First up in our SPecial Guest Saturdays is Instructress Extraordinaire Ms. Alison Oxton, whose recent return to the studio has created quite the buzz! So happy you're back with us - we missed you terribly!
Let me start this off with a little personal background that I've never publically discussed. Hopefully it will give you some insight on where Im coming from and how it effects my outlook on health and fitness. When I was in high school (around 14 years ago, YIKES), I developed an eating disorder. I didn’t wake up one day and decide to stop eating, that was never my intention. My intention was to start strength training in order to build muscle for the upcoming softball season. I was a healthy athlete who loved playing sports and never had issues with food or weight. Over a period of a couple months, my desire to get in shape and build strength developed into an obsession with working out and eating as little as possible. Every thought in my mind was focused on food, what to eat, what not to eat, and working out, how many calories did I burn? I weighed myself excessively and no matter what the scale said, it was never the right number. My self-talk was negative and unhealthy, matter of fact; most things in my life were negative and unhealthy. Needless to say, it was the worst season of softball in my life. It took years and multiple interventions before I was able to change the way I thought about food and exercise. During that time, I discovered yoga. Yoga taught me compassion, the importance of a healthy mind-body connection, and most importantly, it taught me to be kind to myself, EVERYDAY. That was the most important change that occurred. I hadn’t been eating to nourish my body and I hadn’t been exercising to keep my body in shape. Every action I took was harmful toward my health and well-being. Once I began to realize the damage I was inflicting upon myself, I had to make a change. It took some time but that change did occur and now I am able to work out and eat well with nothing but good intention.
The reason I decided to write about this personal struggle is I see a lot of focus on numbers (weight, calories, steps, pounds, etc) in the fitness industry. The goal for most is to eat fewer calories and increase the amount of “steps” in order to lose pounds. This is helpful for most people who have trouble eating too much and working out too little. However, there is a small group who will overtrain and significantly restrict calories. Im not saying everyone who does this will develop an eating disorder, but obsessing on an unhealthy, unattainable goal can lead to a very negative mental attitude.
Instead, try thinking about how far you’ve come on whatever journey you're on. Think about how in times of struggle how strong your mind and body have been. Think about the times of health and happiness and how good you feel both mentally and physically. Change your focus to all that you have been given rather than all you have to lose.
The point im trying to make is life is much more important than any number or image. Enjoy the journey, stay positive, and most important of all, be kind to yourself.
Thank you for sharing something so close to your heart with us - you are one of the brightest sparkles at SP and we love you!