I love what I do. I love being involved in the health and fitness world. It changes all the time as new science and research helps us understand our bodies and how our health and wellness is affected by so many different factors. I know so much more than I did 10 years ago, but I am still learning each and every day. I love that about it.
I also love that, generally, I am beside people in an effort to move forward. It is an environment of sharing and helping and cheering on others to be the best and healthiest versions of themselves. Those are all positive things. And I am much better at being in a positive environment than in a negative one!
That being said, there is a side to this business and this area that is just not positive and, actually, not even healthy. Just like with anything else, the balance can be tipped and the results can be devastating. I have seen and experienced it and it makes me so sad. . . .
Unfortunately, what can begin as an endeavor to become more fit, maybe lose a few pounds, get a little stronger, eat a little healthier, can turn into an all encompassing spiral of negative thoughts, body shaming, comparison, living by a number on the scale or pants size and losing the ability to enjoy a meal without labeling it good, bad or counting its every calorie.
When you daily work in a gym and studio setting, you find yourself around people who are exercising and talking. Sometimes you cannot help but hear some of the conversations. Or maybe clients may approach you with their questions, concerns and insecurities. I have to admit, I’ve had just about all of the same thoughts and insecurities. I’ve witnessed people go on every fad diet that comes the way, extreme diets and brutal workouts. Sometimes the workout habits become obsessive and eating can become completely disordered. These habits are not healthy and do not lead to a well rounded healthy person.
Sometimes what begins as a good thing, simply goes wrong and becomes completely unbalanced.
I never want anyone to get to the place where they cannot enjoy a meal or snack without thinking about its calorie content, or how it will affect their body. I never want someone to think of one food as good and another food bad. I never want anyone to judge themselves and their beauty and worth based upon the size of their jeans or how they look in their workout gear or what that darn scale says.
If those thoughts begin to take over, the whole health and fitness meaning goes to pot. We are all more than that $$%^ number on the scale. Yes, I want to encourage people to make good, healthy choices and move their body as it was intended to be used! We were not born into this world to eat Cheetos and sit on our rumps. I want to encourage folks to be their healthiest to be able to live and enjoy each day. However, a person’s values, brains, character, sense of humor and gifts to be what makes a person. If these things are put UNDER how we look on the outside and how much we weigh, the size of our waist or body fat percentage, then what are we truly offering?
I know there are women out there spinning their wheels constantly comparing themselves to other women. I know because I’ve been there. I bet most people have been at some point in time. This negative side of the health and fitness world is sadly about punishment, shame, and labeling and not at all healthy.
So, what to do to make sure you or those around you keep the balance?
Keep reading here! I’m only partly joking. While this is a “Healthy Living” site, it is completely real. I want health and wellness to be realistic and relatable. It is attainable to anyone. I am not about telling you to count every calorie and never eat dessert. I want to share a well rounded healthy lifestyle that brings strength and wholeness inside and out. Nothing extreme.
Health and fitness should be a lifestyle and that is my goal for others. If this is all new to you, start simple. Make simple changes. Try not to take on everything at once. Do not think an extreme, crazy, restrictive diet will be the answer. Know that there is not a quick fix. Changing habits and creating a new lifestyle takes time and patience. Make healthy eating and moving your body something you try to incorporate into your daily schedule, but when life gets in the way, just know it is life. One bad day will not derail you unless you let it!
I talked about intuitive eating recently and how I typically follow an 80/20 rule – eating clean 80% of the time and allow for 20% fun. (This works for me but if I need to tighten things up I go 90/10. I’m no competitor, obviously!)
Here is an example:
This doesn’t exactly look like a healthy dinner, does it? Nope. Definitely not my typical Saturday night fare. However, I really, really wanted calamari on Saturday night. I ordered it. Ate it. REALLY enjoyed it. I had a little arugala salad to go along with it and I had a lovely meal. No Guilt. No Punishment. Now, would I do that every night or even a few nights a week? No. This was definitely my 20% treat! See, I am not always the best example. I am not eating clean 100% of the time. Sometimes I do and when and if I need to I’ll make those choices.
Remember there is no punishment! Your food choices and exercise are not to punish you. They are to nurture you and make you feel good! Find things you enjoy doing! If you do not enjoy running . . . guess what? You will view it as punishment and likely give it up. If you have tried and hate kale salad, then find another option.
Remember there is no comparison! This is your journey! This is your health, your body and your own lifestyle. There are many women out there who exercise more than I do. I’ve reached the point where I have learned to exercise smarter rather than longer and harder. This works for me and I try not to compare my workout schedule with my bike riding friends or marathon training friends or other women who can go longer, faster and stronger without injuries.
Enjoy the journey. It is a marathon and not a sprint. Take each day, each week and each month as it comes. Eat real foods and move your body. Keep these things in mind and you will see the little, simple changes make a difference. Any other physical and weight changes will simply come.
Keep the health and fitness side of your life positive.
Enjoy Your Day!