Monday, September 9, 2013

Being Healthy is Too Hard

Given my "diet" of mostly real foods, my bagged lunches I bring to work can evoke a little bit of curiousity. I'm the weird one eating a "meat bagel sandwich" while everyone else is eating pizza for a group work lunch. Since I also eat every meal with a large portion of vegetables, my boss is convinced that I am a "goat", which I politely correct him that actually I am more like an "omnivore goat," becaaaause, bacon. He also is convinced that I will "live forever" but argues that life is too short to eat healthy and exercise... So have a freaking slice of pizza and get fat already.

Triple meat bagel sandwich in all its wonderful glory

This is a very common phenomena. Being healthy, fit, exercising regularly, and eating well is HARD. If it was easy, everyone would do it right? And obviously, we sure don't have an epidemic of lean people right now...

I was reading an article that Molly Galbraith posted a few weeks ago that being lean is hard, but being fat is ALSO hard. Being uncomfortable in your clothes is hard, feeling ashamed in your skin is hard, feeling judged in public is hard. Climbing a flight of stairs is hard, carrying heavy groceries is hard, picking up your child is hard, having enough energy to get through a day is hard, constantly having sugar cravings or hunger is hard, sleeping poorly is hard, having a sex drive is hard, fitting in is hard, intimate relationships are hard, health complications are hard.

Being fit can also be hard, and I believe the biggest challenge in that case is making health a priority. But is making health a priority harder than being unhealthy? And is making health a priority even that challenging?

Everything is hard in the beginning. Your first day of school, the first day at a new job, having a baby, moving to a new place, driving a car. Changing your habits are even more hard. Cutting out grains for some people seems like the end of the world in the beginning. No bread???? No rice??? No oatmeal???? A month or so later, they've forgotten how much they NEEDED their oatmeal in the morning, and now these foods are just an occasional (and actually much more enjoyable) treat. Even completely cutting yourself off from something unhealthy isn't always that horrible. For example, fast-food just isn't even an option for me. It's like it doesn't even exist, and it hasn't existed in many years, since those times I used to scarf down large onion rings at Burger King with a Slurpee or five fully-loaded tacos at Taco Bell. Eventually, these things just become habit. And anything that is habit is easier.

Because who doesn't like soy, wheat, and autolyzed yeast powder in their taco beef?

Is making health a priority that challenging, even when it becomes habit? For starters, I think we need to change our perspective on "being fit". Yes, it's difficult at first. Yes, you will be uncomfortable. But that's like anything worthwhile. The issue is that we have this fascination lately with being "super ripped," spending an hour and a half at the gym for 6 days out of the week (and the last day is an "active recovery day" of spin class,) and CONSTANTLY undereating (did you know you need diet "breaks?") Folks, this is not necessary! In most cases, you don't need to count calories, run 3-5 miles everyday, or avoid every social eating situation. Is that your lifestyle? Dieting? Running? Guilt about eating certain foods? Or perhaps you haven't even started making an effort because you honestly never want to live this lifestyle, and of course, this is what "health" looks like, right? Never having a slice of pizza? Working out all the time?

Being healthy and fit should increase your quality of life, not decrease it.

I think this needs to be repeated for those that are already in shape as well, since it's all too easy to become consumed with "better, faster, stronger, leaner" until you begin to have some very unhealthy symptoms (irregular periods, poor sleep or recovery, cravings, etc.) For people just embarking on this journey, or perhaps those that have been in the game for awhile but are getting burnt out on a rigid lifestyle, re-direct your attention as to why you're putting all this effort in to begin with. Making health a priority does not have to be time-consuming, stressful, isolating, or restricive. If you think this is true, next time I'll share some advice on how to make living a healthy, fit lifestyle sustainable, simple, and even enjoyable!

Strongest midget girl ever