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“Live a little”—on your terms

I was in the middle of the most delicious dinner. First night on a girl’s trip. We were discussing our morning plans, and I mentioned I was going to the gym for a workout first, then I would join my friends afterwards for some shopping.

The response from one of the gals? “You’ve GOT to be kidding” (in the most exasperated voice ever).

I found myself doing what a lot of us tend to do: going into defensive mode. I explained that I need exercise for my mental health. I don’t feel well if I don’t work out. I have more energy for the rest of the day if I spend a few minutes getting some movement first thing in the a.m.

When I looked up and saw the deadpan looks on the faces of my friends, I felt deflated and just exhaled a deep breath.

Seriously? What just happened here? Why was I embarrassed for taking care of myself?

I think I had the same conversation during the last girls’ trip (same group). Looking back, I remembered that I had actually skipped my yoga class because I didn’t want to affect the plans of others.

Have you ever had a surprising response when you were setting out to take care of yourself? Your simple statements (“No, thank you” on the offer of another drink at a company social hour; “I’ll pass” when dessert is offered; “Sorry, I can’t join you until I finish my workout” on an invitation to an event)—these kinds of statements often elicit responses like this:

  • “Oh, come on.  Live a little.”
  • “You’re so thin; you can handle a little dessert.”
  • “Seriously, do you work out all the time?”
  • And on and on, ad nauseum.

This is food and exercise shaming, plain and simple. No one knows our own bodies like we do. Learning to stay true to ourselves, to our health aims, and to our general well-being—this is the stuff of champions.  To live an optimum life requires us to constantly monitor and act on what works best for us. No one else can—and should—have a voice in that goal.

For me, it felt so good to disregard my friend’s comments this time. I don’t know why she was so vehemently opposed to my working out instead of shopping that extra hour.  But what I do know is it felt amazing.  I had a kick-ass time working out with a new instructor, made some new friends, and enjoyed a clear head. I had a nice healthy appetite for all the amazing food we ate later during that weekend.

I know now that I’ll continue to listen to MY inner voice and never miss my favorite place—a sweaty gym with weights—even when I’m on a girl’s trip out of town.

That’s why THIS is one of my favorite places.  And that trainer, one of my favorite peeps. Thanks Derek!!!

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