The Health edit

In which I ask what health actually is.

This being a blog about fitness and health, it's about time I got to the health side of things, because essentially, that is what the goal is. But although I have been meaning to write a blog about food since about the third one, this isn't it.

Recently I've been doing a bit of re-assessment; a couple of things have happened that have just added just the right amount of chaos to my life to be too much. I've been deciding which stressors in my life I can control or get rid of. As well as thinking about some of my roles at work, I have been thinking about my fitness goals too. 

The main thing that got me into this whole journey was hitting that certain top weight and feeling pretty bad about it. But I have realised that whilst the fitness class and the running are making me feel good, being also focussed on trying to lose weight has actually been more stressful than helpful.

I like food, you see. And in all the time since I began this blog (nearly four months) I have lost about a kilo, no more than that, several times. So that at the same time I have definitely been getting fitter, I haven't effectively lost any weight. So I have to ask myself a couple of hard questions. 

  • What actually is my goal? 
  • Does weight matter to me enough to really do something about it, or am I really aiming at something else?
  • Is that quest for weight loss healthy or not? 
The point of my fitness is to make me feel better. It's not to do this event or beat that time or distance. Those might be factors in increasing my fitness, but they are not the overall point. 

The overall point is not even my physical health. It is how I feel about myself. I take a lot of inspiration from people like Mirna Valerio who remind me that it isn't about how other people perceive you, it's about feeling good and enjoying what you do. So I decided:
  • Do it, if it's good for you - my fitness class and running are good for me, but so, on a completely different level, are my snacks and cider on a Friday evening, or my random night out with The Wine Ladies. Each are as necessary in their own way as the other, and I shouldn't be negative about the fact that the one kindof counteracts the other.
  • If it's not good for you, don't do it - counting calories and watching what I eat only make me feel guilty, because I'm just not ready for that to be a focus too. Feeling guilty adds to my stress levels, which counteracts the good I am doing with the running and classes. Yes, as an absolute, losing weight would be good for me, but right now, the process of doing it isn't.
After a pretty intense week, at work yesterday an unexpected, heavy-duty-topic seminar tipped me over the edge and I got really upset. And I was still fragile, and exhausted, at the end of the day when I was having that necessary cider and making pizza for the small people. And when the Husband sent me to bed, and brought me a cup of tea and a bar of chocolate, while the family were all still watching tv, I realised 

The most important part of health is mental health.

Everything about being 'reasonably fit' is to do with thinking about what you are doing and why you are doing it. It's about being reasonable about fitness and health. It's about reducing stress, not adding to it. Sometimes I forget that.

How do you manage stress? How does physical stuff keep you mentally healthy? How do you decide what is and isn't good for you? What do you do when you work out that something is less positive than you thought it would be? 

#fitnessgoals #healthandfitness  #fatgirlrunning ('cause she's really cool) #mentalhealth

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