I just turned 40 this month. As with any milestone birthday, I have taken some time to reflect and think about life; where I've come from and where I'm heading. I'm amazed at how my life has changed over the past 10 years, I have a new career, I got married and had two amazing kids.
I've also had time to think about my health and how that has changed (for the better) over the past 10-15 years. From weighing 300+ pounds nearly 15 years ago to working on becoming an Intuitive Eater. I've biked 100 miles in a day and found pleasure in running.
I've also been watching a lot of coverage of the London Olympics. I guess I'm like many others out there but the athletes have really amazed and inspired me. So I guess I have exercise on the brain!
Coincidentally, there has been some news about the benefits of exercise. This article from the New York Times highlights a couple of studies that look at which is more effective in helping people lose weight. Each study showed that exercise did not have the same overall benefit on weight loss as did healthier low calorie diets.
What does this mean for you? In my experience as a dietitian (and as a person trying to lose weight and get healthy), most people exercise for one reason: to burn calories. They join boot camps, push their bodies and go to the gym for the purpose of sweating off the pounds or burning last night's dinner. But like the article points out, "People stick with low-calorie diet more readily than they continue with exercise to drop pounds."
There in lies the rub. You shouldn't do anything just to "drop pounds" When you focus on weight you forget the simple goal of improved health. By just focusing on how many calories you burn on the treadmill, you lose sight of the fact that you might not enjoy running on the treadmill and you'd get much more pleasure from walking outside. Some people actually gain weight when they start to exercise. Read this woman's journey with a half-marathon and her weight here.
What do I recommend? I recommend finding an activity that you love. Get inspired to try something new. Our bodies are capable of so much. Just watch what the Olympic athletes are doing in London.
Need more inspiration that just watching the Olympics? Take a look at these new Nike ads, "Find Your Greatness"
"Greatness is not some rare DNA strand. It is not some precious thing. Greatness is no more unique to us than breathing. We're all capable of it. All of us." Greatness is within all of us, we just need to find it. So go out and find your greatness, that is what I plan to do.
So in a grand gesture worthy of a 40th birthday, I'm committing to finding my greatness. Not to burn calories or to lose inches, but because I know I have it in me, and you do too. Huffington Post had a great article this week about an exercise bucket list and I thought that was a great idea. Here is my exercise bucket list. What is yours?