Recently, I got invited (okay, I invited myself, but I was accepted!) to a Facebook group called Women Prioritizing Fitness. I was looking for some accountability and also just to connect with a community of women fitting in their workouts around life, kids, career, etc. It’s been a great source of motivation for me – Nellie from Brooklyn Active Mama started the group and is the admin (in case you want to join up, she will happily accept you into the fold) and does a great job of keeping us all on track and being encouraging and motivating.
Recently, Nellie shared this article about a woman who stopped running and lost 50 pounds and asked for everyone’s thoughts.
And I had SO many thoughts!
A few of us discussed the article for quite some time. Nellie is working on a blog post of her own about what it brought up for her, which I can’t wait to read. In the meantime, here is how I reacted to this weight loss story and what it said to me about magazines and weight loss.
This article definitely highlights something that’s often forgotten when we’re trying to find “the” perfect way to be healthy and that is that every single person is different. Different genetics, different metabolism, different health history, different muscle fiber make up, different lung capacity – I could go on for paragraphs here. Running may not do a thing for one person and yet be the only thing that kickstarts weight loss for another. That’s why it’s so important to try different ways to move your body and find what it is you love, that works for you mentally and physically.
It’s also a source of frustration for many people struggling to lose weight who are reading health and fitness magazines to be constantly inundated with workouts promising a certain result, or suggesting that a certain type of workout is the one thing that will definitely work for you. It is never that black and white. Fitness and even eating habits and diets have just as many grey areas as anything else in life.
If anything, the kick ass awesome woman, Ami Paulson, who was interviewed for this article (and made some major life changes to get to a place where she feels healthy physically and mentally), is a perfect example of a before and after. Not a before and after in the traditional sense, but a before – believing that the latest and greatest fitness fad would work for her – and after – experimenting, taking a leap, and finding out what works best for her body.
An idea that’s so often promulgated through women’s fitness media, is that the main (if not the only) reason to work out is to lose weight, or maintain weight loss. Working out and fitness can be and should be so much more than that. It’s easy to look for the magic bullet, to see articles promoting running, for example, as a great way to lose weight, and to start running for the sole purpose of weight loss, without a thought about whether this is something you would want to maintain for the rest of your life. Because that’s the thing that often doesn’t come across in short articles about the newest fad diet, or some studio workout that’s just started popping up in every city and suburb. Health and fitness isn’t something you do for a short time to lose weight. If you need to lose weight, then yes, you’ll need to reassess eating habits and your exercise patterns.
But it’s not short term. It can’t be.
Being well, being healthy, taking care of your body is for LIFE. Your life. So please – try a new way of eating, or a new workout, why not? But if it’s not something you enjoy enough to be able to maintain for good, then question whether this might be more of a ‘quick fix’ rather than a way you can take care of yourself and be the best you can be. Likewise, if it’s something you’re loving, but it just isn’t getting you results, then you need to consider what else you can incorporate to help you be the healthiest you can be. Something I loved about Ami’s story is that she still runs occasionally now – simply because she enjoys it.
In the end, so long as you are happy and healthy, or working on being happy and healthy, whatever works for your body ROCKS!
What are your impressions after reading the article?
Have you ever tried something you read about, hoping it would work for you, and it didn’t?
How do you feel about health and fitness magazines in general?