The Sum of Your Parts

I have a number of friends who post regularly on Facebook about their work outs. It could be anything from a race they’re running to a trip to the gym and I LOVE to see it. I find it quite motivating to see that others are working out, especially the former couch potatoes. I’m guilty of posting that kind of stuff too, particularly a few years ago when I started working out and lost a good amount of weight.

I have someone on my friend’s list who is in the exact, same boat. She recently lost weight, looks fabulous, and has started working out regularly. Of course, she is ecstatic about this and is posting about her work outs, how great she feels, and lots of photos. LOTS.

She is me four years ago. I lost weight by working out and eating right. I was so stoked and proud of myself. I had people “un-friend” me because they got sick of me posting about a run I went on. I was totally okay with that because I was so damn happy with my accomplishments. I talked about it with anyone who would listen. This was the NEW me!

The problem with the new me, was that she was obsessed with it. All of it. All I did was read running magazines and websites. I educated myself about nutrition. I allowed my entire identity to be wrapped up in the “new me” and that girl was someone completely and totally dedicated to this new lifestyle. Everywhere I went people were asking me about working out or running. They were asking my advice on losing weight. I LOVED the new me. It was my new identity. 

That was so freaking awesome, and I embraced the hell out of it. Until the inevitable life shifts happened and suddenly my schedule was different so I couldn’t work out at the same time as before. And the meals I was able to prepare weren’t getting made because I was in my car driving my kids around to the new activities they had started participating in. And instead of working our entire weekends around finding cool places to run and meal prep, we were bombarded with swim meets and catching up on all the crap I didn’t have time to do through the week because of said activities.

So, I’m the girl who knows all about fitness and nutrition who gained 30 pounds. Suddenly I’m questioning my own identity because other people are. How did she “let” that happen to her. She knows what she’s supposed to do, what the hell? The hit to my ego was just as devastating as the extra 30 pounds on my small frame.

The absolute best advice I could give to anyone, would be to not allow just one thing to define you. Although, I didn’t actually realize it at the time. Of course, I knew how I was spending my time, I just didn’t realize this obsession would define me and make me question everything once it was stripped away.

Do NOT let yourself be defined by your appearance because it will change. You will age, you will gray, you will gain or lose weight. Do NOT be defined by your children because if you raise them right, they will move out and have their own lives. Do NOT be defined by your spouse because one of you will die first. If it’s not you, you will be left on this earth without them. Get the point?

There’s a very good possibility that the people I see on Facebook have their shit a lot more together than I did. Perhaps their new body is just a part of their identity and not their entire identity.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle

Whether you’re working to be a better wife, mother, employee or just to be more physically fit, while working on these “sums”, make sure you are appreciating, embracing, and taking care of the WHOLE you.

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3 thoughts on “The Sum of Your Parts

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  1. “Do NOT let yourself be defined by your appearance because it will change”—So true. Even if one maintains their weight, it doesn’t mean their body won’t change. I’m recognizing this with my knees as I get older. All those years of high-impact cardio have had their toll, and I’m finding more and more I have to find low-impact alternatives. I’m not thrilled about this, but it is what it is. Fitness is just one part of my life, and what I may have to give up in that area I can gain in another. As you point out, we are more than just ONE thing. Excellent post!

    1. Thank you, Carrie. This is a really hard concept for me to grasp because I’m an “all in” kind of person. When I do something, I do it ALL THE WAY, making it hard to find that balance. I’m hoping with age (and wisdom) I’m able to get better at it.

      1. I completely get that. I’ve been known to act the same way. I suspect my ailing knees are a not-so-subtle reminder that that’s not always the way I can be. Stinky knees…

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