The fitness world is where I have spent much of my career, but I left it about 2 years ago because of the stigma and judgment that I felt was placed on me as a fitness center manager and personal trainer and the constant battle against the lies from the industry. The pressure to look a certain way caused me to have an unhealthy view of my body – I was working out 6 days a week, seeing the scale increase and my body was constantly hurting. My clients and I would fall victim to the lies that a pill or “lose weight without diet or exercise” was a possible fix to the number on the scale. As a personal trainer that was/is frustrating. No pill, no quick fix is possible to lose weight or be healthy, not long-term anyway! These ploys aren’t going to help us lose weight, they are only going to help us lose money, lose self-worth and lose confidence.
No pill, no quick fix is possible to lose weight or be healthy
I am familiar with the battle of what it’s like to lose weight and I understand the struggles of keeping it off. I’ve lost and kept off more than 60 lbs and my current health is better than ever before, but it is because I didn’t fall for the following examples of industry lies. I turned to the hard work and self-discovery that makes a healthy body image successful instead. Without further ado, here are some of the lies the industry is feeding us today:
- Everyone who does ______ loses weight: One size fits all is not a thing! We are all very different, have muscle differences, dietary differences, genetic differences…. You need to take care of your body, move and put good things into it. If you don’t know what works for you, it’s time to start learning about yourself.
- Pills are the quickest and easiest way to get to your goal weight: Pills?!?! – doesn’t it suck that we fall for that?! Doctors, dieticians, and other experts agree that there is no magic way to lose weight without ‘diet’ or exercise. If any pill claims to block fat, help you eat less, feel full…Doesn’t that make you wonder what ingredients are in there to do that? Can’t that cause unknown damage to our bodies? Putting clean foods into your body and movement – it’s required! Step away from the dietary pill isle in the store and never look back!
- Lift heavy Weights and lose weight: This might be the perfect fit for you, but it might not be. As a trainer, I’ve seen it be perfect for some of my clients and have seen it do the opposite effect on others, including myself. Knowing your body is the only way to know what makes you feel its best. There is no “one size fits all”
- Don’t lift Heavy it will make you bulk: Women fall for this one and men hope for it. Genetics play a big part – if your family is naturally thin with low muscle – odds of you “bulking” isn’t likely, no matter how much you try. Ladies, sometimes lifting heavy is perfect, sometimes it’s not. I naturally have a high muscle tone – lifting heavy, for me – does make me ‘bulk’. But you can’t know that about you until you try it and see how your body responds. (be careful and start small!)
- Running is the only way to lose weight: Again, no one size fits all. It’s up to you to discover how you feel about running. Trust your body, be in tune to what it needs. I like to run, but I can only handle it 1 or 2 times a week. If I run too often my body has a ‘stress response’ and I hold onto weight.
- Don’t diet or exercise and still lose weight: WHAT?! This is what the industry is telling us – does anything good happen without hard work? It’s easy to wish and hope that this is true – but if you have weight to lose – it is going to take work – a lot of work – there is no quick fix!
- You need supplements to lose weight: Your body is a machine, a well designed and powerful machine. What we put into it can make or break the design. If you put water into the gas tank of your car – it’s not likely you’ll get very far. Your car requires Gas, and the right foods are what your body requires – supplements can be helpful, but not all are trustworthy. If you want to find supplements talk to a holistic doctor, do some research and talk to your regular doctor – not even the stores designed to provide vitamins and supplements will necessarily have the best things for you – and remembers till (what works for one person, may not work for you and this does not mean diet pills – those are never right!)
- Low fat will help you lose fat: Did you know that without fat in our diet our body thinks it’s starving and will actually hold onto weight and store fat in our bodies? Did you also know that fat is essential for brain function? Low-fat diets can cause you to eat more, take in more carbs and increase inflammation in your body, you could develop vitamin deficiencies, feel drowsy, have hormonal imbalance, weight gain… Please don’t go out and eat lard, but healthy fats will keep you fuller longer and give you a lot of health benefits.
