Ahhhh America. Home of the brave, land of the free, and as of 2014, the country topping the list of highest percentage of obesity (at 32.8%). Even if you're not from the USA, you probably have some idea of what this looks like, since also in 2014, it was shown that worldwide, over 1.9 BILLION adults are overweight, with 600 million of those being obese. That seems like a big problem (maybe a little pun intended). And while there are many theories as to why this number keeps on growing, I believe it's all in the approach and mindset that people are taking.
I've reached that point of, "OMG WHAT IS THAT IN THE MIRROR STARING BACK AT ME THAT CAN'T BE ME OH IT IS AHHHH NO" a time or two, and I'm guessing most fitness journeys start in that same way. You wake up one morning, and for whatever reason, it's go time. Time to get hot. The thing is, you can only see what's going on on the outside. The inside tells a much more scary story.
HEART DISEASE. DIABETES. HIGH CHOLESTEROL. HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE. STROKES. CANCER. NOT FEELING COMFORTABLE IN SKINNY JEANS. MANY OTHER DISEASES AND BAD THINGS.
Who actually listens to those looming threats though, lol. Being healthy is all about being something nice to look at, right? NO WRONG NO NO NO.
When you form connections with the words HEALTHY and FIT with SLEEK and FIRM (or whatever synonym for ABLE TO BE ON COVER OF SPORTS ILLUSTRATED), you are setting yourself up for major failure. It might work for a time, but eventually, that motivation will wear thin. Now, I may only be a wee 21-year-old, but I have had my fair share of experience. Over the past seven-ish years, I have gone from one-month diet spurts to many-month running spurts. I understood that to get results, you have to be consistent, and that takes time. Which, is true. I'm not saying it isn't. HOWEVER, I was thinking about it the wrong way. Why would I want to keep running and eating turkey sandwiches on 50-calorie whole-wheat pieces of bread every day if I look in the mirror and like what I see? I didn't. I had arrived!
Suddenly, I started skipping runs and eating whatever I felt like again. And, sure as day, a few months later I would look in the mirror again and think to myself, "wut." Thus the cycle repeated.
Along with the downfall in motivation, just because you look good, doesn't mean your insides are going to be looking good. You see, even if you're "skinny," that doesn't mean you're "healthy". You could have a whole mass of visceral fat squeezing your organs like grapes and not even know. It gets worse: this type of fat is the cause to all the harmful side effects of being overweight/obese. THAT'S RIGHT. IT'S INVISIBLY HURTING YOU.
Fun fact: subcutaneous fat (that fat that bundles up right under the skin) is actually easier to lose than visceral fat, as well as less harmful to your health. Read more here.
That's scary stuff. And yet, losing weight is hard. It's hard to jump up one day and make all those changes. It's really hard to do, unless you have one of those diseases and that is your only option. Luckily, there are other benefits to being ACTUALLY healthy.
I have found that healthy is a state of being. It's going through an ENTIRE DAY (yeah a whole day guys, this was huge for me) without a sense of fogginess over my brain. It's about being able to just feel more efficient, and to just feel.. good.
And fit? That's a journey. Fit is noticing how each week, you make it through a few more repetitions while working out. It's upping that weight after a couple weeks, and smiling crazily at the guy on the treadmill in front of you when you finish an entire minute straight of burpees. It's about feeling worried when you miss a workout (on a non-rest day), not because you feel you need to burn off that pudding you had for lunch, but because A.) it makes you feel amazing and B.) you don't want to lose any of those gainz you've worked for. It's a cliche spoken time and time again, but it really is a healthy lifestyle change, not a diet.
While, for example, the 21 Day Fix program runs for, you guessed it, 21 days, that doesn't mean it was meant to be done in three weeks and then thrown away. The concept behind 21 Day Fix is that it's been shown that it takes humans 3 weeks (21 days) to really mold in a habit. So, after those 21 days, you don't want to say, "Yay! I did it!" and then go back to your old life and do it again every two months or so. Keep at it! ENJOY YOURSELF. Working out and eating right shouldn't be a punishment; it should be a reward to yourself.
Really though, seeing dat booty start to mold itself should be a little added bonus on top of all these other amazing things happening, not the goal. If you really are being healthy and kind and patient with yourself, eventually you will get to hot and toned, because science.