Saturday, November 19, 2005

More thoughts on exercise (Part two)

A friend of mine is having money troubles. (I know, I know, you're thinking, "What does this have to do with exercise?" Well, just work with me here for a minute...)

I told him that I know of very few people who haven’t had money troubles, at some point in their lives, so he’s not alone. I told him I’d been there myself. And then... about five years ago, I started on a journey to learn about money – how to manage it, how to save it and invest it and how to “make friends with it”. We never had much money growing up, so this was a new thing for me.

Me being me, I started to read everything I could get my hands on. And… me being me… I didn’t understand most of the books with a strong focus on numbers and math. (Go figure… money… math!)

But there were two books that totally spoke to me. One was Robert Kiyosaki’s,
Rich Dad, Poor Dad. The other was Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicky Robin. Both of these books talked about aligning your values as a human being with money, challenging the reader to re-think old beliefs and develop new ways of thinking. I’d recommend either of those books to anyone interested in learning about how to manage their money better.

I learned to be happy with my choices because I learned to line up my values as a human being with how I made, saved and spent my money. It took a few years and I had to completely “re-wire” my brain in the process, but I got there.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m hardly rolling in it. I’m a student and I live lean. That’s a choice I made when I decided to go back to school. The difference is that now I see it as a choice, rather than a hardship. Hence, I’m quite OK with “living lean”.

It occurred to me that I have not been able to align exercise with my values yet. I have only ever seen exercise as a means to lose weight. Now, I’m trying desperately not to focus on the number on the scale and to see exercise as something else.

But what?

Health? Balance? What do those mean, really?

I know that in the big scheme of things, I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a relatively normal, healthy body that can perform most movements (however awkwardly) and while it is far (very far indeed!) from being perfect, it generally works well.

But in talking to my friend with money woes it occurred to me that the only long-term way to change our relationship to anything requires replacing old ways of thinking with new ways of thinking. You challenge what you’ve always thought and done and create new ways of thinking, living …essentially... a new way of being.


Part of the process is asking, “What’s important to me?... And why is it important?”

There are no right answers, but there are answers.


I’ve just had a light bulb go off in my head this week… I need to figure out what it is about exercise and fitness that is important to me… and why. (If I don't, I'm sure I will throw in the towel soon!)

I’m not there yet… but watch this space for developments!

Feel free to share your comments, by the way. Hearing what others think helps the reflection process greatly, so feedback is most welcome.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just one thought - balance is the key, and you seem to have a cognitive sense of it. As with your experience in money matters, it will take some time to balance the physical exercise and well-being. Be patient with yourself.

madcapmum said...

Almost everything you have to say on this topic hits home for me, but unlike you, I haven't actually done anything about it yet! You're a good role model for me!

Sarah Elaine said...

Anon. - Ah yes... patience! It's always something I've been much better at giving others than giving myself. Wise words you have there...

MCM - Well, membership at a fitness facility is included in my tuition. I don't really have much excuse these days! ;-)

ipodmomma said...

that's really cool, that you have access to the gym through your tuition...

and also a bit of a bear... sitting out there say, well, here I am .... use me...

but you are correct, in that it is a choice, and in being reasonably healthy and able-bodied, what can I do to make the balance of my life tip more in the direction of positives...

good food for thought! (much better than doritos...) will ponder that today...

ta!

oldhall said...

I often start reading one of your entries, and think, "oh, I'm definitely going to have a comment to this, it might even be INSIGHTFUL", and then I keep reading, and find that you have already considered all the items I might've mentioned...

So all I can say is, "oh yeah? same to you!"

No, that doesn't make sense either.

A. said...

Exercising and staying active is all about staying healthy for me. I'd love to have the side benefits of losing some weight or building muscle, as the case may be. However, when I think about, it all boils down to a relatively pain free lifestyle...everything else is icing...

Sarah Elaine said...

IPM and OH - You two are hilarious! And I'm not sure about the membership being a bear. I got through my last degree by ignoring the membership completely... and ended up huge by the end of the degree... So... One can ignore it... but that's not the idea!

A. - You know you are my hero, right? You inspired me in our salsa dancing days (years ago now!) And you continue to inspire and impress me... And by the way, those biceps are beautiful, baby!

sissoula said...

Someone bought that Rich Dad, Poor Dad for me and insisted that I read it. I found it extremely repetitive and rather juvenile, but the bottom line was sound -- that it's better to let your money work for you than to spend a lifetime working for your money. I can see how this relates to exercise and health -- it's all about being proactive, and prudent when necessary. Once you know what your goals are, and ascribe enough importance to them, you will find a way to reach them. Nothing is without its risks -- or its benefits.

zouzou said...

I have a long-standing (pun intended) love-hate relationship with exercise. I used to BE active and never thought of it as exercise. It was just what I did to have fun, relax, socialize. That was the "love" part. Now I PERFORM exercises to "stay healthy" or "tone up" or whatever, and it's not about being, it's about doing. So my goal is outside and beyond the activity itself. I think that's the "hate" part. I'm not great on suffering through the means to get to the nebulous end. My challenge is to find a way to incorporate the "being" of exercise back into my life.

Tiff said...

I would suggest that you could try a pilates class. It is a great way to get in touch with you body without have to classically excerise and since it is not a sport you can not do it wrong. It is all about improving the stablity of your body and tone.

Sarah Elaine said...

Sissoula - Different strokes for different folks, eh? I liked the "teaching through story telling" aspect of Rich Dad, Poor Dad... but then again, that's part of what makes it juvenille, I suppose. :-)

Z - Doing vs. being - I think you've hit on something there... Must dwell on it more.

Tiff - Have tried Pilates - and yoga... Hhhmmm... must ponder this one again, too...

kt said...

pilates? you're joking, right? okay, something about lying on the floor, facing the t.v. (it was windsor pilates on tape) and trying to 'feel' my belly button be attached --thru my bod, mind you-- to the floor below...
then having to TRY to like lift up my head and move toward my legs, WHILE HOLDING THE BELLY BUTTON to the ground w/ the aforementioned little string,...okay, WHEN i attempted this, and then tried to do whatever they asked of me, it was IMPOSSIBLE....perhaps it is made only for skinny people? i too have always thought of exercise to lose weight...so, started this tape so that pilates could help me removed (or resituate) that bulging belly...but somehow these "pill-otties" overlooked the fact that us fatties could not LOOK OVER our bellies!

i swore off pilates. sounds cool, looks good, (anything not jarring looks good, eh?) but so not easy OR practical!

disclaimer: i wouldn't still call myself a 'fatty' but whenceupon i tried pill-otties i was more fat == thus a fatty!
=) sense?
sorry, just had to post about the pilates since it was mentioned!
love your blog, sarah!
ps: did you know AMBER COMPLETED THE PHILLY MARATHON YESTERDAY! =) kt=)