I used to shy away from the idea of health & fitness. Of course I wanted to be in shape and become a healthier version of me. However, to me and so many others, health was equal to being thin. I could go on and on about how problematic that is, but instead want to share how I want to debunk those myths and change the health conversation. I want to share my ongoing health & fitness journey, my setbacks, and overall what it means to me to be healthy. If you’re reading this and have already rolled your eyes a few times, I can understand where you’re coming from. The way we define health is incredibly messed up in so many ways, beginning with the physical form.
I don’t know when everyone in this world received a medical degree, but you cannot look at someone’s body and decide whether they’re living a healthy life. And even if it is apparent, it’s none of your business. The way we use our bodies as an indicator of health continues to separate us and perpetuate stereotypes about different body types.
Health is so much more than the physical form. My favorite definition of health is “the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit.” When I think about what being healthy means, I think of not only the physical, but the mental and emotional attributes as well. In the beginning of 2015, I didn’t make any New Years Resolutions. I’d set such high expectations for myself in the past and without realizing it, I was setting myself up for failure.
It was in the summer of 2012 that I started researching how to lose weight. I was a poor 20 year old college student. Joining the gym wasn’t an option for me and my knowledge about nutrition was limited. It would take me years before I truly understood the effects of what I put into my body. But in those humble beginnings, I would go on a run, feel very proud of myself, and then binge eat. I’d tell myself that I deserved whatever food I would eat! Whenever I’d fall off exercising, I’d chastise myself and then start back again.
This continued for years, but throughout that time, I was gathering information about not only nutrition and exercise, but mental health and its importance. If you’ve been reading my blogs, you know about my history with anxiety. I didn’t understand that what was going on in my head had an effect on my body. I wasn’t taking care of myself in a balanced manner, which didn’t give me the results I was looking for. I didn’t have a support system because I was ashamed of wanting to get in shape. As mentioned before, there is this detrimental stigma against body type and physical fitness. If you’re heavier, you either get treated like a gremlin–with disgust. Or, you get treated like a child–“GOOD FOR YOU!!!!1!” Those who are thin also get judged unfairly as well. People question their intentions at the gym because they are seemingly already in good health, therefore they shouldn’t be there apparently? As if once you’re thin, you’re set for life. Fortunately, there are kick ass people out there just breaking down all sorts of norms, and it’s awesome.
So, where does that leave me? In 2015, I made some awesome changes. Smarter changes, if you will. First, I started defining health in my own way, and incorporated mental and emotional health. In addition to making exercise a part of my daily routine, I made sure to journal. I took my medicine. I went on nature walks. I left my room. I talked about things. All of which I did before, but it was never in harmony with my physical health.
Secondly, I gathered a support system. My family was never against my journey to being healthier, but they needed the support and knowledge themselves. We got together and wrote a contract on how we would change. It was a friendly competition and while we aren’t as strict as we were in the beginning, we still adhere to what we agreed to.
Thirdly, I stopped beating myself up for setbacks. A journey isn’t a straight line. There’s ups, downs, criss crosses, going forward and backward. It’s all over the place, and that was something I wasn’t aware of before. If I didn’t reach an immediate goal, I couldn’t view it as simply as that. I’m famous for my catastrophic thinking, which has sent me to some dark places. I still struggle with that place, but I try my best to put a cap on feeling like shit. Allowing those crap moments are essential for my sanity, but once I let them drag on, it’s a wrap.
I’m intentionally being vague with the details of what I eat and do to exercise. While I love and respect the health & fitness industry, I refuse to be told what I’m doing is incorrect. That’s not what I’m posting this for. We all have a way we go about our nutrition and workouts, but I’m a firm believer of finding what’s best for you. And only you. I don’t have the perfect diet and I’m not running three miles a day. I wanted to share and discuss the concept of what health is rather than the intimate details of my daily routine. However, if that is something my readers would like to read, let me know!
If you’re struggling with your own journey, sometimes you have to let yourself struggle. If you’re out of balance, try to backtrack and piece together where you fell apart. And finally, it’s so much more than we look! Feed yourself to feel good. Go on that walk to clear your mind. But most importantly, love yourself for you. This has been an insanely cheesy blog by yours truly.
Hope you enjoyed and feel free to comment with what you do to stay healthy!!!
**P.S. I’m working on image sources right away! I love all these cute drawings and want to give credit to the artist 🙂