Some had quite ambitious goals like quitting smoking. Others had what could be considered "easy" activities like eating more whole foods, going for a walk twice a week, or getting more sleep. None of these projects was "easy." Regardless, students were not graded on the success or failure of their personal fitness goals or activities.
I don't pose this project in terms of goals because even though some students made the project goal specific and measurable (like improving their mile time), meeting a goal is not the purpose of the project. (Plus, I am just not a goal-setting type of person; I just do it or I don't.) I want students to learn about themselves and to learn about fitness. This project lends itself well to dispelling the "quick fix" idea of fitness. And the students' reflection requires them to consider their Personal Fitness Project and how it relates to class. I love this assignment.
And here is one of my favorite project reflections. This student really speaks to many of my own problems with eating and body image, but what I really love about this reflection is that it was written without the prompt. This student worried about whether she did the assignment right. She had nothing to worry about. Plus, this piece really shows how fit this student is: she is beautiful, smart, thoughtful, caring, passionate, active, and engaged in her community.
I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I did.
My personal fitness project was to loose five pounds by reducing the carbohydrate intake from my diet. It sounded easy enough. Something I could monitor. Something I thought I could do. And so I decided to do this on my very first day of class, September 1, 2014.
Why I chose this weight loss project was on that very September morning, my bathroom scale said 161.8 pounds. This number struck a chord in me. It was 1.8 pounds over my, “you have to stop gaining point.”
I know that weight is just a number. But, it is also a state of mind. We are obsessed with our weight, what we consume and how we exercise. I did not realize this on the first day of class, but I sure do now.
Thin is everywhere! Magazines, TV, store fronts, internet. Everywhere you turn someone is shoving a skinny model at you. Then you start to compare yourself to them and you say OMG I am too big. My jeans don’t fit like that. I need to lose weight!
Every morning, (after I emptied my bladder), I would hop up on the scale and document the entry into my journal. I was obsessed with the number. One day I would be up two pounds the next day down two pounds. Then back up it would go two pounds over the original weight. It was crazy. Getting on the scale was like riding a rollercoaster.
I was exercising as I usually do. Walking the dogs, gardening, taking care of my horses. and taking riding lessons.
I also was monitoring and documenting what carbohydrates did or did not pass over my lips. But this was inconsistent. Some days were real good “no carb days” and others not so good.
My girlfriends would call and we would go out to Margaritas .I would have a couple of drinks and some salty chips and some sort of cheesy Mexican masterpiece and oppps……the scales would rise. For the next few days I would concentrate on the anti-carb diet and the scale would go down. Every time I turned around there was some other event that involved eating. The fly in up in Greenville, another girls night out (there are a lot of those), The Special Olympics, the Trip to New Mexico, the Federal Women’s luncheon, the Equine affaire (three days of junk food and wine with my horse girlfriends) and one of the biggest days of all Thanksgiving. Food is ever where and I am weak. I love to eat, I love to spend time with my girlfriends and family and we like to eat, drink and be merry.
What I discovered through my personal project is the sisterhood I share with my girlfriends is worth every pound. That the obsession of food intake and weight is exhausting and getting on the scale every day is not for me. I also noticed on some of my heaviest days I felt the fittest. One such day I had a two hour riding lesson (posting, which is like continuous squats) and the next morning my weight was up but I felt great. I am sure that was the mind body connection of being as one with my horse. Horseback riding is very good for the soul. Unfortunately, as winter approaches and my riding and gardening stops, and as much as I hate to admit it, I am going to have to increase my exercise to continue with this carbohydrate food frenzy. I am addicted to chips, M&M’s ,wine and margaritas(to name a few) So, through the winter months I have decided to go to the gym twice a week to increase my exercise and burn the calories I would by riding my horse. Hopefully at the gym, I will achieve that fit feeling I do when taking a riding lesson.