Slow down to finish first


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My recent epiphany that being fit did not necessarily mean being healthy led me to explore how slowing down (as difficult as that is for me) could be the key to a reaching my most sought after long term goals. What I am learning is the advice I feel compelled to impart to new mothers.

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Slow down to finish first

  1. 1. ADVICE FOR NEW MOTHERSSlow Down To Finish FirstADVICE FOR NEW MOTHERS (and others) ON DECELERATING FOR HEALTH ANDSUCCESS.Today I started a new fitness journey. It’s called “backing off”, and it’s a challengefor me. The reason I’ve chosen to take this path is because I learned I have todecrease my exercise pace and intensity in order to reach my goal of optimalhealth. Specifically, I the fact that my heart rate rises quickly, particularly whendoing a cardio routine, means that my aerobic capacity is not great, and the wayto improve it is to keep my heart rate at a much lower range and then graduallybuild up.Here’s the thing… I know that “fit” doesn’t necessarily equate with being“healthy”, and I’ll do what it takes to be healthy. But, I like to push myselfphysically. It makes me feel strong, physically and mentally. It’s difficult for me toimagine that I’m getting a good workout if I’m not working to capacity. Constantly
  2. 2. monitoring my heart rate to stay under 130 is making me nuts! After going at fullspeed for so long I’m now supposed to modify every workout and barely break asweat?I’m not happy.But, once again, it’s all about mindset.I’m a mom, and like many moms, I feel compelled to do it all. I can’t really figureout if I’m driven more by an innate desire to get a lot done, or by the perceptionthat doing more makes me a better mother. I was thinking of this when I waswalking around my neighborhood this morning (yes, walking – as opposed totackling the “Game Day” workout from Insanity: The Asylum, which would havebeen my preference.) It does feed my ego to be able to juggle teaching, blogging,reading, taking courses, food shopping, straightening up the house, cooking,shuffling my daughter back and forth to various activities (sometimes until 10pm),and helping her with her homework… not to mention exercising and spendingtime with my husband. On a good day, I revel in the notion that I can fly aroundwith an invisible cape on my back and a giant S on my chest. But, on a bad day,when everything feels like a priority, and I’m rundown, and unexpectedresponsibilities infiltrate my schedule, there’s nothing uplifting about the ability todo it all. It’s just a major league burden.As I climbed Colby Drive, keeping my heart rate steady at 125, I made aconnection between the benefits of decelerating my fitness life and the benefitsof decelerating my life as a mom. When I attach myself to a particular notion,like… the harder I push myself physically, the more fit & healthy I’ll be; or, themore I can cram into my day as a mother, the more of a Mom On Top I’ll be – I’m
  3. 3. completely blinded to the bigger picture. In turn, I’m slowly and unconsciouslycontributing to a gradual deterioration, instead of implementing my intendedgame plan, which is to build myself up, both physically and emotionally.Modifying my workouts to get my health on track (which eventually made perfectsense) woke me up to the idea that pacing myself in general will make me thebest mother I can possibly be (my #1 goal). I must ask myself, what will affect mychildren more – having the pantry stocked at all times, or having a calm, healthy,happy mother? In the long run, there will always be enough food to choose from,and if a favorite has not immediately been replenished, they will learn patience(an unexpected benefit!) I can tell you this for sure… When they are older andreflecting on their childhood and on me as their mother, I don’t want their memoryto be “my mom always made sure we never ran out of Cheerios, but she was astressed out lunatic.”We walk through life with a very narrow focus. We think that there’s one way, andone way only to reach success, and we get stuck in that belief. (Being a newmom is a particularly vulnerable time for forming that risky mindset.) Seeingthings differently, allowing the “aha” moments in, and then internalizing the peacethat comes with this new vision, is life changing – both for the present and, evenmore profoundly, for the future.If I back off – even temporarily – with my exercise now, I’ll greatly increase theodds that I’ll be skiing and climbing mountains with my grandchildren someday. IfI slow my life down – even just a little – in my day to day, I’ll greatly increase theodds that my children will be better off for it.And there’s no harm in donning my cape and engaging my superpowers everynow and again, for a little “I can do it all” ego boost!