You’ve been burned a time or two by the fitness industry before and it’s caused problems by being too obsessed with living that “healthy and fit” lifestyle. It doesn’t even look possible to be healthy and fit any other way than focusing so much on food–what you’re going to eat, how much you ‘can’ have, and whether or not you were on plan or off plan. If you’re not logging hours at the gym or during your workouts, you can’t possibly get the results you’re after, right?
The mainstream health and fitness industry aka diet culture wants you to believe healthy looks one way and is achieved through a very narrow pathway–working out like the top instagram fitness influencers and following some cookie cutter meal plan. The issue with this narrow way of thinking is that it limits a majority of women to ever actually be able to achieve a healthy and fit lifestyle. Because for everyone not living inside a bubble the methods used are unrealistic, unhealthy, and keep you stuck in the same diet cycle.
One of the best kept secrets of the fitness industry is that your weight (to an extent) is predetermined much like your eye color or your height. This doesn’t mean you should resolve to live an unhealthy lifestyle eating whatever you want whenever you want or ditch all forms of movement because you don’t like it. But it does mean you don’t have to conform to someone else’s idea of what a healthy and fit body looks like.
Find the middle ground: Not without discipline and self-control, but also not about rules and restriction.
You don’t have to workout for hours or be restrictive with your food to be healthy or to reach your fitness goals. In fact, I believe that type of behavior has the opposite impact on your health both long and short-term in that you end up sacrificing other areas of health to attain society’s idea of what a healthy body should look like.
Learning to be more disciplined in the short-term pays off big. It’s all about learning how to manage the tension between instant gratification and holding out for what you want most in your life. Becoming more disciplined and learning how to exercise self-control are two of your most powerful tools when it comes to leaving the diets and the workout programs you hate doing behind. Once you know how to exercise self- control in a way that allows you to *choose* whether you want to give into the instant gratification or you want to hold out for a bigger payoff you become more empowered and more motivated to do what you know is right in your heart.
I’ve been there..for years I tried to live up to the popular body type, at the time it was being long and lean. The problem? I’m pretty short and have legs like tree trunks. My body puts on muscle fairly easily, and my lower body tends to holds onto fat. Trying all the popular workouts and meal plans I found in magazines and online to create the long and lean body only left me more defeated. I thought something was wrong with me since I could never attain that specific body shape or size. Talk about motivating.
Once you see there are MANY ways to be healthy. And that health and fitness can and should look different on every single body, you can find motivation to try again. This time without the fear of failing or having to keep up with what everyone else is doing to be #healthy.
Define what “healthy and fit” looks like for yourself
Realizing YOU get to decide for yourself what healthy and fit feels like and looks like, empowers you to take action.
Though its taken me some time and lots of trial and error to figure out what works for me personally, you won’t have to navigate it yourself because I’ve compiled the strategies you need in order to begin confidently rewriting your story with fitness, food, and your relationship with your body.
Aside from certain markers of physical health (like cholesterol, blood pressure, hormone levels, etc) your health is much more than your appearance, how many veggies you eat in a day, and how many hours you log at the gym.
Your health is made up of your emotional, mental, and spiritual health as well. Though they make appear to be healthy on the surface, a majority of the workout programs, diet + nutrition information, and meal plans are only promoting disordered eating and body image issues. They tend to forget about how damaging it is to our overall health to be obsessed with obtaining a perfect body, and one that isn’t all that realistic for most women at that.
How to create moderation in lifestyle around food and fitness.
The first thing to realize is that in order to achieve moderation you have to start to let go of what you think you already know about getting healthy or what it will take to become fit.
Focus on discipline and self-control, not rules and restriction. Unfortunately the health and fitness industry as well as many in the anti-diet culture movement have made these four things seem synonymous, but they aren’t. The biggest difference lies in your motivation and the heart driving your behavior around food, exercise, and any other activities you engage in to create a ‘healthier’ lifestyle. Ditch the rules and the restriction. Keep practicing self- control with a dose of grace and self-compassion.
You can incorporate all kinds of movement and still reach your fitness and health goals. This is especially true once you realize you are the one deciding what your healthy body should look and feel like. Aside from certain health markers (briefly discussed above), you can choose what your healthiest self looks and feels like. Remember physical appearance is NOT an indication of someone’s health.
There is no best diet or no one size fits all nutrition plan. Most nutrition information you find places too much emphasis on weight loss and fat loss and not enough on eating to nourish your body or to simply give it what it needs to feel good. What works for one person, will not necessarily work for you. It’s hard to keep up with all the diet fads and fitness trends out there, so stop.
Instead of looking for another diet to try, focus on building good habits around food and eating (and drinking) in a way that fuels you to live the life you want to be living.
Habits over rules. By now you can see I’m not a fan of food rules or rules around what it takes to fit and healthy. Rules don’t work, and usually create an urge to rebel. Habits on the other hand can be extremely helpful (if they are habits moving you closer to your goals). Essentially you want to start small. Don’t try to change all of your habits at once. Choose one habit you want to create or one you want to change and take one small action. Then repeat that same action over and over until it becomes natural.
Become self- aware and more intentional. This one goes hand in hand with creating habits. In order for you to change your habits or create more habits, you’ve got to be aware of what needs changing and why. Grab a journal and a pen and give yourself some time and space to think about your current habits; the habits you want to create; and the goals you want to set for yourself. Ask yourself what habits need to go and what ones you need to start. Then start intentionally choosing your actions.
Moderation is not the easiest path to take, but it’s the best one. Once you learn how to live without food rules and with more intention you can truly begin to experience freedom around food. Fitness can become fun again. And you’ll realize just how truly wonderful your body is right now.
Finding a tribe that is on the same mission as you and sharing your goals is one of the best ways to create lasting change. You’ll be more motivated to show up knowing you’re working alongside other ladies on the same mission as you–to live an anti-diet lifestyle full of laughter and joy.
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