Fit Five Friday – 5 Things to Stop Doing Right Now*
*with regards to your health and fitness
It’s that time of week again!
Welcome to the Fit Five Friday
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5 Things To Stop Doing Right Now
It may feel like we are already well into the throes of the new year but if you think about it, 6 weeks isn’t that long at all. Especially when you are starting a health and fitness endeavour!
This isn’t my first time around the health and fitness block for sure, but many people are just starting out and that leads to a LOT of things I’ve noticed people doing that can be really detrimental to the process. Maybe you recognise some of them?
Don’t compare yourself to others
I know. This is a trap we all fall into occasionally. Especially runners! We see all our running friends going faster, getting PR’s, running all the races (maybe not lately), running crazy distances and we want that too. This is not always realistic.
When it comes to losing weight and getting fit though, I see this on a daily basis in various groups online:
“I just started my diet 5 days ago and have only lost 3 lbs. Why are others losing so much more weight than I am?”
Um. That’s because you are you and they are them?
“I’m 53 and just started working out. How old are you and how soon before you lost weight and toned up?”
Ok. So I know you are looking for an indication here, but again, you are you and they are them.
One size does not fit all here. Stop comparing with others. Sure, share your journey, but don’t expect that your results will be exactly the same as others. It won’t be and you may be unnecessarily disappointed.
Using Exercise as Punishment
Exercise isn’t a punishment. You don’t *have* to workout to burn off the food you ate or the food you are going to eat. You haven’t “wrecked everything” just because you “were bad” and ate chocolate or a piece of pie (or even the whole pie!).
Exercise is a tool not only for your body but also your mind. It’s not something to do because you had pizza the night before. Life is too short, eat the cake occasionally!
Labeling Food as “Bad” or “off limits”
So, I have a thing with peanut butter. I love it and could eat it every day. And I swear, every single time I say “no more peanut butter” I’m literally dreaming about it the very next day.
Food isn’t “bad”, it’s not “clean” or “dirty”, you aren’t “cheating” and unless you have a chemical dependency that creates and wreaks havoc in your life or you have a true medical intolerance to something, food is also not “off limits”.
Removing these labels from food will definitely help you when you feel like you’ve had an off day or you have a celebration that involves food. Also see point two *wink* Just have the ice cream and enjoy it for Pete’s sake.
Assuming Weight Loss = Healthy
This time of year we are absolutely bombarded with advertisements that promise the gift of health if you just pay $3,872 for their program/ device / app / service to lose weight. I can tell you, most of these promises fail as well.
You can take all of the “fat burner” vitamins, drink all the shakes, try all the devices to get healthy and lose weight but you don’t NEED all that junk. Really.
I have gone through many fitness tests and even had a bodyscan (more than a year ago now) and I am as fit as an Ox. Losing weight doesn’t mean that you will be healthy. But you can be overweight and still be healthy.
I hope to see, still in my lifetime, society removing the number on the scale, body shape and size from the “health” equation. Also all the negativity surrounding (over)weight should be removed. It’s sad and unbelievable how many women are so incredibly hateful and abusive towards themselves because they “need to lose weight”. Let’s focus on health first and foremost and not weight. (Obviously weight *can* be a factor in a person’s health situation, but it’s not the ONLY factor)
I also hope one day to let go of this stupid notion myself, but I am human too and this has been all I’ve known my entire life.
All or Nothing
Another way to avoid unnecessary disappointment is to let go of the “all or nothing” attitude. All too often we decide we are going to do something and when it doesn’t work out immediately we stop.
When it comes to fitness, my own personal experience is that no matter what fitness is important and a part of my life. It’s a thing, like showering, cleaning your teeth and getting dressed.
Once you decide that being active is important enough to you to make it a habit, you don’t have to stop and start all the time. This isn’t all or nothing. This is just what you do.
While I don’t personally have much issue getting up and moving every day, I do have things I want to work on, things that I want to tell myself “this is what I do” that I haven’t achieved yet. However, I’m not giving up on that. It’s a work in progress. And I’ve been at this for a long time. There’s not actually a finish line here!
Tell me what you think!
Can you relate to any of these? “Guilty” of this way of thinking and found ways to let go? What other advise would you give someone just starting out on their health and fitness journey to NOT do?
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The all or nothing approach is so common! I remember before I started to truly enjoy exercising and when I was “dieting”in college I would go overboard for a week or two and then totally give up all-together. A balanced approach is so much better. Along with finding a lifestyle that makes you happy.
I DO think it’s tricky to find the balance though!
I agree with all your points, although I would argue you can’t be overweight and healthy. You may be at the higher end of a range, you can be overweight and very fit — but in the end, it means you’re carrying around more weight and that makes your heart work harder.
