On Being “Mostly” Fit

I was on the way to the pool tonight, and it occurred to me that I was nervous.  For some reason, I seem to always get nervous before a swim.  Light butterflies in the stomach, and a desire to pee.  Sorry – TMI!

I’m not scared of the water.  I grew up swimming in a lake, and now I do laps at a pool where I can stand and touch the bottom at all times.  It’s not about the water.

When I gave it some thought, I finally realized why I’m nervous.  It’s because I’m afraid that when I’m in the pool, I’ll somehow break the swimming rules or otherwise embarrass myself, maybe by being way slower than the person sharing my lane or by inadvertently swimming the wrong way.  I’m afraid that someone will point at me and say, “You’re not a swimmer.  Get outta here!”

I’ve been swimming quite regularly since April and I have yet to commit any swimming “sins” – to my knowledge, anyway.  But irrational fear I have of seeming incompetent and unfit brings made me contemplate my self-image.

I’ve lost over 30lbs in the past year and a half.  I’ve dropped clothing sizes and have improved my health significantly.  I can do piles of pushups, walking lunges carrying an Olympic bar, a couple of chin-ups at a time, and unassisted dips.  This year I did a sprint distance triathlon and I will run a half marathon.  So why don’t I consider myself fit yet?  Why do I still see myself as bigger and heavier than I am?

Case in point: I met a couple of friends from school last week for Starbucks and a chat.  When they asked how much more weight I wanted to lose, I told them 30lbs.  Um, no.  My target is now less than 20lbs away.  When I report my weight losses to my husband, I usually have to correct myself, because I start out saying “one-sixty,” when I’m now, in fact, in the 140’s.

My trainer and I were discussing my blog one day, and she told me that she wasn’t crazy about the name.  She said something like this: “You’re not mostly fit.  You ARE fit.”  I take that as high praise, since she is an amazing athlete.  But I don’t really think of myself that way – yet.

In my opinion, it’s not a bad thing that I want to get fitter.  In fact, from a health perspective, I’m sure it’s a good thing.  However, I wonder if I will ever think of myself as fit.  What will be that magic threshold where I say, “Yeah!  I am FIT!  I rock!”?

There are so many amazing athletes out there that have been training for years and have natural/biological abilities that I don’t have.  There’s NO WAY for me to, say, compete at the Olympics for swimming or marathon.  It’s just not there for me.  And I’m okay with that, but that still brings me to the question: “When will I feel like I’m fit?”

Perhaps if I weren’t surrounded by people who are fitter than I am, who do incredible things like white water kayaking; wall- and rock-climbing; 10k’s, half marathons, and marathons at good speeds; and Ironman and shorter distance triathlons – perhaps then I wouldn’t feel like I was “underfit” (yeah, not a word – I know).  However, it is the fact that I am surrounded by all of these fit friends that inspired me to hop on the fitness bandwagon and work to lose the weight once and for all, so I’m not giving them up.  Not a chance.

I guess for now I’m comfortable feeling “mostly” fit.  I’m still striving to become significantly fitter and leaner, and sometimes it’s a struggle to stay committed to regular, strenuous exercise and healthful eating.  I have to consider, though, that perfection is an illusion.  No one has perfect workouts and eating days all of the time.  Once I can make that shift in my thinking, perhaps I’ll be convinced that I’m fit.  Until then, I’m “mostly” fit, but proud of how far I’ve come.

Do you consider yourself fit?  What was/is your magic threshold for considering yourself fit?

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12 thoughts on “On Being “Mostly” Fit

  1. Debbie says:

    Good for you! I am on my way there, only I am a 49 year old mom (kids are grown and gone) but still……. I started going to boot camp last year and quickly lost around 25 lbs, I have kept if off but I am trying to get past that next level………. I currently weigh around 150 and people comment about how great I look and how much I exercise but like you I want to shoot to that 130 range (I am 5′ 4″) I have always felt over weight and always wanted to do something about it, even in school……… I figure now that the kids are up and gone it’s my time to do something about it. Wish I would have started at your age. So I started blogging (just this week) and I am loving it already, reading about folks like you who are going through the same thing that I am!

    Thanks for sharing…..

    ~Deb

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  2. couchpotatoathlete says:

    Congrats on the weight loss — that is great!

    I think we have similar feelings about this — I too feel like I am quite fit yet, when other people tell me otherwise. I’m not sure when I’ll FEEL fit. I know it is all in my head. I am constantly striving for perfection, and I expect that out of myself. I’m working on accepting myself more and looking at all that I CAN do, not all the things I can’t do.

    You are incredibly fit — did you read about what you have done: “I can do piles of pushups, walking lunges carrying an Olympic bar, a couple of chin-ups at a time, and unassisted dips. This year I did a sprint distance triathlon and I will run a half marathon.”

    That is amazing!

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  3. Tonia says:

    You are fit. And you will continue to become more fit if you so desire. It took a long time for me to consider myself fit. I think that my first marathon proved that for me. I realized that I couldn’t fake a marathon. A 5K, maybe. But not a marathon. Now, I truly appreciate my body for all it can accomplish.

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  4. Wendy says:

    Hey Mama!
    You just do what ya need to do in that pool – I’m sure you’re a great swimmer! If it makes you feel any better, I can’t swim. At all. Putting me in a pool is like putting a log in a pool. Water terrifies me. So KUDOS to you – big time!!!!

    I do consider myself to be fit. I am by no means a body building, muscle woman and I could use some tummy toning, but yeah, I’m pretty fit. A lot more fit than a lot of people I know. 😉

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  5. 45before35 says:

    What a great post!

    I think all of us are active “works in progress” – hence the blogs, self-discovery, and continual challenges that most of us are participating in. And saying that we are fit (especially if we haven’t been for ages) – almost seems like we have achieved this lofty goal – like there is an “end” to being fit. The reality is fitness is on a spectrum – a continuum. The question is – at what point within the spectrum do we cross over to being fit? There isn’t an answer. However, I think it is VERY safe to say that you VERY FIT! Congrats:))))

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    • mostlyfitmom says:

      Well, thank you. I think that’s part of why I struggle with FEELING fit – there’s never an end in sight. And there’s always someone else out there who’s fitter. Oh well, I’ll wrap my head around it sometime. 🙂

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  6. Heather says:

    Well good job because you definitely are more fit than me. I ran on the treadmill once about a month ago telling myself I was going to do it every day, then haven’t been on it since….I suck. Before that it had been over a year since I worked out. I have a post postpartum tummy to tone and I’m not sure how to do it. I know crunches only make your tummy bigger, but I did here running and walking can help with toning. Still I drink my coffee every other day and lack discipline in that area. But I do get exercise chasing 3 toddlers around every day…so its something….but not much.

    Following you from bloggy moms. Would so love a follow and a visit as well! 🙂

    Mommy Only Has Two Hands!

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  7. Kat says:

    Lady, I’m in the 150s shooting for the 130s-140s and I consider myself fit now because I’m committed to a regular routine of healthy eating and exercise, and am completing my first half-marathon on Sunday. In my opinion, fitness is two things: being able to participate in the physical activity of your choice without fear of failure, the other part is being able to see the results of your work. You’re fit even though you haven’t hit your goal yet! Here’s to the last 10 lbs!

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  8. Holly @ Self-love and Running says:

    I consider myself pretty fit. Sure, I am working on becoming fitter but that doesn’t discount how fit I am right now. But then I’ve never considering myself not fit. I ran track in high school and have made exercise an important part of my life. I was perhaps not as fit during college but I don’t remember feeling not fit either. I have struggled more with body image and feeling unattractive more than feeling unfit.

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