Although SparkPeople really is quite an amazing tool -- and it's free to boot! -- I am treading carefully in my use of the site. My last long-term use of the site directly preceded and aided in my downward spiral into life-threatening disordered eating. So I recommend SparkPeople, but also encourage to avoid using it obsessively. (For an intriguing discussion on this issue, check out this SP forum discussion. I contributed my thoughts and received some really positive feedback from other users who are seeking to use the site in a balanced way.)
However, as much as I like SparkPeople for its help in helping me achieve balanced nutrition and fitness, it also sparked (no pun intended) some deep thinking. Yesterday I noticed one of the t-shirts in the site's store. This shirt boldly reads, "Fitness in progress."
I initially felt repulsed by the t-shirt. I don't know what I would think if I saw somebody else wearing it, but I knew that I certainly never would. For me that would be like admitting that I'm not okay, that I'm not in control -- which the disordered eating part of me translates to fat. Admit to the public that I'm fat? No way, and no thanks.
But the shirt's message stuck with me. What if I did see a person walking down the street proudly wearing it? I'd probably find myself mentally cheering her on -- for whatever health she's gained, and for the balance she is pursuing. The wearer's body shape and size would probably not even factor in to my encouraging reaction. But if I can think about a random stranger, why can't I encourage myself in a similar way?
Perhaps it's because we are all our own worse critics -- and doubly so for a person who suffers from any sort of body or food issues. But if I'm honest with myself, I should wear this t-shirt. What's more, I should wear it proudly. Because the fact is that I'm not perfect -- and I never will be. Nobody ever will be. We are all a work in progress. Can't you see the t-shirt options? "Faith in progress." "Confidence in progress." "Forgiveness in progress." "Love in progress." "Parent in progress." "Blogger in progress" . . . and so on, forever.
I will never arrive. There is no end. There's only now, so I might as well enjoy it, regardless of my pant size.
Yes, I'm working on my health -- but I'm working on a lot of other things, too. My relationship with God is an unending project, but it's also unsurpassingly worthwhile and rewarding. The same is true for my relationships with other people, starting with the Best Husband Ever. Other life construction projects include writing, photography, hooping, and maybe even gardening. Because I'm a perfectionist, maybe I'll never feel finished . . . but that's okay. As cheesy or trite as it might sound, life is a journey and, if we let it, an adventure.
What are you journeying toward?
"Little by little, one travels far."
~ J. R. R. Tolkien
~ J. R. R. Tolkien