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​Enjoying Your Health Instead of Obsessing Over It

BY Heather Zollman 
March 12, 2018

I would love to have a heart to heart.

Grab a coffee/tea or chocolate or both and let’s chat. I start 3 of my days bright and early (get up at 4:45 a.m. teach at 5:30 a.m. early ) during the week by leading personal training sessions with a lovely lady. While we are squatting, planking, yoga pressing and working with weights we get to talking about life (sometimes talking like this takes the mind off of the fact that you are getting sore…and I LOVE connecting with my clients!). We got on the subject of getting and staying “healthy.” I keep going back.to this in my mind over the last few days so I felt it should be a point of discussion. What I keep going back to is how my vision of “healthy” has evolved and changed over the years. Many of you have heard parts of this before, but I haven’t shared in detail my feelings and thought process during these times in my life. So here goes…My interest in working out and getting healthy started when I was in college. It was at the end of my freshman year that I simply thought…I am going to start working out. A little background on me before this point…I was not motivated in the area of fitness and health. I wasn’t an athlete. My parents encouraged me to get exercise, but I wasn’t having it. I would much rather lay on the couch watching t.v. eating a bag of Doritos. I’m sure my parents tried to encourage me to get off the couch, but I fell into the group of…I don’t really care what my parents say. I LOVED food and have ALWAYS had a big appetite…and I did not care what I put into my body as long as it tasted good. And I have to put a plug in here for my mom’s cooking…it’s awesome! So I was always self conscious about my appearance and got made fun of on a regular basis about being overweight. So back to this momentous decision to start working out. I told my boyfriend at the time my idea, and what he said changed my life. He said…

“YOU NEVER DO ANYTHING YOU SAY YOU’RE GOING TO DO. YOU’RE NOT GOING TO START WORKING OUT.” Something clicked in me at that moment, and I haven’t turned back since. He was totally and completely right. I was NOT a person that stuck to what they said. I was NOT taking control of my life. I was just kind of floating through. I’m not sure how one comment can have the power to change the course of a person’s life, but it did. And I am so thankful that he said it. I changed in that single moment…because I CHOSE to. I went home that summer…cut out fast food…ate healthy food and reasonable portions…started working out 20 minutes a day to a Jane Fonda workout video…and went for a walk each day. The change that happened to my body in 3 months was amazing! I felt good in my skin and confident. And I craved exercising. I went back to school and continued my fitness journey, but looking back I think someone could have considered me obsessed. I tried every “fat free” food (fat free hot dogs and chips were the worst and make me want to vomit even thinking about them). I worked out all the time. I took Metabolife for a higher metabolism (show of hands from all of the girls in the 90’s that did the same thing). Once, I took an English class where the professor talked about how he lost weight and stayed “healthy” by taking countless numbers of vitamins. I figured he knew what he was talking about so I started taking them too. I truly thought I was being “healthy.” Well that vitamin combination came back to bite me in the ass. I ended up in the hospital having to basically have my stomach pumped from too many vitamins. That was a wake up call. Looking back I know in my mind I thought I was being healthy. You learn from life experiences. It’s so interesting how you look at things differently depending on where you are in your life journey. Fast forward to gaining 80 pounds with our first child…and then working to lose it. I left the hospital weighing the same as I did when I went in. How does that happen? From the moment the doctor gave me the green light to start working out after my cesarean I was on a mission to lose the weight. The second my husband walked in the door after work…I handed him the baby and I was on the treadmill. I did hundreds of sit ups a day, I watched everything I ate…I wasn’t just on a mission, I was obsessed. I wanted to feel better and be more comfortable with myself again. My husband always made me feel like he thought I was beautiful no matter what I thought of myself…which husbands should do I might add…but it wasn’t about him it was about what I thought of myself! Looking back, I am sure that my obsessiveness drove Bryan nuts!!! Fast forward to 2018 and I am 40 years old with my wonderful husband and 3 amazing kids. The only time I step on the scale is when I go for a yearly exam. (Oh yeah, I weighed myself every morning in college.) My hips are higher…I understand the term “mom hips” now! I can definitely tell gravity is at work. I have cellulite covering the backs of my legs from my heels to my butt. I still have the same appetite and LOVE food! Food is one of the greatest joys in life! I agree of course that people should strive to be the best versions of themselves and of course (obviously) your physical health is a huge part of this. I can honestly say that I am DONE trying to be a certain size…this is NOT what being healthy means. Health to me means that you make mostly healthy (not unnaturally fat free) food choices, and also treat yourself. You find kinds of exercises that you ENJOY and do them on a regular basis. You take time to slow down the body and mind. Take time to ENJOY things. God gave us these bodies as a gift to take care of…it is part of our job to do so. We should also be PROUD of what we have and who we are. I know people that eat right and exercise and can’t lose weight for different reasons…medical or because of how they are made…and these people are beautiful, exude confidence, choose to be happy with who they are…and they are AMAZING!!! I also know people who obsess over the fact that they aren’t the size THEY think they should be (even though they look amazing to the rest of us), they are also beautiful inside and out, and just not happy with themselves. We ARE NOT meant to beat ourselves up. We ARE to do the best we can and be proud of who we are…and raise each other up. It makes me mad/sad when people sabotage their happiness in body and mind when they obsess over their “health.” This is NOT healthy. If you are a person that practices negative self talk when it comes to your body…START A NEW CONVERSATION WITH YOURSELF TODAY!!! Treat yourself well. Would you want your children to OBSESS over their bodies to fit some image of themselves that they think they should be…when you think they are the most wonderful beings on the planet and simply want them to accept themselves and be happy? Of course you wouldn’t! Your loved ones feel the same about you my dear. So instead of obsessing, please give yourself a break. I’m sure you are working hard to do the best you can…so stop every now and then and enjoy that. YOU have the power to CHOOSE to be happy. And if there are changes you want to make in your life…make them, but DON’T OBSESS over them. BALANCE…it’s there…it’s up to you to create it! ENJOY your health instead of obsessing over it.

Love you,