Tag: exercise

Am I Doing What I Want To Be Doing?

file-sep-06-11-26-52-amI have set up a new lock screen on my phone. It asks me a question every time I turn the phone on. “Are you doing what you want to be doing?” And here’s the thing. I have to answer the question.

There are of course many answers to the question. First, I could be doing something I adore (writing, reading for someone, petting a cat, putting my toes in the ocean, making music, spending time with loved ones, traveling, etc.), so of course, I am doing what I want to be doing.

Next, I could be doing something I “have” to be doing or “need” to be doing. That might also be something fabulous (like washing my hair, which I need to do every day, or else, but which also gives me great pleasure).

I could also be doing something I dislike. This morning, I wasn’t the Earth Lady. I was the Poop Lady. Between Pyro’s health issues that result in poop wherever he happens to be standing when the need overtakes him, scooping the general litter box contents, and picking up after Hatha, I spent more than I truly wanted to on poop patrol.

And then of course, comes the more serious stuff I dislike like accounting, filing, business admin stuff. That stuff challenges me like crazy. I struggle with it, and I taking steps to improve on it with software, books, articles, and other guidance.

But, I still keep coming back to, am I doing what I want to be doing? I could have asked the question differently. I could have asked, “Do you want to be doing what you are doing?” Perhaps, that might have made what I am about to write easier for me to swallow. What I am talking about here is the first part more than the second part. Because, if I don’t want to be doing what I am doing, why the heck am I doing it? Because I have to? Partly. But also because some of the stuff that I have to do is because of habit. If I take all the stuff I have to do or need to do and transform it into stuff I want to do or get to do, how does it change? How does my life change?

What I’m talking about here is a modification of my perspective. Can I switch all the need to and have to into want to and get to?

When I am scooping poop, I am taking care of my critters. I am ensuring they have their needs met and that my house doesn’t become a sty. I can also incorporate my love for them into the action? How would that change it?

When I am doing accounting or sending out contracts, I am ensuring that I get to be compensated to keep doing work I love and work I feel is important (reading for people, teaching kids how to save the Earth, or helping people be more creative, or exposing them to cool music, etc.). So, don’t I owe to myself to take care of those other parts of that business so that I can keep doing what I want and love to be doing? Doesn’t that change things? (I have done it with exercise. In my late teens, I hated it. I didn’t want any part of it. In my 20s, I did it because I had to. In my 30s, it began to transform because certain forms of exercise were necessary to manage my hypothyroidism. Nowadays, I do it because I adore it. I work on the standing bag. I do Zumba. I dance. I practice yoga or Tai Chi, and I swim. I love using my body and have a great time with it. The best part? I always always feel better afterward. Working out has become like brushing my teeth. It is part of my daily activities, and it is one I enjoy, like crazy.)

So that brings me back to the question. Am I doing what I want to be doing? Or rather, do I want to be doing what I am doing? Implied in the question is, “And if not, why not?” And more to the point, can I change my perspective? And even further, can I do it right now so that the very act of doing something I don’t want to do transforms in front of my eyes into something fabulous.

Yes! I get so scoop poops. Yes! I get to do accounting. Yes! The two are equivalent in my mind because of my resistance to doing them (no offense to the accountants and bookkeepers I know; it’s not you, it’s me).

So, I release my resistance, I start getting to live my life from a place of acceptance rather than resistance. And that is a much better locale for me.

Our Bodies: How about we celebrate instead of shaming.

