Don’t get so caught up in trying to live the “healthiest” and longest life possible that you forget to LIVE.
Staying in good health isn’t an end in and of itself. The PURPOSE of living in a healthier body is the ability to DO more with it. Love more. Play more. Use it for good (or mischief, you little buggers). Getting a fitter body is about more than just HAVING one. You gotta put it to good use.
It’s super easy to fall in love with healthy living: it’s addictive, it’s fun and the benefits are wicked. But if you’re spending more time in the gym than with the people you love or have become so restrictive with your eating that there is no room for spontaneity or JOY, you may want to re-prioritize.
Healthy living = healthier bodies. Healthier bodies = the ability to DO more for longer. Doing more, for longer = the MAIN purpose of healthy living. Don’t forget it.
Tis the season for food guilt, health shaming and misinformation memes! Here’s a few tips to deal with the influx of “1 serving of mashed potatoes = 30 minutes of running, 1 piece of pie = 300 burpees” crap you’re seeing today (or will see this weekend).
1. Let it sink in: these memes are total bullshizz, based on averages and guesstimates that are unlikely to represent you. Unless you’re hooked up to a machine, NO ONE can tell you how many calories you’re burning.
2. They promote a potentially dangerous and disordered way to think about food and exercise (very similar to the calculation process observed in those who suffer from eating disorders). A system of checks and balances might work in terms of overall consumption over a period of time, but not for individual choices and one-off days.
3. They are over-simplified and don’t tell the whole story: your metabolism increases when you overeat meaning you’re burning more calories for awhile (the body takes care of itself amazingly). You also burn calories through daily activity: more so than just your workouts. In fact, most of us burn far more calories OUT of the gym than in. (did you know your brains use approx 20-25% of your caloric intake a day?)
Calories in and calories out is a tricky matter and not as simple as the “experts” make it out to be.
4. Unless you’re eating 10,000+ calories in one sitting (AND continue to do so for days on end), you’re unlikely to gain any “real” weight this weekend. The bloat, poop and water will take care of itself in a day or so, and if you go back to your normal habits (NOTE: YOUR EVERY DAY NORMAL HABITS. No extremes), any weight gain will take care of itself too. Believe it or not, a few days “over” on the scale won’t kill you, break you, or even be noticeable to ANYONE but you.
Weight gain AND weight loss is about consistently engaging in activities that promote either over time. It NEVER boils down to one meal, one overeating session or one holiday. Thinking this way can throw an otherwise AWESOME program WAY off track: two extremes do not equal balance.
And if you DO end up gaining an additional 1-3lbs due to Thanksgiving business, good times and yum yums? SO THE EFF WHAT, lol. It’s not a big deal, EVEN if you’re on a weight loss mission. Just go back to what you were doing that feels good and supports your goals. Bam: you’ll be right back where you were. And loving yourself - not hating yourself - along the way can be mega beneficial to your overall success.
But stressing about it? Going extreme? Getting frustrated? Overthinking it? ALL things that zap the energy you need to get back to doing YOU. And the more you allow yourself to fester in these emotions & thoughts, the less likely you are to get back “on track”.
So ditch the infographics, misinformation, food shaming and guilt promoting pics and quotes. They don’t serve you, don’t help you in the long run and aren’t necessary. Plus, as stated, total bullshizz.
Bonus? All those extra treats mean hella full glycogen stores. Use them to power your workouts, have more fun and enjoy life like the bad ass you are.
NO GUILT. NO SHAME. NO JUDGEMENT. These things are not required to get where you want to go, nor do they cater to your greatness.
And you are GREAT.
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- Said NO one. Ever.
Promote what you love. Live by example. Help people feel WORTHY and empowered so that they WANT to take care of themselves, with or without weight loss. But pointing out someone’s weight, criticizing their body and communicating how “unhealthy” YOU think it is only makes YOU feel better. Maybe more righteous too. All the science, research, date and information in the WORLD doesn’t justify being mean.
This kind of motivation (IF you can even call it that. I don’t), is popular but does and has done NOTHING to curb obesity or promote health, for the individual or for society. But it does make other people feel bad. Shamed. Less than. Angry. Humiliated. Sad. Hopeless. And a whole whackload of other emotions that you can’t possibly wrap your head around unless you’ve been there. Not exactly the ideal circumstances to promote positive change. If we’re going by numbers, we’re not doing so hot health wise and weight discrimination is at an all time high.
The more passionate we are about something, and the closer it is to our identity, the more likely we are to distance ourselves from things that don’t suit us: weight is one of those things and mocking is a distancing behavior. It has little to do with those being mocked, and everything to do with reinforcing the self-image of those who do the mocking.
