Proud2BMe

So I had a post all set up, but then I read about NEDA’s Proud2BMe campaign, and I knew I had to post something in that vein. So please excuse my rant. Hopefully some parts will make you think, and other parts will just make you giggle.

“Are you tired of feeling like you can never measure up? According to mainstream media, we should be spending our time chasing “perfection,” snarking on others, and placing our self-worth in our looks. We’re over it!”

We’re told on a daily basis to never try to be something we’re not. Who we are makes us special. We are all unique snowflakes.
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And while I think many of us can embrace this concept for our personalities, morals and weird quirks, I’ve noticed a trend in health and fitness that likes to pretend that the idea of uniqueness doesn’t exist.

As far and the media and popular culture are concerned, there are 3 recognized body types: skinny, fat, and fit; 3 types of physical activity: cardio, weightlifting, and being sedentary; 3 types of eating: vegan, caveman, and the “standard American diet” (namely, fast and processed foods).

Yes, this sounds like a gross over-generalization, and it is, but think about it for a second. How often do you find yourself pressured to fit yourself in to one of these categories, or a sub category therein?

“What do you eat?” “What’s your secret?” “What do you do?” “Oh, you’re one of THOSE…”

The truth is, there are so many options out there when it comes to our health. I think, to a degree, that there are literally more than we know what to do with. And how to we respond?

To embrace the theme of over-generalization, lets look at it in 3 ways: try nothing, trying everything, AND FREAK OUT.

Not wanting to get left behind, the try anything people jump on the current trend and give it a shot, regardless of how logical it sounds (master-cleanse anyone?).
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The try nothings are generally comfortable with what they’re used to, and keep on keepin’; this can be both negative and positive.

The, the freak-out-ers will likely read about as  much as they can until their head explodes, trying to incorporate different pieces of different programs and diets and lifestyles, make lists and notes and pinterest boards until they finally crack, but ultimately nothing seems to work and they exhaust themselves to failure.

I’m a freak-out-er.
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But what our society, and specifically the media need to accept, is that just as there’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s, there’s no wrong way to master your health and fitness.

I finally had this idea drilled into my skull during out interview with Adam Bornstein, editor of Livestrong.com. He kept coming back to the idea that people need to figure out what works for them specifically.

Yes, I already know individual body chemistry plays a huge role in how food is processed; that’s how I got supplements to fix my imbalances and become more human. But I still had it in my head that there’s ultimately a “right” way to eat and exercise that everyone should follow, and because I wasn’t, I was failing.

Since I am not a registered dietitian  or even certified as a trainer yet, New York respectfully abstains from having a firm position on that. While there are basic principles I think everyone can benefit from (eat real food, move more, etc.), ultimately we need to look at our body chemistry AND our lifestyles to figure out what works for us.

If you like eating throughout the day, there’s a plan for that. If you prefer 3 large meals, there’s a plan for that. If you like carbs, there’s a plan for that. If you hate eating salads at every meal, there’s a plan for that. See where I’m going with this? No matter your preference, there’s an app for that.
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And the same goes for exercise. Don’t like running? Don’t run! My body actively rebelled against me during my running training and I ignored it like an idiot. Switching over to heavy lifting was the best choice I ever made; but it’s not the best choice for everyone. My boyfriend hates the gym, but he’s active by playing sports and biking. There are always options that will fit into doing what you like to do. And that’s key to long term success: find a healthy way to live your life that makes you happy.

Note that I did say “healthy.”

HFCS and uber processed foods may make you happy in the short term, they won’t make you healthy in the least, so be smart and have stuff like that in moderation.

Not everyone wants to be some super athlete health-nut, and everyone doesn’t need to be. But we owe it to ourselves to take care of the bodies we have.

So if being vegan works for you, keep doing it! If you loved the Whole30, great! But if you’re ready to throw tofu at the next person who looks at you sideways, or the thought of zucchini pasta for one more night makes you want to punch someone in the face, for god’s sake, FIND.SOMETHING.ELSE.

A friend of mine is doing lean gains and seeing amazing results. My mentee/surrogate little sister/love of my life is a vegan. My boyfriend follows a “real food” mentality of eating. I’m loving backloading. There are plenty of options out there! Don’t pick and choose a plan because you see it working for someone else.

Just because Miley got skinny going gluten free does not necessarily mean you will.
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(Kat Dennings is my idol)

Hell, you may even transform into a cranky pants monster like the world has never seen!

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Re: Huge Tool

Some people (like me), may see results cutting out gluten because of a pre-existing intolerance, but it is not the new quick road to health/weight loss/nirvana fix that everyone is looking for. Same goes for different exercise programs like p90X. Some people get hot doing it, others…

So eat a steak. Get a runner’s high. Stir fry some tempeh. Lift heavy things and put them down. Bake some cupcakes. Practice your mudras. Go for a walk. Drink a protein shake. Hit things. Make your own cheese. Dance your ass off. Hell, twiddle your thumbs! Just make sure to eat food and keep moving; find a plan that sounds like you, just maybe with a few healthier tweaks.

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You’ll be happier and healthier for it.
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5 thoughts on “Proud2BMe

  1. Love the new blog look!!! Thanks for the compliment, btw, but I have to say I may look just like that Paul Ryan pic while I’m lifting. Lol!
    I totally agree that each persons fitness journey should be highly personalized, not generalized. Everyone has a different metabolism and body type and no one thing is better for everyone. You hit the nail on the head. Great post!

  2. Martha says:

    This post is fabulous and true!! I wish more people would realize they need to find their niche to excel in any aspect of their life.
    Major props for posting pictures if Edward norton by the way. He’s on my to do list.

  3. All better!

    Okay.. while I do love this post, I do have to say that despite my complaints on my Whole30, I did not get sick of zucchini pasta 😉

    I think people need to try different things, for sure, but it takes some time to see if those things are right for you. I hate running, too, and may continue to hate it, but deep down there is some drive in me to want to want to run.. so I will keep attempting it. And one day maybe I’ll realize that I hate it and need to give it up completely, but I do not run to be fit, so maybe that’s a little different mentality than what you’re talking about.

    But yes.. people need to find what works best and do just that! Sitting whining about what doesn’t work for sure isn’t getting people fit 🙂

    • sambangs says:

      haha don’t get me wrong; I love zucchini pasta, but there are some days where I would rather eat dirt.

      and I definitely agree that it takes time to figure out what things are right for you; I was referring more to the fact that people try things out for a few days or a few weeks without seeing results and get completely discouraged from doing anything. The fact that there is a drive in you to want to run says something; not all of us have that, and since you do, I would obviously say, embrace it! Running can be awesome. Working at a running store now, it’s easy to see that there are a variety of reasons to run; being fit does not have to be the motivating factor.

      My main point was that there are different areas of life people need to look at if they want to see results: body chemistry/composition AND lifestyle factors.

      Things to make us well-rounded, happy people 🙂

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