Redefining Health and Fitness

The other day I was asked what changes I made in my health and fitness routine that benefited my weight loss and fitness goals the most, and as I sit here writing an article on my recent adventure with Screech Owls, I thought it might be prudent to offer a better answer than the one that I had given.  The answer? I got happy.

You see there’s more to health and fitness then tight abs and a tiny waist; there’s life. Yes I can and will tell you things about diet and exercise; the addictive nature of sugars and processed foods, but what makes me healthy and fit extends far beyond what I eat and how often I work specific muscle groups or in which order I work them. There is my professional life as a photographer and writer; there is my scholastic life as a student; there are relationships between family members and friends; there are good times and bad; days where I laugh and some that I cry. There are days I don’t work out at all and give in to a deliciously sinful slice of pizza.  Last week I even ate gourmet tacos!

The greatest source of health and fitness begins with the way in which you live your life, not in bits and pieces but as a whole. It is the whole of me that is healthy, from my attitude, gratitude and love for life and learning; it is my desire to be the very best me that I can be. That’s what I changed. I changed my internal dialogue and the way in which I interact with myself and those around me. In short, I prioritized my emotional wellbeing and self-acceptance over my waistline.

I changed my outlook and attitude. With an understanding that thoughts are electrically transmitted and chemically carried out through every blessed cell of my body, I stopped hating on me for being human, for making mistakes, for not taking care of me when me should have been a priority. I stopped talking internally as well as externally about weight loss and losing weight because I understood that human nature is not agreeable with terms like loss or losing but with gain. I started verbalizing on all levels that I was gaining better health; gaining a healthier weight; that I was earning it through my efforts! This simple, subtle shift in my thought processes made one of the biggest impacts as I began to look forward to the daily challenge of becoming better than I was the day before.

I began to celebrate small victories; I began to celebrate me and my commitment to a healthier life overall, not just a drop in dress size. I did it quietly with a small pat on the back and a well-earned “you done good”. I gave myself pep talks that reminded me I was worth my own time and effort. I looked for every positive I could find in every given situation and I made sure to laugh honestly and openly at least once a day.  Over time this behavior became ingrained. Over time…this is who I became.

I stepped away from negative relationships. As I continued to redefine my dialogue, I became very aware of the dialogue of others, not just around me, but towards me as well. It was a painful process to step back and away from the people I love, to put distance to and perspective on how these relationships had been working. I’m going to interject a note of caution here and explain. This was not an overnight job! Just because someone hurt my feelings does not mean they were a negative influence. If the hurt was repeated with intention…yes by all means that qualified as a negative relationship. If the relationship left me to question my self-worth…it qualified as a negative relationship. If I was easily forgotten or left out of life loops…it wasn’t a negative relationship so much as a casual acquaintance.

I don’t believe in burning bridges but I also don’t want to be standing on one for support while it crumbles beneath my feet! Having said that, relationships and support systems are important; for many they are crucial to an individual’s success; choose them wisely and choose them well.

So…what makes me healthy and fit? You’re looking at it! My master plan and blueprint is simply a healthy, well balanced diet from the inside out. How you feed and exercise your mind is just as important as how you feed and exercise your body.

Wishing you happiness and good health,

Cassandra xo

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