Of course I’m not saying everyone has to be stick thin, not by a long shot, because I never will be! I am just genetically engineered to be zaftig (curvy), and that something I’ve had to come to terms with. I was just born in the wrong century. :)
I agree in the sense that yes your heart has to work harder. BUT… if everything else is healthy like cholesterol, blood pressure, etc, then I think it’s ok to accept a few extra pounds or curves than what society or BMI dictates. Maybe we need to change those standard levels?
I was also born in the wrong century haha!
These all are spot-on. As much as we love social media, and there are many awesome aspects of it, the comparison trap is paramount there (I’m guilty of it as well).
A little bit of positive envy is ok, it’s just when you start getting upset, disappointed, angry with yourself because your journey isn’t going the same way as others’ journeys… that’s when it gets detrimental.
When I started counted macros last year, there were immediately some foods that I deemed as off limits. Once I got the hang of it, I was able to introduce some of those back into my life. PNB is still a hard one bc you get so little in a serving size.
I do think that if you have food in your life that is tough to control for your own well-being, then you can take steps to handle that. Like I do love potato chips. I can eat an entire bag no issue. My husband eats a handful and then puts the bag away. WHAT? Who does that??? LOL. So basically I don’t buy chips. Don’t have them, won’t eat them, don’t miss them. But occasionally we do buy them and then no harm, no foul. (I do think I need a peanut butter lovers support group though…)
These are great reminders that support a healthy mindset as well as a healthy body — and we are a complete package! I hate the whole “clean” food trend — the label, not the actual food. I hesitate to buy any foods advertised that way because I don’t want to support the good/bad line drawing.
I so agree with the “clean” label trend! UGH!! Food is not clean or dirty!! I honestly believe in eating 80% whole foods, non-packaged and 20% fun foods. Lord knows what is in that chocolate muffin but I don’t care – 1 a week isn’t going to throw me off the deep end!
All good points! I think the whole comparison game is especially tricky – that was a hard thing for me when I first started running but I learned to let it go. As the saying goes “Comparison is the thief of joy”
I’m glad the running comparison game is **almost** over for me. I think at this point I’m comparing myself to me a few years ago… ultimately if I am right here, right now, then I can just be happy that I am still running. My race, my pace!!
It’s all so individual. And social media/Hollywood often sets standards that are completely unrealistic. It’s challenging to keep ones eyes on their own paper, but that’s exactly what we need to do.
Indeed. And remember that culture also dictates beauty! Here in The Netherlands there is not a huge percentage of overweight or obese people, but that percentage is literally growing since we have way more conveniences than we had 25 years ago. Dutch culture also puts a lot of emphasis on body size and shape.
I relate to and agree with all of these! I am so guilty of comparing myself to others and I’m really working on stopping that behavior. It’s crazy how often we fall into that trap.
I do think we all fall into the trap at some point. My post is also a reminder to myself! it’s so easy to go down these roads.
YES YES YES!!! I am screaming all of this. You have absolutely hit it all right on the nose!
In some ways I want to remove myself from online environments like this, but other times I think if I just reach one person, then I’ve done the right thing.
One of my favorite quote is “Comparison is the thief of joy” and it’s so true. You can’t be happy if you’re always trying to keep up with everyone else. These are all great tips and sadly, many people hear the opposite when they follow so-called fitness accounts on social media. It drives me crazy!
The messaging that we get constantly is so damaging. I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve read online in the last couple of weeks where people are in a sort of desperation mode because they aren’t doing x the same as everyone else!
So many great points! As many times as I don’t want to, I often compare myself to others. I know it isn’t healthy. It does not bring me joy. While I tend to eat what I want, I do try to balance it with healthier options. Do I eat tamales? Sure. Every single day? No. A few years ago I had a physical and bloodwork done. My doctor told me I was pre-diabetic. That was a wake up call and knew I had to make some changes. I am not sure what I did besides eat more oatmeal but so far no more pre-diabetic.
Indeed comparing to others actually brings no one joy! (and dang it you had to mention tamales!!). I do think if you have a medical condition or are on your way then it’s obviously a good idea to care about nutrition and possibly your weight. Glad you are not pre-diabetic anymore!
I can relate to all of this post. Sad part is looks do matter. We may not be able to change everything about our looks but we do have some control on how much we weigh. Exercise and a good diet helps both mind and body.
It’s too bad that looks matter and that those looks mean that we have to fit a certain mould which includes not being overweight. Sometimes we have control over it. Sometimes we don’t. I can eat well and exercise all I want (and have done for the last 11 + years) but I am still overweight. Weight shouldn’t be a part of the equation. Just my opinion course! Thanks for commenting!