Hi everyone. Today I am going to talk about a topic that I feel passionate about.
FITNESS AND NUTRITION ARE UNIQUE TO THE INDIVIDUAL…THERE IS NO ONE PERFECT WAY!
I recently received the following email from a reader that both saddened me and motivated me to make this a public discussion.
I am almost 18 and have been interested in health and fitness for a few years now. About seven months ago I started doing some serious research about raw vegan diets, paleo, plants based, etc. I started to become overwhelmed about all of the information out there. Different things that I may have thought were healthy such as dairy products and then reading articles where people say they are not. I have even been reading articles that are saying the sugar in fruit is bad for you and I am just so confused at this point.
I am becoming so overwhelmed about eating organic, high-quality food, concerned about all of the pesticides, whether or not gluten could be ruining my body and brain, etc. I have a need to read all of the ingredients if I eat some bean out a can or a nut butter. I am fearful that if I eat something bad I am going to have horrible skin. I know I am getting obsessed but have really been going hardcore on just eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. I keep on telling myself that I can only eat this way because I am supposed to be healthy. The problem is, I have never felt so unhealthy in my life. I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin, I feel bloated and sick all of the time, and as ironic as this sounds I have gained weight.
I want so badly to have a healthy balanced lifestyle but I know that I am not. I feel like I can never and should never have anything unhealthy like a cookie, cake, ice cream, etc. I become anxious about functions and going out with people because I might be faced with an unhealthy food situation. I have tried so many times to get “fit” by trying many different exercises (weights, HIIT, running, yoga, pilates) but I never seem to reach my goal. I have tried every way of eating that different people claim changed their life and I never feel any better. Sometimes I am left feeling worse. I thought I wanted to have a career in health and fitness like becoming a certified nutritionist but now I am just so unsure about everything. I am at my wits end. I want to enjoy life and I know I am not. I just want to feel confident.
I asked permission to share her email because I think this is something that many women of all ages struggle with. There is an overwhelming amount of information out there about what’s healthy, much of it conflicting. It can become a vicious cycle to consume the information and feel like all of it applies to you…BUT IT DOESN’T!
What works for one does not apply to all.
The #1 mantra I adhere to when it comes to myself, my clients, my readers…anyone…is that “what works for one does not work for all.” I never prescribe a certain diet or exercise regimen to anyone I work with and I ask my students and clients (and myself) constantly, “how are you feeling?” I never expect anyone to copycat what works for me. It might not work for you.
- Some people don’t tolerate gluten, some people have no problem.
- Some people love to run, some people hate it.
- Some people choose not to eat meat, some don’t feel good on a vegetarian diet.
- Some people break out when they eat dairy, some people have no side effects.
- Some people thrive with high intensity workouts, some do better in more of a steady state.
Fitness and nutrition is an individual journey.
You are the ONLY ONE who knows what is right for you and your body. You’re the ONLY ONE who lives in your body and know what it feels like. You must learn to listen to it. This applies to both your nutrition and fitness (and your life as a whole but we’ll talk about that in another post).
If something makes you miserable, don’t do it. It sounds simple…and it is…but it’s so hard to put into practice. There is not one right way but we get sucked into believing that can be true. I can’t tell you how many friends and clients I know who ate a certain way and then decided to try something else and felt like a different person. Or who exclusively ran for years because it seemed like the right thing to do but experienced massive changes/gains when they finally tried different forms of exercise like yoga or strength training (raising my own hand here).
Learn to listen.
Your body gives you signs all the time. You just have to learn to listen. You will drive yourself insane and get stuck in a cycle of feeling physically and emotionally terrible if you focus on taking personally every single piece of fitness and nutrition information out there.
Signs what you’re doing is NOT working…
– You feel bloated and gassy.
– Your digestion is not regular.
– Your energy levels are all over the place.
– You’re lacking motivation.
– You’re not seeing results or you fight all the time with the same 10 pounds.
– You’re constantly injured.
– Your thoughts are consumed by fitness and nutrition.
Signs what you’re doing IS working…
– Your digestions is regular.
– You feel energetic.
– You’re excited about your fitness routine.
– You eat intuitively and don’t have to overthink your nutrition.
– You can maintain a steady weight without a struggle.
– You’re able to enjoy special occasions and dinners out.
YOU DO YOU: Make it your mission!
Learning to be intuitive and mindful requires commitment and a willingness to try a new way. The first step is to accept that what you’re currently doing is not working and be open to change. This can be really freaking hard! When you get really patterned in a certain way of eating or working out, it can be terrifying to completely change that. I get it. But remember that change creates change.
The second step is to try a new way. If you need the help of a professional, work with a doctor, nutrition specialist or personal trainer. Whatever you do, embrace your uniqueness and honor what is right for you. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Food is meant to be enjoyed. Our bodies are meant to feel good. Stop fighting with your body and turn your focus on nurturing it and getting to know it better instead. Do not let blogs, the Internet, your mom or the latest article in a women’s magazine tell you what is right for you. Get so in touch with yourself that YOU DO YOU and that’s that!
I would love to hear your take on this and keep this discussion going. Please share your experiences as well as your questions, if you have them. I think we can all learn and grow from each other, and hold each other up in support. I would love for this to be an ongoing posting topic…and even to share your stories of how you’ve learned to “do you.”