The first day of 2017 is just a few days away. Are you ready? During this last week of December, people begin to formulate their resolutions and plan how to better themselves in the upcoming year. Did you know that the number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight? The gyms will be absolutely packed on January 1st (I feel bad for my boyfriend who works at one), and within four months, most of those people will have either stopped going entirely, or they’re working out much less frequently. I, for one, truly enjoy working out and try to visit the gym as often as possible, so the New Year won’t change that too much. However, as someone with a chronic illness, working out can be quite the challenge, and I wanted to target my audience who experience minor to severe health issues, or those who just have a lot of trouble getting up and going to the gym.
Growing up, I was an active child, yet in an unusual way. Unlike most kids, I didn’t play sports. I was constantly outside running around and moving my body, but once I reached high school, athleticism didn’t interest me. I found my joy in ballroom dancing for recreation and yoga while I was at home. After I graduated high school, I continued with yoga … infrequently. When I was diagnosed with gastroparesis (you can read more about that here), I lost all interest in working out. My body became a shell and any strength I had formed over the past several years depleted significantly. It took me a long time to regain interest in fitness, but over time I found what worked for my body.
Tip #1 talk with your doctor before creating any sort of fitness routine for yourself. It’s important to acknowledge what your body can handle.
Tip #2 only work out on days you feel your best. Sometimes pain is your body’s cry for a break. Listen to it and relax. You can reach your goals at a steady pace rather than rushing and hurting yourself.
Tip #3 take it easy. Only push yourself within the limits of what your body can accept. My first experience working with a personal trainer, I had to tell him to either slow down, wait, or stop numerous times because I knew my stomach wouldn’t be able to keep up if I kept going.
Tip #4 surround yourself with motivation. I work out with my boyfriend because I know he will encourage me to reach my fitness goals while also accepting that I may sometimes need to take a break. He also knows me well enough to tell me when to stop if I don’t remember what my body might need.
Tip #5 find a workout that brings you joy. Whether it’s kickboxing, dancing, or tai chi, if you leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated rather than exhausted or angry at your body, you know you’re doing it right.
The Bible tells us that our body is a temple. We’ve been given an amazing masterpiece and we absolutely must take care of it to the best of our abilities. I know that I can feel entirely unmotivated or in too much pain to function sometimes. Those days I need to give myself grace, and know that I can pick it back up again at a later time. One of the ways I give myself motivation is by buying cute work-out gear. Nothing makes this fashionista feel better at the gym than knowing she’s looking cute while getting fit. My current favorite pieces are from Adore Me, and they offer a huge selection of fabulous leggings, sports bras, and the like for all sizes (including plus size)!
With all this in mind, I’m looking forward to a fresh start in 2017, and while I might not be adding “losing weight” to the top of my resolutions list, I’ll certainly be hoping to work out in a healthy way that suits my body and my needs. Whether you have a chronic illness or not, I’d love to hear how you motivate yourself and what you’re hoping to accomplish in the upcoming year!
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