Why I work out and Stay Healthy

We are constantly surrounded by images of what society deems to be “beautiful”, “fit”, “healthy”, “perfect” or whatever marketing we see surrounding us everywhere. Although it has improved a bit since I was a teenager, I still grew up with the ideas that “skinny is pretty” and you only go on a “diet” to lose weight. And then followed the dating in the later teenage and early twenty something years and I still had a specific vision in my head of what “perfect” or “fit” was supposed to look like. And, as you can imagine, I didn’t exactly feel like I was the epitome of said image. Although I grew up pretty healthy overall, I was not your cover model for “Self” Magazine. I went for the occasional run and I ate relatively healthy-sort of.

See, when I did work out before, it was usually for some external cause. Sure I sometimes felt pretty good afterwards or during the exercise. But the reason I was exercising was because I was FOCUSED on these external factors such as: getting to a certain number on the scale, because I wanted people to look at me a certain way, because I thought that I “should be” a certain size. I spent far too much time thinking that society wanted some stick figured girl in a bikini by the pool eating a celery stick. And, I had always thought that guys wanted the thinner, skinnier girls. So the motivation for me to start exercising or take care of myself initially…well, a good majority of it was due to external reasons. And really none of them had to do with ME.

Sometimes we get so externally focused—how we want others and the world to perceive us, that we are not internally focused on our WHY. This is critical and I think this is a reason why people FAIL when it comes to their health. We need to stop focusing on the LOOKS society loves, or the PERCEPTIONS we want people to have of us, or what our SPOUSE thinks is attractive. Of course, we want our partners to find us attractive, that is not my point. My point is that, once we stop caring about any other motivators that come along with being healthy, and we FOCUS on OUR motivators for why WE want to get healthy, you will be one solid step down the path to PERMANENT health success. Once I realized that society is going to have its judgments no matter what, that men and women have a HUGE VARIETY of people they find attractive (not just the stick thin ones), and that someone’s perception of me might not be PERFECT, then I finally stopped trying to be all these things I did not want to try to be.

Once I decided I wanted to feel good about ME, for ME, and once that became MY WHY…it stuck.

The only reason I workout today is for MYSELF.

Like any other human, I have insecurities and sometimes wish I had a little more of this, a little less of that, nip here, tuck there ….you feel me?! But I no longer let that DICTATE my WHY. And it feels damn good. I no longer believe in a “diet” and I also do not own a scale. I believe in eating clean, in fueling my body, in moving my body every day ( endorphin BABY). The reasons that I am working on my nutrition, drinking Shakeology on the daily and getting my ass constantly kicked by my Beach body programs…those reasons have nothing to do with impressing the guy I am seeing, or society thinking I look decent or not, etc. I mean, its a great side benefit when the person you are seeing thinks you look good…but, if you make this your REASON for wanting to get healthy or start a program, chances are it is not going to lead you to lasting change or success. Plus you will feel so much better when you make it about YOU—trust me. I have been on both ends.

Really, consciously, sit down and make the effort to think about WHY you want to become healthy. If it is for you in some way—YOU want to be a good example to your kids, YOU want to show yourself how strong and what a buff badass you are, YOU want to just FEEL amazing in your own skin…then you are on to something powerful there. Focus your intentions INWARD and see how much you gain. Remind yourself of your whys when things get tough and allow those deeper reasons to re-fuel that fire. Because you, the one reading this post…YOU are so worth it.

Valerie Cordes