Defining Yourself

"Everyone has a different definition for fit, healthy, perfect, pretty, sexy, beautiful. Don't let someone else's definition define you." 

 The many versions of my "self" over the years. Skinny, fit, healthy, fat, normal, whatever you want to call them. I know which is the best version of myself, contrary to what you may see, and that is all that matters about yourself. 

The many versions of my "self" over the years. Skinny, fit, healthy, fat, normal, whatever you want to call them. I know which is the best version of myself, contrary to what you may see, and that is all that matters about yourself. 

I remember the beginning of my fitness journey like it was yesterday. Not only do I remember what I did physically, but I remember my mentality, and how it has transformed over the years. Although my mindset has changed positively, there are some negative thoughts that still linger. They say it takes 21 days to make an action or a mindset a habit. Well, sometimes, it takes longer. If you have been doing the same thing or thinking the same way for years, it may take longer than 21 days to make a change, and make it for good. Sometimes it may seem like you're "starting over" and that can be very self-defeating (I don't like this term and you'll find out way soon).

Our minds are complex and wonderful, but they can sometimes lead us down a dangerous path of self-destruction. We have 3 parts to our psyche or mind (not the physical brain), as per Freud (I love reliving my college days through this work!): the Id, Ego, and Superego.  

"The superego incorporates the values and morals of society which are learned from one's parents and others. It develops around the age of 3 – 5 during the phallic stage of psychosexual development. The superego's function is to control the id's impulses, especially those which society forbids, such as sex and aggression. It also has the function of persuading the ego to turn to moralistic goals rather than simply realistic ones and to strive for perfection.

The superego consists of two systems: The conscience and the ideal self. The conscience can punish the ego through causing feelings of guilt. For example, if the ego gives in to the id's demands, the superego may make the person feel bad through guilt.

The ideal self (or ego-ideal) is an imaginary picture of how you ought to be, and represents career aspirations, how to treat other people, and how to behave as a member of society. Behavior which falls short of the ideal self may be punished by the superego through guilt. The super-ego can also reward us through the ideal self when we behave ‘properly’ by making us feel proud. If a person’s ideal self is too high a standard, then whatever the person does will represent failure."

So what does this have to do with your fitness journey, whether you're starting for the first time, or the 18th time? EVERYTHING

STARTING OVER. I don't use this term and I don't recommend you use it either. The word "over" or "again" implies one thing: you failed. There really is no such thing as failure, unless you blatantly 100% did not put any effort in at all. Think about it: what did you not do? You starting eating better and you went to the gym. Great! Did you go every day? No, because that's not realistic (ideal self). Did you go from having soda and fast food daily to eating quinoa and grilled chicken? No! Could you imagine? You did what you said you would, thus you did not fail and don't need to "start over". You simply need to continue moving forward. 

You must learn to walk before you can run. Unfortunately, our society did not emphasize nutrition and active living education, so we have been at a loss for decades. We are finally learning why it's so important but you cannot expect yourself to simply be "fit and healthy" (what does that mean anyway?). 

GUILT. It is an ugly emotion. I'd say it's at the top of the negative list, along with envy. I feel they almost go hand in hand at times. In short, we want to be something we're not. We feel envious or jealous towards those who are "it", then feel guilty for not being "it" or when our actions aren't consistent with being "it." The first step here is to eliminate the feeling of guilt, and we do this by getting rid of our "ideal self". Generally, our ideal self is something we are not, and what's wrong with who YOU ARE? Absolutely nothing. Love who you are, work on being a better version of yourself at all times instead of trying to be something "perfect" (another word I don't like). 

DEFINING "FIT AND HEALTHY." When someone new calls the gym, we have a small conversation before the come in. One question I ask is, "What are your goals physically and mentally?" This completely throws people off because no gym asks that. The most common answer is, "I just want to be fit." I say, "Great! What does that mean to you?" Their response is usually a long pause followed by, "I don't know. I was in really great shape and I want to be there again." Shape. Fit. Healthy. All words usually used to describe one thing: something they think they should be. They are completely different in my mind, and probably yours too. "Fit" means to be a certain look; totally superficial. Not necessarily strong or capable of complex movement, but little body fat and a "thin frame". Healthy to me means longevity of life. No current health issues and a clean bill of health from my primary physician. 

Don't define it as starting over - define it as a quest to being your best self. The definition of your "best self" will change as you mature. I hope your best self at 46 is monumentally wise than when you were 16. Life is one big, exciting journey. Live it!

 

 One of my favorite places for adventure for the beauty of it 

One of my favorite places for adventure for the beauty of it