Brand new year. Brand new goals. For some of us, it's also the beginning of a never ending cycle of trying to lose that weight we've failed to lose last year. Typically, we're good at the start of the year on staying on top of our fitness goals, until those summer barbecues and good ole Thanksgiving-Christmas meals come around to mess things up. Now we're back at square one again, maybe even square one plus a few.
When it comes to our well-being, most of us think about losing weight. It's not a surprise as the percentage of Americans overweight stood at 71.3% in 2016. (CDC) You may think, "I gotta hit that treadmill." Or better, "I need to go on that keto diet." I feel we often mistake losing weight as the only way to better our health. No doubt in many cases losing weight is necessary for a healthier life, but it shouldn't be the main focus. Losing weight should be a byproduct of your lifestyle. There are much better ways to live a healthier life without submitted yourself to ridiculous diets, and/or killing yourself on that boring a** treadmill.
Try focusing on things that bring you joy, and are good for your health and wellness. I love In-n-Out burgers, it brings me a whole lot of joy (I can eat 3 double-double no prob), but I can’t eat it daily because it’ll shoot my cholesterol level through the roof. I limit myself to having one every couple of months. I also love camping and exploring the outdoors, so I workout 5 days a week doing different movements and exercises ranging from strength, conditioning, and cardio. I do it because I want to be able to camp and explore the world for the rest of my life.
I don't want to be limited.
For approaching your gym fitness goals from a more well rounded standpoint, try implementing a variety
of different exercises that focus on strength, cardio, balance, agility, and flexibility. Here comes the most vital part, food. Food is essential to life, but there's also an emotional aspect to what and how we eat. For me it's not just as simple as, "vegetables are good for me, so I should eat them." It's about how eating more vegetables can nourish my body and allow me to do the things I want to do.
Place your focus on things that'll enrich your life, and try to remove as many limits as possible. Depending on your goals, your workout regimen to reach those goals may cause you to lose body fat, but not weight. They’re not the same. You can reduce your body fat, and simultaneously increase your weight. Losing weight should be a byproduct of working towards the betterment of your life and health, not necessarily the sole purpose. I’ve been hovering around 145-150 lbs. for more than 10 years now, my mindset isn’t to do things that'll maintain that weight. My weight is dictated by my lifestyle. Maybe for a period of my life I’ll drop to 130 lbs. Then up to 160 lbs. It all depends on what my life calls for at that period of time in my life.
For this year, instead of telling yourself that you need to lose weight, ask yourself what you want out of your life this year. Is it to be able to hike one mile without feeling fatigued? Or to strengthening your upper body because you want to pick up your dog without straining your back? Staying on top of your goals can get very very difficult. One of the smartest things you can do for your life is either get a personal trainer, a coach, a mentor, or join in on a group class to help you stay accountable toward your goals.
Stay consistent. We’re all going to have our ups and downs, and moments where we veer off track. The most important thing is to find your way back. I see our journey in life and health similar to climbing a mountain. It's one small step at a time, sometimes you may fall, but it's a short fall because of the foundation you've built with those small steps like a line anchor. Then gather yourself, and get back on track.
What’s your goal?