Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Running On My Own Two Feet...

I'm not sure if it's my age, my slow descent from 'newlywed' to 'boring old married lady with no kids', or my constant state of life upheaval, but I feel like I'm constantly, daily trying to find myself.

On the job front, this is easily explained. My career is a series of intentional and unintentional interruptions. I feel like I've spent my entire career fighting really hard to make lateral movements. A fun year doing what I want, a year starting my 'professional career', almost a year trying to find a job after moving to a city I knew I loved, a bit more than a year working a job I enjoyed, a layoff, a move out of the city and another period of almost a year trying to find a job. I feel a touch like a football player with fancy feet who jukes left, jukes right, it all looks pretty, and in the end, he gained... one yard. Or the line of scrimmage.

In terms of fitness, it's almost more complicated. Say what you want, the fitness world is full of influence, and trying to find yourself once you're in can be just as complicated and challenging as the initial decision to make the commitment, jump in and focus on health.

Consider my initial battle with paleo/gluten-free vs. whole grains. My husband had gone Paleo, and I fought for at least a year. I liked bread, and the prevailing message is all about "healthy whole grains"! It wasn't until I made the personal decision to try a gluten-free trial that I made any progress, and now that I know I'm not very tolerant of gluten, it's a lifestyle that is truly my choice. But, especially given my husband, the lines between the Paleo and gluten-free communities constantly blur. We eat primarily Paleo, but we both eat some forms of dairy, and I will occasionally have rice. It's what works for me. So, easy, self found, right?

Not so fast.

I was at the Vitamin Shoppe and somehow the cashier, another customer and I began discussing Paleo. First, she stared at me in shock because I let her know that actually, I do eat dairy. Then she went into a long discussion with herself about how she's trying so hard to give up eggs because she's heard bad things about what they do to people. I left shaking my head. Eggs? And in the name of what? Was she having personal problems with eggs, or was it just the message her personal Paleo community was preaching to her?  Influence on self.

Consider working out. I have now run two half marathons. I am extremely proud of that. And yet, by following the Paleo community, I've recently been exposed to numerous articles warning me of the dangers of endurance cardio. It's not healthy, you won't lose weight, heck, you might even harm yourself!! Posted alllll over social media. So...  exercising isn't enough, you have to do it in the right way, or risk the scorn and judgement of strangers? Eyeroll.

Even within running, look at the schools of thought on shoes. Traditional padded shoes or minimal shoes? People will judge you no matter which choice you make.

Ultimately, it comes back to the lesson that I think we all struggle to learn..  do what is right for you, and stand firm in it. I enjoy running; I will run. I think running and strength training can live in harmony; I will push myself to lift heavy and run long. Minimal shoes work for me; I will run minimal. I like the occasional rice, a glass of wine, and darn it, I like cheese; I will eat these things. I will read the articles, listen to advice and opinions, consider the evidence, and come to my own conclusions about my own health. I will stand, or run, on my own two feet.

Me? I eat dairy, I drink wine, sometimes I eat rice or potato chips. I wear Nike shorts and minimal New Balance shoes. I truly hate pushups, and can't currently do a pull-up. I prefer organic. I eat clean. I lift heavy and I run long.

Now if I could just figure out all that other job, what to be when I grow up, what color to paint the room type stuff...

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