The past six months have seen the social media group Fat to Fit to First Level (“FFFL”) grow and bloom into a group of readers and riders who support and encourage one another as we each strive for better fitness. I’m humbled, and honored, and excited to be a part of so many women (and some men, too!) working together to get fit!
Some FFFL readers (hat tip in particular to FFFL Facebook Group member Janet Schilling) have asked me to write more about the concept of consistency – in eating, exercise, training, and “life” in general. So, as we head into the winter months, where the weather is anything but “consistent,” it’s a great time of year to think about consistency in the areas we can control.
Whether we’re talking about food, fitness, riding, writing, yoga, or rock climbing, consistency provides the foundation for success. Consistency is comprised of several different components. I’ll be focusing on one piece of the consistency puzzle per column over the next several weeks.
This week, puzzle piece number one: awareness.
Awareness is defined as, “knowledge and understanding that something is happening or exists…” Knowledge is not the same as understanding. I can know I’m overweight without understanding why. The “why” for me means truly figuring out the causes and situations that somehow trigger my emotional response to crave the comforts of excess and/or junk food.
I have a friend in Colorado who rides her American Quarter Horse almost every single day. She warms him up, practices what her young gelding already has learned, and then introduces one or two small new things, schools those, then cools him out. Almost. Every. Single. Day.
I find that level of consistency in riding admirable. I aspire to such consistency myself, while also acknowledging our lifestyles are vastly different: she is retired; I run my own law firm.
Awareness means I acknowledge she has a disciplined and dedicated riding routine that I would like to emulate. Awareness means I acknowledge we both have the same twenty-four hours in every day. Awareness means I acknowledge there are far fewer daylight hours at the present point in the year than during summertime.
Awareness means I also acknowledge I am in a different point in life than my friend, thus I have to invest several of my “daily 24” in endeavors other than riding in order to pay the mortgage and the feed bill.
Awareness means I also acknowledge where I am in my riding at this moment in time: I do not ride every day, like my Colorado friend, but I do ride more consistently now than I did this time last year. Kaliwohi was too young to back last year, so he had zero riding experience this time last year; we were still working on the ground.
Awareness does not equal excuses. Awareness is Step One to both consistency and change. I cannot change that of which I am unaware. I acknowledge I have backed a wild mustang successfully in 2017. I acknowledge I need to revisit my winter schedule and see where I can squeeze in a ride or two more each week, if possible.
I acknowledge I have lost over twenty pounds thus far in 2017. I acknowledge I had hoped to lose double that amount. But – yay for consistency – I have kept those twentysomething pounds off, even through Thanksgiving week, and I do believe those excess pounds are gone for good.
As we head into the next round of holiday eating – this one the biggest annual food-fest of all as it seems the entirety of December is packed with parties and festive events – awareness is (say it with me now) Step One to consistency and change.
Am I aware of what I am choosing to eat? I say “choosing to eat” because nobody is force-feeding me, and I live in a country where I have abundant choices of food. So, every bite is a choice.
Every. Bite. Is. A. Choice.
Every. Bite. Is. MY. Choice.
Awareness of THAT one fact – every bite is my choice – is a huge first step in approaching the holidays in a consistent fashion. Whether I’m eating salad alone at my desk on a workday, or facing a holiday buffet at a special event, nothing changes this first fact: Every. Bite. Is. My. Choice.
So, friends and fellow athletes-in-training: I encourage you to focus on awareness this week, and see where your consistencies, and inconsistencies, may be found.
Next week: Consistency: Respect for Where You Are.