So, while it’s very easy to judge others and use the veil of “health” to mask what would otherwise be inappropriate and rude comments, remember that few people hate themselves healthy. If health is your bag, your thing and your passion? Promote the shit out of it. If the goal is to inspire health in others, then be the example. Talk about what you do, what you love, and why it’s important to YOU.
And remember that tearing down people doesn’t make you a more formidable health warrior. It makes you a bully.
And all the science, research and information in the world doesn’t change THAT either.
Excuses, Excuses, Excuses…. What’s yours?
Here’s mine: I’m not as lean as I could be because I don’t WANT to do the things I’d have to do to get there.
No other reason. That’s my truth and it feels amazing to me.
Don’t get me wrong: I’d be fine with a leaner bod. I have the time, the expertise & know how and ALL the tools I’d need. And even on the genetics front, I could do it - with effort. I’m one of “those” people, lol. I even have the nutty, fit freakin’ passion for it that not everyone has. In fact, the only thing keeping me from having a leaner body is the desire to commit to the lifestyle I’d need to work towards one.
I JUST DON’T WANNA BE THAT DILIGENT. Don’t wanna.
Been there. Done that. Moved on. To me, the additional sacrifices and monitoring aren’t worth it. That’s personal, based on my own history, priorities and my own preferences.
I don’t want to count every calorie. That sucked. I don’t want to weigh myself everyday. That sucked. I don’t want to feel as though my success as a person depends on my ability to maintain my weight or body fat percentage. THAT SUCKED! One of the greatest joys IN MY LIFE when it comes to my fitness has been feeling like it’s a perk and not an obligation. I value my feelings, my moods and my excuses, because they are all feedback. I don’t bully myself for them, but work with them. Every excuse I have is a valid one, at least in the sense of I validate the feeling. It’s feedback, a starting point and a place from which I can evaluate my options and make a call.
It’s not because I’m lazy, not dedicated or because I am delusional. I work hard yo. I’m bad ass. I listen to my body. I know what it would take for me to get to a leaner, fitness model bod. I looked at my history and decided I didn’t want to live like that anymore. I decided I have other priorities that take precedence. I’ve made a very informed and calculated choice to live my life the way I like, which includes burpees, spinach, wine, chocolate, flexibility and sometimes gaining/losing a little weight.
And the moment I made peace with this, everything changed on a fundamental level. There was no more beating myself up. I actually got stronger. It was easier to eat healthy most of the time (nothing to rebel against and no sense of deprivation LITERALLY equaled more veggies and cleaner choices). I learned to listen to the feedback my body was giving me.
So what do I think of my “I don’t wanna” excuse? Valid. Totally. I’ll defend her to the end. Healthier, happier me.
1. HORMONES MAKE TEAR PRODUCTION HARDER FOR MEN, EASIER FOR WOMEN.
Think men don’t cry as often because they’re “strong” or lack emotion? Well, you can’t cry if you don’t have the tears to do it. Before puberty, girls and boys cry in equal amounts, and for pretty much the exact same reasons. When puberty hits and we get our hormones on (testosterone for the fellas and prolactin for ladies), our ability to PRODUCE tears changes. Testosterone may inhibit tear production in men, while prolactin actually makes crying easier (and encourages it) for women. Though the experience of feeling emotion may be exactly the same between the sexes, men’s bodies are simply less likely to produce tears as a response (while women’s bodies may produce them automatically, especially in response to stress). This hormonal difference also means that in situations where men & women BEGIN to cry, men may be able to shut down the reflex more easily, whereas women may have a much harder time holding them back. Women with especially high prolactin levels (preggers, post-preggers, hormonally imbalance like me, etc) may find they can cry almost indefinitely when emotions run high. I call it “leaking”, lol. In general, women are QUEENS of the “good, long cry”. Women may produce more tears than normal when depressed/anxious because of higher levels of tear producing stress hormone.
For men trying to understand a female cry response, it’s kind of like a boner for your eyeballs: sometimes it happens for no reason and you can’t shut it off right away EVEN when you desperately wanna. That’s not to say women are emotionally irrational or somehow unable to function when crying: we just have a physical response to emotion that makes us more likely to express it with tears. Tears (or lack of tears) are also NOT an indicator of depth of feeling or lack of emotion: a man can be devastated and simply be unable to produce tears (or will produce just a few). A woman can be mildly upset or stressed and cry whole heartedly.
Me: “Breast Cancer Awareness Month is not about boobs”
Dude: “Please. If it’s not about boobs, then what’s it about? (smirks)”
Me: “PEOPLE. Helping really sick PEOPLE.