I have always loved a good plan. I love planners, full of pages ready to be filled. I love lists waiting to be checked off. I love all the order and all the potential. Each time I come up with a new plan or program, I’m excited. Recently, I was SUPER excited about a new running plan that was coming out. I was trying to rally people to join me. I was PSYCHED in that way I get, all in, 100%.
Except then…when I started that plan…it just wasn’t a good fit. Uh oh.
I found that the workouts didn’t really fit my strengths and weaknesses. The way the runs were set up didn’t work with the way I run or why I run. I know of people for whom this same program was great, but for me…it just wasn’t a fit. The good news is that I have hundreds of different workout programs available on the platform I use (hit me up if you want to try it), so I just switched to a different program on my non-running days and went back to progressing in my runs the way I know works best for me.
I had a similar moment last night when I was referred to by someone else as “The Weightlifter.” My body, when I’m active, puts on muscle very easily, which is a little unusual for women. I bulk up whether I mean to or not. I always am going for lean. I admire those leggy yoga girls, with delicate, elegant bodies, but my body prefers beast mode, with ripped shoulders. At first, I felt a little deflated knowing that my body is doing this again, but then…I started thinking about how great it is that my body is strong and how much rather I’d be strong, healthy, and ripped than unhealthy and obese as I was. This is the body style that G-d gave me and I might as well embrace it and work with it and rock it and just find clothes that fit those growing muscles rather that try to shrink down into a body shape I was never meant for.
And all this got me to thinking about fitness, nutrition, spiritual studies…life in general and how there is NO single, one-size fits all program or plan that works for everyone.
Let’s take diet as an example. I have one person I know who THRIVES on a ketogenic diet. He’s done it for years and feels great and is very healthy. I don’t thrive on that kind of diet at all. I need a small amount of carbohydrates in order to fuel some of the things I do and I feel depleted and run down without them. I have a friend from college who is always training for his next marathon or triathalon and he thrives best on a high fiber, high carbohydrate diet. Each one of us has a different lifestyle and a different body. From our genes on up, we’re very different people and we’ve each had to try different things to find what food helps us feel our best and be the healthiest.
Sure, you can’t really go wrong eating more vegetables, cutting out processed junk, and eating reasonable portions, but beyond that? What’s healthy for one person might not be the best for you and unfortunately, you just have to learn your own body to know what’s going to work for your goals. Even more confusing…that often changes as your body changes over time, too!
We each learn best in different ways, run best in different ways, eat best in different ways, and connect to G-d best in different ways. I once excitedly tried to get a friend to try a Tanya class that absolutely set me on fire…only to find she really didn’t find anything in it. It was a sad trombone moment, but it makes sense.
We’re all our own puzzle pieces with different edges and openings.
So…don’t beat yourself up if what works for one person doesn’t work for you. Don’t think you have to saw off your corners or fill in a gap to fit yourself into a program or plan that just isn’t a fit. Keep growing and learning and searching for what works with who you uniquely are. You were made that way on purpose and there is a path you can find that leads to you being healthy and fulfilled in all aspects of your life.
Your work, whether it’s in your religious life, fitness, nutrition, parenting, or career isn’t to transform yourself into someone else, but to grow into the fullest, biggest, best version of who you uniquely are and were made to be. That begins with accepting yourself, even where you might have chosen to be different.
There is no one-size fits all perfect plan…but there is a plan for you.