Saturday, 19 May 2012

Healthy Lifestyle Bullies

Family and friends can have such a huge impact on what we see as "normal" in our day to day lives.  A sedentary lifestyle lived by someone close to you can inadvertently have a similar impact on your own health and fitness.  On the other hand, some people look at other people who are active and make excuses for their own fitness level (or lack-there-of) by labeling them people as "fitness fanatics", or "obsessive".  Yes, there must absolutely be a balance and exercise/healthy living can't be all you care about or you aren't really living, are you?  That being said, I don't know anyone personally who is at that level of fanaticism but I do know many people who use this negative labeling to make themselves feel better about their unhealthy lifestyles.  It's health bullying in a way.  

Adam Knowles and I post Half Marathon
The reason I'm writing all of this is because I had a sort of lightbulb moment with my great friend and fellow blogger Krysten (Misadventures of a Darwinian Fail) after a 6am crossfit class at Indestri in Collingwood.  It's no surprise, and no great secret that both Krysten and I have had our own challenges with body image (hey, we're human).  However as we sipped our lattes at Starbucks post workout, we made a connection that something had changed this year for both of us re:health and fitness.  A ball had dropped.  It began when we each committed to running a half-marathon.  When the training began, there was a serious shift in the way we each thought about our bodies.  For me it went from dragging myself to the gym and hoping that I had burned enough calories, to pushing myself to run farther than I ever had before.  When you're training for a race, you can't treat your body badly because you need it be a clean machine.  We both started to appreciate our bodies more and although neither of us broke any records by any means, we both finished something that a few years ago we had never dreamed of committing to.  

So yes, it may seem crazy and obsessive to run for 2 hours and put yourself through blisters and cramps and all sorts of other crap and actually pay to run in a half marathon, but hey - it's the best therapy and confidence boost I've ever had.  So if you're reading this and you think you might fall into the "health bully" category - maybe it's just your fear talking.  Any chance you might actually want to challenge yourself in this way too?  How about saying f%&k it to your excuses and put on a pair of sneaks and just GO?  And if you've crossed paths with someone like this - don't be angry with them, just remember, like any bully, they are doing it out of their own insecurity.  So run, swim, hike, yog, cross, or whatever else it is that keeps you sane and don't let anyone make you feel bad about it.