I realized recently that Lent is not supposed to be about restriction. It is supposed to be about making room for something better.
Health and fitness can be like that. We can go through restrictive ritual after restrictive ritual. They may last days or week or even months. But they never really produce any lasting change. How many times have you done Weight Watchers? Did it change you? How many diets have you tried? Did they change your relationship with food or your body?
Dieting is like Lent without any meaning. Just restrictive ritual. I thought it was about giving up food I really liked for bland, tasteless food I didn't like. I thought it was being hungry all the time. I hated the diet cycle. It was awful and it wore away at my belief that a healthy body and healthy body image were possible for me.
But then I realized what I really wanted was to feel good about myself. I hated feeling so awful about myself all the time and hiding it from everyone. I realized that if I was going to change, I had to connect with what I was changing FOR.
I can be in a pit of low self esteem or I can be full of courage and confidence, depending on the day. I hate it when I'm in the pit. I feel bad about my body, I'm critical and anxious and lonely. But when I am standing in empowerment, I feel amazing. I feel good about myself, I'm accepting and supportive and I feel loved. Life is so much better standing in that power.
There is only one way I know how to get there, to get out of the pit and stand in my power. It is through daily practices that keep me empowered and rooted in the Truth that I am good enough exactly the way I am. Some of those practices will be different for me than for you. But I believe we share some of the same needs to keep us rooted in the Truth.
Think about how you feel on your best day. For me, it usually means I've had a great walk outside or workout with friends. It means I made extraordinary food choices. I took responsibility for my choices and feel great about myself. I am ready and willing to be my absolute best, authentic self.
Now think about your last self esteem meltdown. When you try on five outfits and still feel awful. When you are melting down about a number on the scale or how tight your pants feel or a depressing shopping trip. For me it usually involves food binges and self hatred. I am useless to be of any kind of service to anyone when I'm in that state. I'm all needy and drama.
Fitness plays a key role in this.
The role of fitness is to contribute to being our best self so we each can express our authentic gifts and live our life's purpose full on! It is not meant to deprive us of pleasure or force us to work out against our will. Imagine if your best day was every day. What would your life be like if you had that level of confidence, joy and peace? Maybe that's what taking this journey is all about: finding the path that leads to the full expression of your very best life and remembering what is worth changing for.