Day Two: Finding My Stride

Recently I have become a little obsessed with my body. To be more specific, I am obsessed with my health. In college, I was close with a staff member who went on Hajj twice during the course of my studies. Each time she would take weeks before the arduous trip to train. She would go on walks and change her diet to make sure that her body was ready for the heat and strenuous exercise. Lately, I have been asking myself, if I had to make hajj right now, could I do it?

Sadly, I am not so sure. And that PISSES ME OFF!

It all started when I noticed that much of the weight that I fought hard to shed had made its way back with a vengeance. Hours of sitting at the computer, consuming copious cups of sweet tea, and then wolfing down family meals had destroyed my hard work. My once firm fanny was looking more and more like a mom-butt and there was no denying it. I had to face facts. During the course of building my business and caring for my family, I forgot to care for me. Sound familiar?

So I resolved to get back into the swing of things and carve out some time for me. I need to stay in control of my health so that I can be all the things I want to be. But, do you know what I found? I was too damned tired!

I was too damned tired!

I was too tired to do the ninety-minute workouts that had dominated the early morning hours a year ago. I was too tired to drag myself to the gym. I was barely getting by with enough sleep and a multivitamin. It was frustrating. I know what I should do, but I was too tired to do it. Needless to say, I was demoralized and gave up.

Well, it’s back to square one.  But this time I remembered something I forgot the last time.

I hate the gym!

I hate running and I hate personal trainers and I especially hate perky people in coordinated activewear who smile while sweating their asses off (literally). 

The only reason why I went was because I had a partner who kept me motivated and I was seeing results. But this time I don’t have a partner and I am not trying to fit into my pants. I am trying to take better care of my health and my body. I am trying to remind myself that this body of mine and all the wonderful things it can do are an Amanah (trust) from my Lord.

So, the plan is simple. Replace the trips to the gym with walks through my neighborhood and swimming on the weekend. I bought a kettlebell to swing around during breaks while I work. Cut back on the sweets and the sweet tea. Yes, I will probably shed a few pounds, but most importantly, I won’t be ravenous, cranky, and lethargic all during Ramadan. I will be strong enough to take on the strain of fasting AND play with my kids AND work. And slowly (but not too slowly) I am sure that my fanny will overcome gravity and return to its original firmness.

I hope that you are taking your poor body into account as we move into the last days before Ramadan. Fitness should be a part of your lifestyle, but I know for a fact that most of us are lacking in that department. Maybe you don’t know where to start. Maybe you just don’t have a lot of time to devote to exercise and cooking isn’t your thing. Maybe you are like me, and gym-phobic. Here are a few tips to help you find your stride and keep the momentum through Ramadan.

Here are a few tips to help you find your stride and keep the momentum through Ramadan, and as always, the remind is for myself FIRST.

  • PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS! Kids are the best workout partners ever. They love to go for walks, play sports, swim, and ride bikes. Go with them. Not only will you be spending quality time together, you will also burn a few calories and get a decent workout.
  • Write a weekly dinner/lunch plan and STICK TO IT. This is good for your waistline AND your bottom line. The fact is that bringing your lunch and eating dinner at home puts you in the driver’s seat of your health. How many calories you consume, portion size and even salt content are all up to you. By planning ahead you can shop once a week and buy your ingredients, ensure that your meals are balanced, and save money by not eating out.
  • Go heavy on the fruits and veggies. I love to make smoothies at home. They assuage my sweet tooth and help me get the daily servings of fruits and vegetables that I need. I even throw in a little soy-based protein powder. This habit will be especially useful during the long hot days of fasting. Instead of reaching for the fried food and sweets, getting into the habit of eating fresh fruit, nuts, and veggies FIRST will help me maintain the nutrition I need and avoid packing on the pounds.
  • There is no such thing as a failure until you give up. I give up a lot. I get frustrating. I get discouraged, I feel like a failure. And then I put down the ice-cream and go for a walk and I am back in control. Maybe today wasn’t as successful as yesterday, but it’s not a failure until I give in.

I hope that something I said has inspired you the way that University staffer continues to inspire me. She wanted to meet her Lord knowing she was fit enough to do what was asked of her. I hope this year I can do the same, and be fit enough to fully engage in everything that Ramadan has to offer me.

 

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