home workouts. I have now been going for eight weeks and it feels like a piece of my old self is back.
When I used to think of the vision of what physically fit looks like on me it was having a flat stomach and toned arms. I will have a flashback to a time when I was crushing it in the gym and the gains were evident in my physique, however, getting older I now have a slightly different vision of what physical health looks like. While my initial motivation was to look like I am in shape, I am learning there is really a lot more that encompasses our physical health than just looking a certain way. It is about being confident in our bodies, feeling strong and capable, having more energy, and feeling well while living. There is nothing worse than feeling like crap all the time due to lack of movement, sleep deprivation, and poor nutrition. I speak from experience as I have lived in both a balanced and non-balanced physical state and the effects on my overall enjoyment of life in each state is profound. I am telling you this as a hope to encourage you so that you can enjoy your life to the fullest. Sometimes, it feels like I have this secret drug (exercise), when I am physically balanced I feel amazing in both mind and body and I just want to share it with everyone I know. It is so hard to get into a state of physical wellness. It is overwhelming. I want to walk through it with you as I am walking through it myself.
There are five areas that I think you really have to pay attention to in order to feel your best both in a physique and an internal way they are; good nutrition, exercise, mobility, sleep, and relaxation. We will go into each topic as a part of the physical health series. Just know that positive physical health habits improve mood, health, quality of life, increase energy, and so much more. To feel the most benefits, we must pay attention to all the areas. That is not to say you won’t feel some pretty quick return on your investment if you start in one area over another. Personally, I am starting with exercise and mobility. As I make those habits in my life I will then move onto my nutrition, sleep, and relaxation.
You might be thinking “why should I be active?” Being active can help protect against developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Yep, sign me up for not wanting to have to deal with any of that. I talked earlier about how exercising improves mood and this is so important. Sometimes the last thing you want to do is pull the covers back from that depression hidey hole that is your bed and go move your body, but your mind will thank you. I cannot tell you the number of times working out has completely shifted my day in a better direction. It is almost like magic sometimes, I will feel like running away from my life or just feel super anxious or down, if I will go for run, lift some weights, even just a brisk walk will push me to the other side of those feelings, and I will be in a much better headspace. The goal is to get 150 minutes of physical activity each week and while you are thinking man that is a lot of minutes it is about 25 minutes of briskly walking a day. I can hit my 150 minutes just by taking my dogs for a walk every day. This is literally how I got back into exercising in December. If you do it long enough it becomes a habit and then it is just part of your routine and life.
I am going to throw a disclaimer out there as I work through this series; I am in no way a personal trainer or nutritionist. Just a gal sharing her experience in the struggles and victories of balancing my physical health. I suggest talking with your health care provider before starting a new work out routine or if you have concerns that physical activity would be unsafe for you to start.
“The mind is the most important part of achieving any fitness goal. Mental change always comes before physical change.”
Each day you decide what life you want to create and make choices towards who you will become. I hope that today you choose to make choices towards your most beautiful life. May your week be filled with light and love.
This top picture is a reminder of where I want to be in my physical fitness journey. I had balance and look at that confidence!
This is me now, I am trying to pull that balance back into place, sometimes we have to start over and that is okay, just don't give up.
1. Benefits of Physical Activity. NIH. 25 February 2023. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/tips-get-active/benefits-physical-activity
2. Tips to Help You Get Active. NIH. 25 February 2023. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/tips-get-active