The process IS the goal!

      “My goal has changed from wanting to lose weight, to wanting to be strong and fit.                    I feel like I reach that goal every time I workout, every time I plan my meals,                                        every time I go for a walk instead of opting to not go for a walk.                        It is empowering and motivating and attainable… every day.”

I’m learning something:

Love the process, not the result.

I’m a slow learner, it takes me a while to process the world and myself and to believe that Jon Snow died, because he didn’t actually DIE, right? He’s coming back, right?

I know. I’m slow… like, a full Game of Thrones season behind and Winter is still coming and I just finished Season 5 and there is just no way he’s dead

I also had a hard time adapting to word processors, bank machines, VCRs, DVD players, thumb drives and now, I can’t figure out Instagram to save my life.  Slow learner.

But, on my fitness journey, what I am learning now is that I have been obsessing with the result, rather than the process, and therefore, the result has either eluded me, or come and gone in the space of one celebratory bag of chips and dill pickle dip. Followed by another. And another.

For the past few years, I have been fighting with my lumpy body over who is really in charge of the grocery list, and the pantry, and the liquor cabinet… me, or my tastebuds? Me, or my cravings? Me, or dill pickle dip? Guess who’s been winning?

I have been obsessing with the result… losing weight.

As I tried ramping up my exercise routines, cutting down my sugar, joining Weight Watchers, agonizing over every social event that required me to wear something other than tartan fleece pajama pants… all I was thinking about was the end result.

I’ll lose ten pounds and all will be right with the world.

I’ll get skinny and happiness will be mine.

I’ll look like those tiny women in the Old Navy ads and bliss will follow.

I’ll buy skinny jeans and be one of the cool people.

I never really embraced the process. I saw the diet, or the exercise, or the avoidance of bread as the means to an end… all sacrifices that would end once I got to where I wanted to be.

And… yeah, the sacrifices did end, and the result… went away. I gained back the weight, I gained back the lack of self-esteem, I gained back the inability to wear skinny jeans in public, because as soon as I reached the result I was hoping for… or even came within spitting distance of it… I gave up on the process and reverted to my old habits, my old routines, my old practice of eating my feelings, drinking my emotions and wallowing on the couch fantasizing about Jon Snow’s curly hair while inhaling half a bag of Sour Cream and Bacon potato chips.

Alright, so it was the full bag. Whatever.

Being a slow learner means that I have gone through this process several times over the last ten years or so. I’ve gained and lost the same ten pounds, ten times. It’s never been easy to lose it, yet I have consistently thrown caution to the winds once its gone and pretended like I earned a life-time guarantee on my abs and butt and those wobbly bits under my arms that says I can do whatever I want to my body after spending a few weeks working out. Like it will revert to what it was when I was sixteen, and stay there.

It doesn’t. It won’t. It laughs at me and chortles, “You’re not the boss of me!”

Here is what I have learned… the process is the goal.

Forget about the result… yeah, sure, you wanna lose ten pounds, whatever… but if all you think about is reaching that goal and quitting, then you’re doomed to gaining it back. If you see your fitness plan as temporary… “Gee, can’t wait til I can eat bacon and cream cheese again”… then you’re doomed to returning to whatever condition incited you to try to change in the first place. Fer realz.

Fitness is a journey, not a destination.

If I stopped exercising tomorrow, my body would begin the decline back to the debauchery from whence it has arisen! If I patted myself on the back for losing 20lbs and said “Yay! Done! Been there, done that, it’s over!” it wouldn’t be long before the wobbly bits on the backs of my arms would rear their ugly heads once again.

Are you on a fitness journey? Are you trying to lose weight, increase your fitness, improve your diet? It’s perfectly wonderful to have goals… but goals can come and go unless you make the Process the Goal. Make the process part of your life, and not just an uncomfortable visitor you’ve invited in to your home to watch G.O.T. until the season’s over and you can send him on his way and eat the chips and dip all by yourself again.

