I've been thinking a lot recently about the WHY of fitness. There are many many reasons anyone does anything, reasons both known and unknown (like subconscious stuff). And during some of my longer runs, I've had a chance to think about my reasons for exercising and eating well.
WHY I EXERCISE (in order of importance)
1. So I can feel comfortable in my own skin.
2. To experience the joy of movement.
3. To help keep depression at bay.
4. For more ease in my diet.
5. For more ease in my clothes.
6. To be the best 47-year-old I can be.
7. For health.
When I look at my list, I think of the "form follows function" principle of design. (I hope I can make this make sense.) So while part of what I get from consistent exercise is that I get to wear clothes in sizes I NEVER would have dreamed possible at this point in my life, that's not the main reason I do it. It's just an ancillary benefit. Incidentally, a new shopping center just opened near us, and I went into a Chico's for the first time. I am happy to report that their smallest size fits me with ease!
WHY I EAT VEGANISH (in order of importance)
1. Because it makes me feel great.
2. Because I don't want to eat dead things.
3. Because I don't want my food choices to contribute to suffering, either for the animals, or for the people who work in slaughterhouses.
4. Because I like being different (getting really honest here).
Regarding #4, I have always thought of myself as not quite normal. As a kid, I only liked Barbies when we were setting up their houses or piercing their ears with sewing pins (anyone remember that?). When the actual play started, I was bored out of my mind, even though my friends could play that way for hours. I also had to be kicked out of the house to play, much preferring to sit on my bed with a huge stack of books, reading for hours. I could list many more examples. The point is that I've never felt like I quite fit in, and I always saw that as a negative. Now I'm choosing to see it as a positive. Yeah, I'm not mainstream, and THAT'S A GOOD THING!!!
Knowing my reasons for doing what I do enabled me to cook my family's favorite 4th of July beans yesterday. Yes, they have ground beef AND bacon in them. Both smelled revolting to me as they cooked (thank you, Tim, for cooking both and letting me handle the beans, veggies, and spices!). But I felt good about making them, because I know why I eat how I eat. And I value tradition and love more than my own comfort. Plus we're talking about one dish once a year here!
And finally, I've decided how to go about feeding my family. For months now I've not known what to do, and many times I've cooked chicken or beef for them, and just eating a salad for me. As I continue in my journey, I'm less and less ok with cooking animals. So I've decided to prepare delicious vegetarian (not vegan) food for my family, which I will eat too. I'm still avoiding milk, eggs, and cheese, where possible (and if anyone wants to know why, I have PLENTY of reasons!), but I think that overall my family's health will benefit more from this plan than from continuing to cook "normally" but eating something different myself. And I see it as keeping them more open to healthy eating, because it's a middle-ground sort of choice.
The other night I made some enchiladas filled with yellow squash, zucchini, and onions, and topped with a sauce of milk, cheese, tomatoes and chiles. Score 1 for mom -- everyone loved this!