Before becoming a parent, quantifying the negative aspects of having children is relatively easy. Children are a financial expense, they take away a lot of your freedom, they break things, they make a mess in the house, and they require a lot of energy and attention.
It is not until you become a parent that you experience, and can appreciate the how much having a family enriches your life.
Fitness and healthy living is much the same. Before getting in shape, it is easy to understand the work it takes to exercise and follow a healthy eating plan. It means that you might have to get up a little earlier each day to fit in your workout. It means that you have to pack your own lunch and always carry an emergency snack with you- because you know that the foods you can make are better for you than what you can buy at a restaurant. And if you do go out to eat, healthy living means you have to plan what you will have before getting there- and it also means you will be skipping the bread basket. It means you can’t have dessert whenever you feel like it, and that sometimes you have to fight to resist cravings. It means that you have to workout to the point that you are sweating, and your heart rate goes up- and that can be uncomfortable.
Only once you commit to leading a healthy lifestyle can you experience the delights that your hard work brings. Not being able to fit into your clothes- because they are now a few sizes too big. Finishing your first 5 kilometer run. The feeling of accomplishment when you can hike up a mountain and enjoy the view- when last year stairs were a struggle. The incredible amount of energy you have throughout the day. The friends you meet while training for an event, or attending a fitness class. Looking at yourself in the mirror and thinking ‘wow, I look good’.
Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine that the hard work is worth it. But, once you experience the positive changes healthy living brings, you will not be able to imagine life any other way and would not change it for the world. Sounds a bit like having children…
Tanja Shaw is a Kinesiologist and personal trainer, specializing in weight loss, group fitness, pre and postnatal fitness, and health and wellness programs. She owns Ascend Fitness Coaching, which offers Boot Camps, mom and baby fitness classes and personal training in the Chilliwack area. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.