In this day and age, we have a ton of information at our finger tips, thanks to Google and YouTube. So knowing how to get and stay healthy shouldn’t be difficult, right?
However, the statistics tell a different story.
According to Marketdata Enterprises Americans spend upwards of 60 billion per year trying to lose weight while the National Institutes of Health puts America’s obesity rate at 68.8 %. The numbers just don’t add up. We should be a nation of healthy people.
Throwing money at the problem is not working, information overload is not working either, and I’m right on the front lines. I’m a Personal Trainer /Writer with over seven years’ experience in the trenches and 25 years under the barbell.
Before I knew better, my mentality consisted of better is more, no pain, no gain and move more and eat less. Remember what Dr. Phil said to his guests when they were in a spot of bother:
“How’s that working for you?”
Not good, Dr. Phil. That’s why I’ve been changing my ways. I’m walking a mile in my client’s shoes, keeping my finger on the pulse and doing my best to tune out all the BS. However, the evil forces are strong, and it’s a constant battle between good and evil.
Scroll through your social media feed, turn on the TV or pick up a magazine. You’ll find pictures of photo shopped models telling you how they got ripped in six weeks, or see the Biggest Loser tearing down contestants and turning weight loss into a twisted competition, or hear some expert hawking the latest and greatest weight loss solution. Dr. Oz, anybody?
Let’s not forget what’s good or bad for you changes on a daily basis, thanks to the mainstream media and research twisted to scare you. Let me throw the Food Babe under the bus, too. Scare tactics and shortcuts are coming at us thick and fast.
However, businesses like the PTDC and Precision Nutrition are fighting the good fight in ensuring that coaches who come in to fitness industry are properly trained and immune to BS. Then this will flow on to you, the consumer, so whenever you pick up a magazine or turn on the tube you’ll be receiving good, not evil messages.
When push really comes to shove, you don’t need Google, YouTube, Dr. Oz or the Food Babes of this world. You don’t even need to open your wallet. You need to change your perspective.
I used to the typical gym meathead, more worried about the size of my biceps and whether or not the gym bunnies were checking me out. After training clients with real physical problems and going through some of my own setbacks, my tune started to change. It’s a case of “you don’t know what you got until it’s gone.”
When movement was taken away, I wanted it back. I realized movement is a gift. Take a good look around next time you’re out and about or at the gym. Pay attention to the people who are handicapped. I bet they would love to be able to squat, lunge, walk and jump around like the rest of us. Never take movement for granted as it could be taken away at any moment.
Not only is movement a gift, it’s fun and never a punishment. Remember what it was like to be a kid as you ran outside, played with your friends or reenacted your sporting heroes in the backyard? Close your eyes and imagine that for a moment. Good times.
Your advancing years then brought heavier responsibility, more zeros on your pay check and added inches around the waist. Then maybe you joined a gym to punish yourself with mindless cardio and sit ups because you thought (or were told) that’s what it took to lose weight.
If that sounds like you, please stop it now. You’re going about it all wrong. Start moving in ways that please you, like when you were a child. Move in ways that make you happy, not miserable. Stop slogging away on the dreadmill or wrenching your neck doing endless crunches.
Instead, jump rope, join a rec league, play with your kids or take your dogs for a walk. You’re really only limited by your imagination.
Michelle Segar, Ph.D. and author of No Sweat gets into this concept of moving in ways that please you, avoiding the old way of viewing exercise as a punishment, and how this can brings you a lifetime of fitness. It has worked for her clients over and over again and it’s no fluke.
If you combine enjoyable movement with better dietary choices (less food out of a box and more meals with one ingredient food) the Biggest Loser, Dr. Oz, Food Babe, and any other self-proclaimed expert of the health and fitness world become obsolete.
Our health is a complex problem with multiple layers that far exceed the scope of this article. I’ll leave that to the scientists and experts to debate. However, some of the solutions are simple and right in front of you. All you need to do is open your eyes (not your wallet) and change your perspective.
- First published on medium.com