This experience got me thinking that maybe we could learn a lesson from this. What if we all realized that there are some things we can control, and then there are other things that we have no control over? What if we changed the phrase a little so that it did not feel like it was completely out of our control? How about, “You get what you get, and you do your best with it?”
There are certain instances in my life that I personally feel I need to apply this phrase to. Number one on my list is the shape of certain parts of my body. I can lose weight, I can build up my muscles at Crossfit, and I could even try doing 100 sit-ups a day, and I will NEVER get rid of that little pooch below my belly button. When a doctor cuts through those muscles, twice, those muscles will never be the same. I am not using this as an excuse to slack on my training. It is just that if I have this expectation that I will have my high school bikini stomach back, I will be sorely disappointed. I feel that making peace with certain inevitables is healthier for me considering I have had body image problems in the past. I had two c-sections, so I just need to do the best I can to firm up the areas I can control. I get what I get, and I'll do my best with it.
I know that in the past, I had lots of excuses for why I couldn't exercise: I'm too busy, it's too dark, it's too cold/hot, I don't have enough money for equipment or a gym membership, and the list went on and on. Instead of focusing on what I can't do or what I don't have, I use what I have to get it done. Now, I don't let these excuses stop me from fitting in my weekly exercise. Because I know I have a busy schedule, I actually plan my exercise like I schedule appointments. I also found crazy friends who actually like to run before the sun rises, so that excuse is gone. In addition, I found they actually make comfortable workout clothes that can keep you warmer in the cold and cooler in the heat--you just have to research a little. And to get around that money issue for the gym membership, I just got creative and traded tutoring for Crossfit. Not only did I use what I had, but I found new people and resources to get it done.
Speaking of resources, another thing I often complained about was how once we moved from Pasadena, we lost all the nature trails and hiking opportunities in the San Gabriel Mountains that we had taken full advantage of when we lived there. Despite the fact that I run most of my half-marathons on city street, I am actually happiest when I am close to nature when I exercise. Amazingly, I just recently found that I am surrounded by the best opportunities for playing outdoors. Who would have know that I could just run to the end of my street and hike/run/bike through meadows, streams, hills, over boulders--I have my own personal obstacle course right in my own backyard. Instead of complaining about the loss of my Pasadena Playground, I could have been running through my own personal Murrieta Mudrun for years if I had just focused on what I had and not what I didn't. I get what I get and now I am certainly doing my best with it.
Finally, one thing that I have been given in life is an absolute LOVE of food. I can fight it, or I can make the best of this love affair by finding creative ways to make delicious food in a healthier way (see picture below). I have spent my entire adulthood trying to find ways to take short cuts, bulimia being the worst of those ideas, but I think I have finally found a good balance. Eighty percent of the time I eat healthy alternatives for the food I love, but twenty percent of the time I eat what I want. If I want a slice of pizza, I eat it. If ice cream is what I desire, then I have that. Because I exercise regularly and eat well most of the time, these little treat meals or days do not affect me like they used to. I have finally found a way to make peace with food, and so food does not have the same hold over me that it once had. I have been given this love of food, and I really feel that lately I am doing my best with it.
Hopefully, you, too, can learn from my son's preschool class. When faced with something you don't especially want, when you wish something that you can't control was different, find a way to deal with it. Obstacles are continually placed in front of us, but it is how we deal with these obstacles that determines whether or not we will succeed. Find people to support you, find new and more exciting ways to exercise, make peace with difficult body parts, and make food your friend not your enemy. If you move in this direction, then you, too, will be able to get what you get and do your best with it.