My goal has changed from wanting to lose weight, to wanting to be strong and fit. I feel like I reach that goal every time I workout, every time I plan my meals, every time I go for a walk instead of opting to not go for a walk. It is empowering and motivating and attainable… every day. Meeting your goals every day is so much more satisfying than straining for that distant desire of the elusive end result. I want to be fit… forever… and that means embracing, loving, and obsessing over the process. It’s the journey, not the destination!

On my fitness journey, embracing the process is the goal, and the results are the proof that it’s worth it.

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Tricking the puppies

I don’t go to a gym.

We have a beautiful gym near my house, with fancy machines and fitness programs and people who flex and look better in spandex shorts than I do.

But I don’t go there.

Because, teenagers.

When you spend all day teaching teenagers, you don’t want them to see you when you’re doing things that make you gasp for air, your boobs flounce abundantly, and your spandex shorts cling ever-so-slightly-embarrassingly. You prefer to be teenager-less when you are doing those things.

High school teachers suffer. Teenagers are everywhere.

Those pesky part-time jobs they have that develop their character and teach them the value of a good work ethic and education and personal hygiene mean that everywhere I go, I encounter my students.

Buying tampons? Kid working at checkout.

Buying the bulk box of red wine, on a Tuesday? Kid pushing carts in parking lot.

Debit card fails at checkout? Kid stares at you, horror-stricken because you’re buying tampons, and the debit just failed, and the tampons are like, right there, and it’s a jumbo box, and the only thing worse is the next guy in line is a father of one of your students…

It’s a miracle I can go out in public at all.

So, I don’t go to the gym.

I work out in my Love’s garage, which I now call  The Gym because that’s where I… Work Out. I usually flex a little when I say it. “Hey honey, I’m going to The Gym. To Work Out.” I also waggle my eyebrows. He finds it alluring.

In The Gym, there is a wood pile, a huge freezer full of meat, the garbage and recycle bags (a small mountain of wine boxes), two old mattresses we haven’t thrown out yet… and eleven Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppies.

I work out at 5am. For an hour. Every day.

I can’t Work Out in the house because my Love is sleeping.

The puppies wake up the minute the door to The Gym is opened, and they express their love for me at the tops of their lungs. They scream their undying affection for my very soul.

It is a piercing, intense serenade which makes it impossible to think, impossible to hear the urgings of my video workout coaches to do “just one more round”, and, after about three minutes, impossible to do anything except cringe and cover your ears. Or give up entirely and snuggle them all because, cuteness.

But I shall not be thwarted!

I would rather brave the tintinnabulation of the puppies than the uncomfortable stares of my students and NOTHING will prevent me from Working Out and thusly, I contrive a way to trick the wee canines.

I have to trick them into believing that I’m not there. If they know I’m there, they want to nuzzle and scream their way into my aural cavities… not conducive to the flexing. First I feed them… they have a single-minded zombie fixation on kibble…

…and while they are climbing over each other in a frenzy, I push two sawhorses draped with sheets in front of the gate to their run, blocking their view of my workout space. I place my laptop close to the door, so it hopefully can still connect to the distant wifi signal from the distant living room… and I turn off the lights.

Yes. I exercise in darkness. It is, after all, 5 o’clock in the morning when all this super sneakiness is happening. If I leave the lights on… they’ll know I’m there

The puppies finish eating, I begin my workout video, and they snuffle and make questioning noises because they can hear and smell that someone is in their space, but they can’t be sure. It’s just like hiding potato chips from the children when they were young. They would hear the rustle of the bag as I sneakily indulged in the darkest corner of the pantry, but by the time they found me the evidence was hidden. They could sniff my deceit, like the feral children they were, but they couldn’t find the evidence. Sneaky McSneakerson.

The chips are the reason for my current need to workout.

The teenagers are the reason for my avoidance of the gym.

The puppies are the reason I’m posting this. Nothing will prevent me from my early morning workouts! Not even epic cuteness… and they are… epically cute…

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