For the fifth month of the year I'll be sharing tons of FIVES lists. Better your life in ways you can count on one hand, right here on kimberlynovosel.com, all month long!
I read an article recently about "exercise bulimia," the condition "in which a person is compelled to exercise in an effort aimed at burning the calories of food energy and fat reserves to an excessive level that negatively affects their health." I think at different points in our lives, we all make decisions that are unhealthy even if our goal is the opposite. There's a process of learning what "healthy" really means and matching that with what it means to you.
Here are 5 ways to make sure your focus on fitness is grounded in wellness:
1. How often do you weigh yourself? Count calories consumed? Calories burned?
There are people who are on weight loss journeys, but there are many of us who shaping up doesn't have much to do with the scale. I would venture to say the majority of us do not need calorie and weight numbers to be our prime focus. Let these things be secondary to other measurements of success, like how much green is in your meals, how much you sweat during a workout, or how much fun you had on that long weekend hike. I weigh myself only occasionally, keeping myself in check for not relying too much on the results.
2. Do you eat enough nutrients?
Have you heard of the ice cream cleanse? Apparently that's a real thing in which participants eat a pint of ice cream for five meals a day, for four days. I think that sounds like a pretty awesomely terrible idea. I love ice cream, but without giving my body various nutrients that come from things like green lettuces, proteins, fruits and my beloved root veggies, I couldn't call that the optimal meal plan. I do eat ice cream (Talenti gelato is my fave) in moderation. When it comes to food, I prefer to focus on multiplying the good rather than trying to eradicate the bad. If you multiply the good, there's automatically less room for the bad.
3. What about your wellness decisions makes you feel most accomplished?
If the math of calories in VS calories burned makes you feel like a champion, it's time to find another source for that feeling. Which workout activity is the most fun for you? Tap into that enjoyment. If you like to cook, see how many creative healthy meals you can create. I like the feeling of being pushed past my impossible limits, therefore my favorite workouts are the ones that make me thing "I can't go on," and then I prove myself wrong. That success makes me feel like a champion.
4. Are your fitness or food decisions ever punishments?
Would you work out tomorrow just because you indulged in some fried southern food today? Would you skip meals tomorrow if you had pizza for dinner tonight? This is something I did when I was much younger and hadn't learned what wellness really means. Instead of being motivated by punishment, keep your eye on your positive goal. If you indulge, great! That's a sign that you're enjoying life! That doesn't take away from the fact that wellness is important to you, and that means tomorrow you can eat well and work out because that's a part of your lifestyle that you enjoy.
5. How often do you give up?
For a long time my fitness pattern was related to short term motivations. I needed to look good in a bikini, I signed up for a 30 day boot camp. I needed to fit into my jeans a little better, I hired a trainer. Between those bursts of effort there would be months at a time with nary a workout in sight. This is not wellness. Wellness is a lifestyle. If you have a week where you've paid less attention to your usual healthy routine (like last week was for me), you pick it up again because that's what you do - you value taking care of yourself - as opposed to berating yourself for failing and then continuing to fail.
If you've noticed, these have much more to do with your attitude and frame of mine than what you eat or how often you work out. If your answers to these questions all come from a positive place inside of you, you're on the right track. If they don't, start to look for ways to view your goals and lifestyle from a healthy emotional place. Our health starts within, after all.