Laying a Minefield of Metaphors

The July Project: Day 20

I received a note this morning from a Facebook friend who’s struggled as hard with weight loss for most of her adult life as I have. She asked, “Can you send me some of you exercise motivation magic? [I’ve] fallen off the wagon…. The battle never seems to end.”

I wrote back to say that I know the feeling very well, but that somehow it’s helped to stop thinking about fitness in those terms. I’ve tried to make exercise part of who I am—not a short-term project, and not a battle, either. Her words stayed with me all day: the battle never seems to end.

Last weekend I happened to catch an interview with Valerie Bertinelli on CBS News Sunday Morning in which the 49-year-old actress talked about losing 45 pounds, and about her efforts to come to terms with why she gained the weight in the first place. She mentioned plans to run a marathon, and the interviewer chose to sum up the story using a race metaphor: “For Valerie Bertinelli, it’s unclear when—or if—she’ll ever cross the finish line.”

It was an unfortunate choice of words. The commitment to be healthy isn’t a race, and there’s no finish line.

If we are to thrive, if we are to make the changes we want in our lives, we have to teach ourselves to think about what we’re doing in different terms. Health is not a battle to be fought, and it’s not a race to be run. It’s valuing and nurturing your body every step of the way—not just until you cross an imaginary finish line or vanquish an illusory foe. Fitness is a journey, not a destination. Every time you take a step along that path, you’ve won.

1 comment to Laying a Minefield of Metaphors

  • Sofia

    I agree that health and fitness are a journey and not a destination. There are way too many destinations we want to arrive at already and this one is a lifelong process to be experienced each and every day. In my opinion, being conscious and aware, is half the battle!

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