“ Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.
How will you reward yourself for achieving your fitness goals? New pair of shoes? A special meal? When starting out a fitness regimen and losing weight, I would argue that rewarding yourself (frequently and generously) is a good thing, especially when the reward ties directly to what you’ve achieved. You’ve gone from a size 8 to a size 2, why not get a new skirt to show the world your trimmed down figure? You’re running your first 5K, why not get some fancy new running shoes? After you’re achieved several fitness milestones, though, and your closest has started to fill with smaller clothes, colorful shoes, etc., these rewards start to seem empty. And you start to realize that it’s the exercise itself - whether running, mountain biking, surfing, lifting weights, working out at the gym - that is the reward. Each day now, I recognize and deeply appreciate that it’s a God-given reward to have my health, my body, and the strength to run as many miles as I want.
When I first started working out several years ago, I went through a series of what I recall being “zones of pain.” First it was my back and arms. Then it was my legs. I knew from reading about basic physiology that when you start working out again (after not having done so for years…and there is some acronym for this effect), it can be very painful due to the fact that you’re tearing & rebuilding muscle fiber. Also, because I was relatively heavy (& all of a sudden) engaging in a lot of strenuous activity, my joints seem to be undergoing a kind of coordinated rebellion.
Pain is probably one thing that a lot of people fear about getting back into exercising regularly. If you’re in pain, especially in the morning, it makes moving through one’s daily routine more difficult. It’s hard to get out of bed. It can be hard to bend down to tie one’s shoes. You wince just going through the motions of daily life.
As I moved through my fitness odyssey, one thing that helped immensely was that I started to take a different perspective on pain: perhaps one that could be characterized as “strong medicine.” If it does not hurt, then it is not working. This attitude I took towards pain can be captured simply in a sign that someone was holding during the Chicago marathon last weekend: “Pain is weakness leaving your body.” I think that phrase is something that Marine drill sergeants instill in new recruits.
While at first, I wanted to avoid pain, after a while I felt as though if I were NOT in pain, I was not working my body out hard enough. I recall a line from that Demi Moore movie, “GI Jane” in which the instructor said, “…pain is your friend - it is your ally.” This morning, when I woke up and felt sore in the shoulders and struggled to put my shirt on (as a result of bench pressing at the gym yesterday), I had more a sense of satisfaction than annoyance.
“ More than one-third of U.S. adults (over 72 million people) and 17% of U.S. children are obese. During 1980–2008, obesity rates doubled for adults and tripled for children. During the past several decades, obesity rates for all population groups—regardless of age, sex, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, education level, or geographic region—have increased markedly.
“ In 2008, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion; the medical costs paid by third-party payors for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.
I took my daughter running again this evening at Haverford College. She initially said that she wanted to run 1 mile, then, no, “TWO MILES DADDY!” Off we ran. We kept a good pace for the first mile, but then her feet started hurting her - she ‘s still getting used to her Vibram five fingers (i.e., barefooted running shoes). I encouraged her to keep going, not to give up on the initial goal of two miles despite her feet hurting her. She kept at it & even fast-walked the last lap to get to her goal of two miles. I think I have a little proto-marathoner here :-D