Social media makes a healthy lifestyle seem so complicated. I mean, look at Instagram and all the weird exercises people post for variation. Why on earth would I complicate a standard glute thrust by putting a bench in the smith machine and lay on top of it? – Or the SoMe business platforms that promise you that it’s simple, but at the same time makes sure you understand that you must have (expensive) help to achieve your goals – what ever your goals may be. And don’t get me started on the “you are beautiful the way you are (but you must want to be the best version of yourself because that is the one closes to our ideal and you’ll have to pay for it). Sigh. I’m gonna share a secret with you, for free, because it’s much needed.
First off I want to give you a little background, that is: my background. Because I did all these things for years: expensive coaches, excessive dieting, overtraining. I was frustrated, obsessed and full of it. I was unhealthy. Obsessiveness is never healthy. I spent about three or four years obsessing over my fat percentage, my food, my gym schedule and being pissed of at anything that came in my way of my fitness journey. I trained every single day. Hard. Let me tell you, that’s not a life worth living, unless you breath competition. With that said I’m not saying working out every day is bad, on the contrary- but the way I did and with my mindset it was not beneficial. To little fuel, to much hard work and a negative mindset made me physically sick continuously (I always had the flu, not that I let that stop me). Sometimes I think pictures can say more than words, so let’s take a look:
Don’t be fooled by the smiles. This is 6 days a week of overtraining, muscle problems, little growth, under-eating, bringing meals because I couldn’t eat what other people ate, frustration caused by thoughts like “I’m to fat.”, “I need to lose more fat.” Etc. How sick is that? Looking back now I understand my reasons for doing this, which is an whole other story, but when push comes to shove: this is the reality for many people. We obsess over stupid shit like this with the idea that when we reach ” perfect” – which does not exist btw because there will always be something to fix – then we can start living our lives. If I could I would have slapped the f*ck out of myself at the time. The saddest thing is that there is so much money in this for different businesses. People seriously live their best life of your bad self esteem, and that my friend, makes me even sadder.
My body had breakdown and I took a year of everything called gym and diet. I gained weight. Peculiar enough I didn’t mind and I didn’t obsess about it. I was actually happier, believe it or not. Thinking about it, it’s not so hard to believe – my body actually got food which kinda makes you happy. I made a deal with myself that I would never ever return to my obsessive behaviour again, so once I actually started training again I had to take a lot of breaks when my negative mindset started to form again. I mean, I refused myself to go to the gym when the obsessiveness started to surface. And this is where we get to it: It’s all about your mentality. You need to develop a healthy mindset.
Tip: Focus on your mentality. Self-development is key.
You cannot fix something from the outside in, because no matter how fit you get or how close you are to the “ideal box”- if your mind isn’t with you in a healthy way, you will never be satisfied and grateful for what you are and have got. You cannot transform your mental disturbed thoughts with physical change. We are taught and fed with the idea that everything is external and this is why we fail.
My transformation did take some time. I wanted the mental plane to be good and fitness to be enjoyable and about more than physical results. On the far left I was unhappy (read: hungry). In the middle I didn’t really care and on the right and the two pictures below I started my journey back to the gym.
Now, a couple of years later and with a completely different mindset I’m back in shape. I don’t train nearly as much and I don’t follow any diet. I feed myself with what I believe is healthy for me both in body and soul, I eat when I am hungry and I make conscious choices. I also enjoy myself, take time off, drink alcohol and enjoy meals wherever I can get them. And I usually don’t train during holidays.
So what is it that I do? Well, I keep it simple and enjoyable. I train strength One hour three times a week on average, I do restorative yoga once a week (just because I enjoy it, and it has so many benefits) and I eat food that benefits me and that I enjoy according to my pallet when I am hungry. These are habits that I’ve made, enjoyable habits, and I do not overthink it.
I stopped overthinking.
You don’t need to try every weird ass f*cking isolated exercise from Instagram. You do not need to eat leafs and starve. Or live on supplements. You do not need to spend two hours a day in a gym. Most importantly you do not need to buy all the crap people try to sell you. What you do need is to figure out what works for you with a healthy mindset and stick with it, and if you’re mindset is obsessive about everything that is wrong – then you work on that first.
I guess what I am trying to say is:
and the rest will follow. Don’t waste your time, money and energy, and know that you cannot buy perfection.