Recently, I’ve had several conversations about motivation and intention—why some women aim to look a certain way, get really lean, strong or, some would say, “look like men”; post fitness progress pictures on Instagram; or pursue physical activity to an extent some would consider a little too much. Why yoga? Why crossfit? Why running? Why this or that?
Is it a hype or does it work?
The first time a good friend of mine mentioned bulletproof coffee or BPC, I visibly flinched. How can coffee, butter and coconut oil be good, let alone drinkable?! I soon discovered its cult-like following on social media, and numerous fitness influencers who swear by its effects. Of course, I have also come across articles warning me of my potential ignorance should I “fall” for the BPC craze. So far though, it seems supporters outnumber detractors, at least in my ‘algorithmically’ manipulated social media networks.
What’s your why? That is the single most important question you should answer for yourself. Your why may stay the same or change over time, so it’s crucial to constantly reassess and always have this ultimate personal truth in mind. It’s not faux spirituality or an abstract new age concept. It’s logical and quite simple: how can you be the captain of your own life’s ship if you don’t know where you’re heading?
It’s that time of year again where we get to look back on the year that was and resolve to do better and be better in the year(s) to come. While changing for the better is ideally practiced every day and at every possible moment, there is something romantic about doing a yearly ‘one-time-big-time’ exercise of taking stock of our lives and doing a ‘life cleanse’. Getting rid of physical things Often, sorting out what’s in our heads can be difficult and overwhelming. What helps me get in the right frame of mind to ‘sort’ life out is physically clearing out my closet, cabinets, boxes, luggage, and getting rid of anything that brings no added value, meaning or joy into my life. I’ve always been averse to owning many things, but for one reason or another, I’m not completely spared from the annoying human habit of inadvertently accumulating all sorts of useless stuff over time. I actually did it, I threw out more than a dozen trash bags full of old receipts, packaging, useless brochures, …
In the last 10 to 15 years, yoga hit the mainstream and to a large extent, became a trend, a fashion statement, a social signature, or worse, something rich skinny girls did. I cringed at anything that seemed to be a result of ‘sheep mentality’ in order to prove one’s belonging to a social group, and that’s what I felt about yoga. I couldn’t understand the hype around it or the sometimes faux spirituality people had when talking about it. I was a kick-boxing, body-pumping, high-intensity exercise type of girl. Yoga was too slow, unchallenging, and was for those who wanted to “exercise” without putting in too much effort.
Well, if you’re a yogi, you might have been shaking your head from the first sentence. Clearly, I was so very wrong.
For many women, it’s the hardest thing to lose. At some point, I told myself it’s genetic and I just have to accept that I’ll always have a bloated lower belly. While I’m all for acceptance, my reasoning was flawed because I knew I hadn’t put in the effort to do something about it. That’s the good news: we actually can help our bodies torch the unwanted fat gathering around our lower bellies.
Why work out at home? It’s free. Convenient. Time-saving. Excuse-proof. Comfortable. And you can wear whatever you want. A gym rat for decades, I’ve recently discovered the joy of doing my workouts at home. My love affair with working out began when I was a teenager and I’ve a gym membership for as long as I can remember. That is, until a hectic and erratic work schedule meant no more gym and I started dabbling in home workouts.
There’s a lot of passionate debate online over what body positivity means, but I’d like to focus on one part of the discussion: your view of your body. There will always be judgment coming from all directions, but that’s just noise. The most important ‘judgment’ is the one you make on yourself. In fact, it’s not judgment you need, but acceptance.
Having said that…
Yes, you have to love and accept your body just the way it is. BUT loving your body entails taking care of it by keeping it healthy and active.
Dieting in the form of restricting food intake or over-exercising has been part of the lives of many people, especially women, since adolescence. After decades of trying, I wondered if achieving that svelte, toned physique was even possible. But now almost two years into my own fitness journey, I’ve found that what seems counterintuitive to what we’ve programmed ourselves to think all these years is what actually works.
There’s an image that gives me the creeps — that feeling you get when you think something’s crawling on you, or a torturous itch you can’t scratch.
It’s the mental image of myself standing in the same spot, holding a ball and chain much like the one used in the hammer throw, using centrifugal force to keep the ball and chain in the air, circling on its own orbit. I feel stuck, unable to get out of position for fear of disrupting the circular path, therefore forced to actively keep spinning without leaving the exact same spot.
That’s the image I associate with vicious circles. Even thinking about it makes my body tense up.