Over time, I've developed a real aversion to traditional strength training and cardio machines, also to rigidly defined workout schedules. I've taken on more of a "play all day" mindset where there are opportunities for movement throughout the day, and none of them flatten me. Go for a morning walk outside, play fetch with the dog, do a couple of random handstands, jump around in the ZGYM for 10 minutes, swing from my pull-up bar while waiting for a phone call, take a minutes to stretch my hamstrings and glutes, chase the dog, balance on one foot while waiting for the microwave, trot up and down stairs, practice a couple of pistol squats at work, foam roll my upper back after sitting at the computer. Somebody used the term "movement snacks" and I love that. What I've noticed is that if I do a 40 or 60 minute "real" workout, all of that fidgety fun stops. I don't want to move. I can't move. I'm sore, and tired, and cranky. Walking is the same way. If I were to go on a 5 mile power walk every morning. I don't think I'd want to do anything else. I'd want to spend the rest of the day lying on the couch eating food off my belly like an otter. If I move around slowly all day, I may travel the same distance, but it doesn't feel like it, not at all. It doesn't make me more tired or more hungry like a "workout" walk would. Plus, the distance naturally varies every day because I'm not pushing myself to hit a minimum. I'm going with how I feel and what the day brings.
I was thinking today about how it feels to pursue health and fitness for the joy of being healthy and fit (what a concept), versus pursuing it for the sake of being as light, lean, and small as possible, to impress others, or to feel worthy. It's a night and day difference. If you had told me years ago that I would quit the gym, quit dieting, and quit worrying about weight, I would absolutely have assumed that meant I quit being fit. I couldn't have fathomed exercising or eating nutritious foods just for fun, but guess what? It's MORE fun without the obsessive madness. I do whatever I like. I eat whatever sounds good. I feel fantastic and perform well. I'm not depleted from restriction and compulsive scale watching. I'm not thinking about food all day. I'm not exhausted and injured from sticking to a plan at all costs. I'm stronger and more flexible. Nothing hurts. I look forward to working out, and if I'm not looking forward to it that day, I don't do it. So crazy! There's no dread. Willpower and motivation are not required. My whole life doesn't revolve around my diet and workout schedule. And this is the really hilarious part, my results are better. Overdoing it while restricting my food made me hungry, tired, and defiant. There was a lot of reactive eating going on, getting sick a lot, getting hurt a lot, verrrry moody. True health is mental, physical, and spiritual. It's not a weight or a size.