Fair warning: Rant imminent.
“You would be so pretty if only you would lose some weight.”
“You have such a gorgeous face. You would be stunning if you lost some weight.”
“Being so heavy is unhealthy for you.”
“You are a fat cow,” (this last was said to me by my parents, many times).
I’ve heard these so many times. I still hear them periodically only now I say things like, “Wow, you need help. Here is the name of a good therapist and an excellent etiquette counselor.”
Being fat/overweight/obese/a person of size/a BBW/a BBM is a bastion of shaming that is still hanging on. The body positive movement, led in part by people like Ashley Graham, is gaining some traction, but the trolls are still out there and spewing their muck. And what really ties my knickers into a bunch is that they are couching it in terms of being concerned for these women’s health. On her instagram feed, Ashley Graham posted a collection of shots of women wearing her swimsuit line. Most people are doing the “Queen” “Gorgeous” “Stunning” comment thing. A few are doing the “this is unhealthy.” “These women are too big. It will lead to diabetes, heart attacks, etc.” Now, please remember, they don’t know these women. They don’t know their medical history, their current BP, their current sugar numbers or anything. They only know what they see, and they feel like they can call them unhealthy and tell them that the only way they will get healthy is if they lose weight. (Not true, by the way. You can be a very healthy person who carries more weight and you can be a very unhealthy person who carries very little weight. We. Are. All. Different. Weight and shape must be addressed individually in order for a clear path to form.)
Why do people feel like they have the right to criticize your size and simultaneously couch it in terms of a concern for your health? It makes no sense to me at all. I get it that our size isn’t something we can hide. It’s right out there. But the question plaguing me this morning is how and why people feel like they have the right to talk to you about it. In a job interview, the interviewer doesn’t have the right to ask you about your gender, your sexual orientation, whether or not you have kids or are planning on having kids, etc. To obey the law, she or he must not talk about your personal life at all. Yet, I have had interviewers for jobs ask me about my exercise regimen. How about none of your freakin’ business? The fact that I have one has nothing to do with whether or not I will kick ass in this job.
And yet, it happens, all the time. I’ve had complete strangers come up to me in the street and tell me how beautiful I would be if I would only lose a few pounds. NEWSFLASH: I *am* beautiful. Am I the most gorgeous thing you will ever see? No. I am not. I am at peace with that. But I’ll be damned if I will let anyone tell me I am less than pretty because of how much I weigh or how beautiful I would be if only I lost a few pounds. Another newsflash: If we are all too busy trying to fit into a certain mold of “pretty” or “hot” we likely aren’t paying enough attention to being “kick-ass” or “talented” or “ambitious” or “kind” or “creative.” The important thing is to be healthy to try and make that the priority. If our bodies work, we can do anything! If they don’t, life becomes about managing what isn’t working instead of pushing our personal limits in other ways. So, yeah, health=good.
For my health if not for my weight, I work out every single day. I try my hardest to do weight training, swimming, yoga, boxing, zumba or something every day. I eat a vegan diet. I eat no sugar. I hardly ever drink. I’ve never smoked. I use sunscreen. And yet I have the metabolism of a three-toed sloth because of hypothyroidism. No matter what I do, I will never have a faster metabolic rate unless I am willing to go on meds for the rest of my life. I am unwilling to do that (since those were either tested on animals or the thyroid hormone comes directly from cows and I don’t use animal products if I can at all help it) so I have to make my peace with my weight and my energy levels.
I know so many people (women mostly though men have this issue as well [and non-gender specific folks too, of course]) who try super hard to be in shape and be healthy and who due to various reasons carry more weight than society deems “healthy” or “attractive.” (this doesn’t mean that those people are unhealthy, btw. It means they are carrying more weight than someone else says they should be because as the research shows, weight/size don’t correlate with health. You can be “overweight” and be super healthy. You can be “skinny” and be super unhealthy.).
How about this? Unless you are that person’s doctor or other medical professional, it’s none of your freakin’ business! And even doctors don’t know the whole story. New research is coming out all the time that says that size and health are not necessarily related. And size might be a genetic issue that the person can do nothing about. And that dieting or exercise might be useless to address size because each individual has a specific method that will work for them.
So, here’s my thought. Let’s try to boost each other up rather than tearing each other down. Let’s work together. Let’s play together. Let’s appreciate each other (and just as importantly ourselves) for who we are, for what kindnesses we do, for our sense of play and adventure, for our contributions to the world rather than what number it says on the label of our clothing or the tape measure or the scale.
That is just a number.
We can be better. We can do better. We can love each other harder. We can support each other more.
We can lift ourselves and each other out of this bizarre judgmental competition and instead usher in a new era joy and celebration of each other and more importantly ourselves.
Isn’t that how it ought to be?
I believe it is.
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From Ashley Graham’s Instagram Feed.