Review Category : Food For Thought

It Never Stops: On Fitness As a Lifestyle

***Disclaimer: I understand that there are many interpretations and definitions of fitness.  In this article, I am using the term “fitness” to refer specifically to the behaviors and practices associated with aesthetics (muscle mass, low bodyfat).

You’re thrilled. You’re excited – ecstatic, even. After months of grueling work, you finally fit into your skinny jeans. You can look down and actually see your toes. You ran your first half marathon! You’ve been diligent about getting plenty of rest, keeping junk food to a minimum, and working out several times a week. You feel light on your feet and your coworkers can’t stop commenting on how great you look nowadays. You’re beaming with pride and you’re practically walking on clouds now that you’ve reached your goal.

So you go out and celebrate with a martini. Then two. You order a giant platter of cheesy nachos as an appetizer, followed by a plate of taquitos. After that, you make a beeline for the nearest frozen yogurt shop and go to town on the sugary toppings. You fall into a drunken stupor and pass out on your bed with sauce stains dribbling down your shirt.

Ahh, so what? you say. That’s one night of celebration. No harm, no foul. Except… you wake up the next morning and you find yourself reaching for the pastries before your mind can figure out what you’re doing. Bummer. The day is shot; might as well go all out the rest of the day, right?

Soon enough, your gym membership is gathering dust and your jeans become progressively tighter (again!) by the day. You’re upset, but you’re also in denial. You’ve worked way too hard to get in shape – how could anything possibly move you away from that sweet spot?

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Average Genetics: You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are

I wasn’t born with the world’s greatest genetics. If I sit around for long enough, I get soft. If I indulge too many days in a row, it shows in my waistline. I gain a disproportionate amount of fat in my face. I have to work – I mean work – to build my booty. My dietary adherence has to be spot on to see any kind of progress. I always, always have to pay attention to what I put into my mouth.

And I consider myself damn lucky for it.

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Flexible Dieting 101

When I first got involved in fitness four years ago, I learned all about “clean eating,” weighing out every morsel of your food, the “importance” of meal-timing (yes, there’s a reason why that’s in quotations), and the dozens of supplements you absolutely had to take in order to be fit. I fell for all of it, and it took a toll on me without my even realizing it. I became almost instantly obsessed with being PERFECTLY FIT and emulating my newfound role models and turned a blind eye to how that was affecting my life. Before I knew it, I was dodging social opportunities out of fear that I would be presented with a platter of food that didn’t fit my meal plan. I became anxious whenever I had to eat out; God forbid my chicken be cooked with butter! I started spending my evenings alone at home as I told myself that I’d rather be reading about fitness than working on my relationships with my friends. I’d alienated myself from everyone – and although I was aware of this on a subconscious level, I kept telling myself that I was just fine.

But it sucked. It really, really sucked.

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Bad Habits: Multitasking

“I’m scheduling an appointment with a psychologist,” I declared two days ago. I was convinced I had ADHD. Really, I did. I’d become increasingly aware of my inability to focus on a single task without inevitably drifting off to other thoughts. Okay, what else do I need to do after this? I’d better write that down. I wonder which one I should do first. How long will that take? In the midst of completing one task, I was already thinking about the next thing I had to do. It was getting to the point where it was starting to disrupt my life.

How many of you have multiple browsers open when you’re trying to complete an assignment on your laptop? You check your phone every three minutes, you’re listening to music, chatting with some buddies, perhaps participating in some online forums, Facebook stalking, and your Word document is open on your desktop… somewhere. How much complete attention can you really devote to all of those things?

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Surround Yourself with Awesome

…awesome what? Just. Just Awesome. Surround yourself with Awesome.

This was something that had never really crossed my mind until a couple of months ago. When you stop to think about it for a minute, it seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? If you want to achieve at a high level, surround yourself only with awesome people and awesome things. Then, and only then, will you start to flourish and begin to realize your full potential.

And yet.

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