About a week ago I decided to sell my heart rate monitor watch on eBay. I’ve actually been really into selling my stuff lately for two reasons: 1. August is usually a real slow month for dance teachers and I’ve been pretty broke. 2. I have never liked clutter and love the feeling of getting rid of things that I no longer use. (Just read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and then try it for yourself.) As I was going through my drawers, I came across my old heart rate monitor watch. I don’t even think Fitbits existed when I bought this. Though I hadn’t touched it in a few years, it was still hanging out in my dresser, a physical reminder of precisely how obsessive I used to be about my workouts.
Devices such as this can be really helpful for certain types of people. Like those with heart conditions who need to closely monitor their heart rate while exercising. Or people who are completely sedentary and need a little bit of accountability to get up and go for a walk once in a while. But for people like me who have a tendency to overdo things, activity trackers can become a slippery slope towards disordered behaviors around exercise. It sounds crazy to me when I admit this out loud, but I used to use this little pink watch to calculate exactly how many calories I had burned during my workouts. I would then use that number to determine how much I was “allowed” to eat that day. In order to not feel like I was starving, that usually meant I’d have to exercise for a few hours every day (on top of teaching). Messed up. (Though I have a feeling that some of you may be there right now?) Please don’t do that. Looking back, it was a really big waste of my time and energy. Time that I could have spent doing so many other things.
I was talking about this with a friend the other day, and she brilliantly pointed out that maybe the reason that we as women are constantly trying out the latest “clean eating” program, miracle supplement, or weight loss challenge is that something is amiss in another area of our lives. Like dealing with something stressful that is out of our control. Or just feeling stagnant in our professional or personal development. I’d heard this theory before, but for the first time I realized that maybe all this time I had just been bored. What about you? What if you could redirect all that energy you used trying to burn 113.5 extra calories? Think of all the things you could do if you if we weren’t busy entering 9 raw almonds into that one fitness tracking app that is really not such a pal!
“I give up freely what is no longer serving me. I release it to create space for what inspires me.”
I give up freely what is no longer serving me. I release it to create space for what inspires me. This has been my mantra for the week, and I’ve been sharing it in all my yoga classes too. I’m not sure who coined this phrase, but I’d love to give that person a big hug. This is TRUTH. Because every time we say “no” to one thing, we are actually making space in our lives to say “yes” to something else. I’m not suggesting that anyone give up exercise entirely. I make my living as a yoga and group fitness instructor, dance teacher, and personal trainer. I’d really have to start selling my stuff on eBay if everyone did that. 😉 But maybe, just maybe, we could stop micromanaging it so much? Consider this: every time we donate a bag of clothes we no longer wear, we make space in our closets for outfits that fit well and make us feel like rockstars. We could learn how to use all of the fun equipment at the gym like kettlebells and TRX (or insert your own idea of a good time) instead of spending an hour on the elliptical in the “fat burning zone”. Instead of reading fitness magazines with airbrushed models we could read fiction! Or books about home organization! Or whatever else we want to learn about! We could literally fill all that extra time and spend all that extra energy on the things that inspire us. The possibilities are as unlimited as the universe. Tonight I leave you with this question: What (possession, thought, habit) could you stand to let go of right now? What would you fill that space with instead?