Why Fitness Should NOT be your New Year’s Resolution

I just saw this hilarious self-parody video of “All About That Bass” featuring James Corden, and I cannot stop watching it:

I love New Years and all the hope of fresh starts and checking off goals like getting fit, writing my will, and being nicer to my partner in the mornings. But, it’s true: we all feel like crap when we break the resolution, and then we just give up.

That’s why fitness really can’t be a New Years Resolution for me. Blogging about it is. But I’m gonna do what I can and see from there. Exercise has to be a part of my life, and so I work it in however I can. And find ways to make it FUN! Like trying whacky new classes, catching up with a friend by ice skating instead of over drinks, and doing the 7-minute workout app while I binge watch Making a Murderer.

It’s not about body image (not as much as it was in my 20’s anyway) or losing weight as much as it is about coping with my anxiety and upping my happiness quotient. It really is about health and sanity for me, and the more you think of it that way, the more likely you are to stick with it.

Running in Jeans

This post is just to say: Go ahead and run in your jeans.

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When you get a moment to escape the house, you might not have time to change into gym clothes. Stop caring what the neighbors think. Run in your jeans. I’d avoid running in heels though as I once broke my foot that way, and ended up watching 5 seasons of Lost in two weeks.

But seriously, especially as a parent, there are times when it is really hard for me to get out the door. (Like times when my son wraps himself around my calf begging me in his wounded-animal cry.) But sometimes, after my partner gets home from work, I just need even a 10-minute walk around the block to shake off the mania of preschooler drama. And sometimes, breaking into a run helps even more, even if I’m in my jeans.

One of the reasons fewer people get more exercise is that they feel they have to gear-up, be at a gym, and have their game face on. That’s why so many people make a big deal about New Years and feel the need to make resolutions to get more exercise, when really, even 10 minutes, even in jeans counts.

100 Classes in 100 Days

Here I go, doing that New Year’s thing. I used to love making resolutions when I was kid. Fresh starts. Clean slates. A whole new year of opportunity. And even though I haven’t really made resolutions in several years, I still love being at this balance point of reflection and intentionality.

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I’m not making any actual resolutions other than all the things I’m always striving toward: taking care of myself physically and mentally, making my relationships more fun and love-filled, keeping the house clean. I’m coming to terms with the fact that these are things that will always be on my list and will never get checked off. I have to live with them undone, unfinished, in limbo. I’m gonna over-do it on food, stay up too late and not get enough sleep; I’m gonna fight with my partner, and it’ll probably be about the house being a mess. But, I’m going to keep working on finding balance and joy amid all that as well.

So, instead of a conventional New Year’s resolution, I’m gonna aim for something a little crazy and fun, just to see if I can do it, and to see what effect it has on my life if I do. I’m going to take 100 classes in 100 days. 

In case you want to do it with me, here are the rules (because, just like my 4-year-old son, I secretly love making up the rules):

  • They don’t all have to be fitness classes. In fact, at least once a week, they shouldn’t be. But the aim is for 5-6 fitness classes a week
  • You can take up to 2 classes in any given day and then skip a day if necessary
  • It can be an on-line class, although I’m aiming for 90% in-person classes. Maybe it’s because I myself am a teacher, or maybe it’s just that I’m getting lonely in our digital world, but I feel like I learn so much more and push myself harder with I have human interaction.

And that’s it. I plan to take a lot of ClassPass classes including stuff I might not usually do like Bollywood Dance or Aerial Yoga. But I’d also like to take a meditation class and a wine-tasting class, and yes, wine-tasting counts as a class!

Here’s what I’m going to track as I do it:

  • What I learn
  • How I feel mentally and physically
  • How it affects my sleep (which is an issue I’ve STRUGGLED with since college)
  • How it affects my relationships (especially with my partner and family)
  • How it changes my body

I put the body part last on purpose. I’d be lying if I said I don’t care about how I look or whether or not I lose a little weight and add a little muscle. I definitely want to look better. (It’s almost impossible not to feel that way in a society in which women are objectified and constantly bombarded with touched up photos of “perfect” bodies.) But, I can say I’m at a point in my life in which I am much more okay with my body than I used to be, and I used to be 10 pounds lighter. Let me repeat, in case I get anyone out there lecturing me about body image: I know that I am not overweight, that my body is healthy, and dieting and exercising for the sake of vanity is not my main goal. The physical body just happens to be the easiest part to quantifiably measure.

Speaking of which here are the before measurements for my body as is:

Height (which will most likely stay the same): 5’4 3/4″

Weight: 133

BMI (according to Mayo Clinic’s BMI calculator): 22.1

Waist: 29 inches

Hips: 39 inches

Here are some before photos I took of myself because documentation, right? And maybe they’ll look different 100 days from January 5. I’ll repost all my measurements, sleep, mood, and relationship data (based on daily journaling) every 25 days.

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