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Fitness: It’s All in Your Head, by Danielle Legg, VLCE

January, the month where just about everyone decides that this is the year they’ll get fit. The year where everything will change if we just do this one thing. Every year, after a few weeks, we give up because we’re not seeing the results we want, and our life just isn’t changing quickly enough. That’s been every January for me for years, more years than I care to even sit with, or admit. THIS January was different though, because this year I had Beachbody, and I’d signed up to coach others, so I gave myself more reason to stay with it. I was so sore after only 2 days that throwing myself down the stairs felt like a better option than walking, but I didn’t quit because I was a coach now. I had to keep going, because how can I help others if I’m not helping myself? But the hard work wasn’t how sore I was, or working through that. It was the personal development.

January

In coaching, personal development is vital, you have to do it. It’s just like going vegan. You can’t just say “Okay cool, no more animal products,” and then stop learning. You’ve got to pick up books and fill your head with knowledge. That’s what getting fit has been for me. Within three days of starting this journey, I was starting to actually, finally, love myself as much as I love animals. I’ve wanted to love my body for as long as I can remember, but wanting it and actually feeling it are two completely different things. I’ve wanted to change something, or a million things, about my body since boys started picking on me in grade school. Years later when I couldn’t get my body to look a certain way, I started making fun of myself. Laughing feels better than crying, even if the jokes are mean and you’re the one making them. “Champs-fed thighs” and “Doughnut-fed breasts” I’d say as I laughed, and my whole body would jiggle as I giggled. Then I started learning. I realized that I hated my body not because of anything anyone said, maybe a little bit because of stupid “thin is pretty” ads you see on EVERY stupid magazine, but really, it was mostly me. So in January, I finally decided that it was time to love myself. Not just “want” it, but actually DO IT.

Arcot and my head

I’ve realized in all of this that it’s really no different than when I decided to go vegan. Veganism, seven years ago, meant completely changing my relationship with food. It meant reading labels, learning more about everything. I didn’t decide to stop supporting the animal industries to lose weight. I decided to stop supporting the animal industries because I can’t be down with anyone who’s causing harm needlessly. If others could live a kick-ass life without eating animals, I could. Seven years in, I’d say I’m doing okay. Fitness has been exactly the same. While this started out with just wanting to lose weight, it now has nothing to do with my weight or my size. It has everything to do with my mindset and how I feel about myself. Once you’re committed to a mindset, veganism to save lives, or loving yourself, you do whatever you have to do to support that mindset. You can’t decide to go vegan without a big picture reason why, and you can’t truly get fit if you’re doing it simply to weigh less. If you look at either of these lifestyles, and you’re looking at either through a lens of sacrifice, you’ll fail. Fitness isn’t about sacrifice, or saying “I can’t.” It’s about moderation, and pounding that extra brownie, and NOT beating yourself up about it. Shoot, pound two! Because if you’re really loving yourself, you get to make the rules.

animal lover

I could make a million excuses why I can’t be vegan, but that’s all they’d be. I can do the same with excuses why I should skip a workout. The thing is, once you commit to something and you go all in, your big-picture reasons enter in, and those are reasons that nothing can tear down. They’ll stand up to any excuse. Excuses will get harder to make. Excuses die when you’re ready to kill them, and in January, I was ready. They only thing this vegan girl kills now are excuses. SO are you ready to kill some excuses, vegan style? Let’s get fit together!

danielle leggDanielle Legg, VLCE is a licensed veterinary technician helping to change animal lives by day, and she’s busy growing her coaching business by night and on the weekends. She is supported by two of the worlds most precious animals, Arcot the Vegan Wonder dog, and Pekoe, the worlds only lioness completely habituated to apartment living in Brooklyn. You can find Danielle at @ThisGirlisVeg on Instagram and Twitter, and she’s got a baby blog that’s growing over at ThisGirlisVeg.com.

Comments

  1. great article! so inspiring — love the corollary you draw between the vegan mindset and one that embraces fitness — you’ve given me a new perspective! thank you!

  2. Hi Danielle and Victoria,

    I loved this post so much. I’ve been helping vegans let go of all the traditional diet mindset that so many of us have become slaves to, and I see what you’re talking about every single day. Goal setting without a good reason why (other than looking like the girl in the magazine), falling off the wagon and then complete punishment and horrible internal dialogue. I totally agree with you that it’s all about loving yourself first and making up the rules that work for you. I always tell people that there’s no better health guru than the one that’s already inside of them. But when we start with judgement of our own bodies, that inner health guru is looking at everything through a dirty window instead of a clear one, and he or she can’t advise us properly. I loved this article and especially kudos to you for showing us your pics, loud and proud. You are beautiful! And oh my God those tats! Love ’em.