- A calorie is a Calorie: Not all calories are created equal! Burn more calories than you eat may have been the advice from the past, but now, the focus needs to be more on eating whole foods and fewer carbohydrates (crackers, cookies, white bread (most wheat bread)) If a calorie was a calorie than it would suggest that a sugary beverage is healthier than a handful of nuts. Counting calories alone doesn’t work because it matters more where the calories come from. When you count your calories, look at your Maco nutrients (fats, Carbs, protein, fiber, sugar) more than your calorie intake and don’t be afraid of fat – just make sure it’s healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts…
- Everyone can be the world’s view of the perfect weight/look: I’ll say it again and I point it out to my daughters all the time – we are all made and shaped differently! Even two thin girls standing side by side have a lot of differences – Your ideal weight is the weight your body feels good at – not the weight that the world says you should weigh! You won’t look like someone else – or have their body – EVER. You aren’t that person. We need to stop looking at magazines – the women in there are computerized and not real – we need to stop comparing ourselves to other women- we aren’t them. Accept yourself, do the right things to fuel your body and do your mind a favor – stop comparing yourself to anyone else!
Your only competition is the you, you were yesterday.
When I left the fitness industry it took me a while to figure out what my body was most happy with. Going from 6 days a week, lifting heavy weights and doing high-intensity workouts, to something different wasn’t easy. I had an insecurity of going against what I was taught – but did it anyway, because my body was telling me I needed a drastic change. My new health journey has me exploring my foods – How certain foods make me feel (energized, sluggish, bloated….) and what makes my body feel strong – weights, running….How many days a week?
Sustainable health takes work, self-discovery, discipline, and most importantly the confidence and courage to love ourselves exactly how we are. We are not all made to look the same, just go to the mall or somewhere with a lot of people – we are all so, very very different! Some of us are made with more muscle, thinner legs, more curves….This world tries to put the pressure on us to be thin, fit into a mold and that only super thin is beautiful – YOU are beautiful – the world doesn’t define that.
Some Pointers of where to start
Now, if you do have weight to lose (seriously, not made up weight to fit the mold of society) start to do the work:
- Keep a food journal
- Write down what you eat and how you feel after you eat it. (journal or on your phone)
- My Fitness Pal or other tracking devices that shows your carbs, fats, proteins…
- Figure out where your ideal fitness goal should
- Be sure it’s something you can remain committed to – life is busy and your fitness needs to be something that works with your life and doesn’t stress you out! Does morning, evening, lunch work best for you to get your fitness in?
- Find meals that make you feel satisfied, plan and prep your meals (see my meal prep blog post for tips on how I make it work for my family)
This is what I’ve learned about me in a year: I do well with higher fat and protein and a lower net carb meal plan. I limit my fruits and keep them in the morning and eat a lot of lean meats, eggs, bacon, sausage…. I’ve also learned that I can’t have dairy or I get sick and I need to limit my intake of nuts. I do not diet, I live a lifestyle and set boundaries for the things I’ve learned about myself. My fitness/exercise has changed a lot as well, during the week I do 3 walks during the day (morning, lunch and afternoon – totaling45 -60 minutes) I do a 15-minute TRX working (in my basement) 3 days a week for strength and one 3 miles Run on Saturday mornings. This is all my body needs to feel strong and healthy. (I also allow myself to be pretty lazy on Sundays – nice recovery day)
So, I am challenging you, no, I’m begging you, to be boldly confident in who you are, to not strive to fit into this worldly view. Love yourself, your body and to do the things that fuel a healthy mind, body, and soul with power, hope and, confidence. If you want some support or help getting started, please reach out – I’d love to help, but please know – it will require work and dicipline to discover yourself and your body’s needs. You are unique, beautiful and amazing. Treat yourself that way.
I am challenging you to treat yourself better – to love yourself and be boldly confident