I can’t begin to tell you all the different types of diet and fitness plans I’ve tried. I have always been athletic but as I grow older I find myself bored: Bored with running. Bored of meal plans that prioritize oatmeal (which I don’t vibe with – even if it’s flavorful).
It is such a pain to find what works for you because you have to go through trial and error. I have found though – that it’s necessary to do this.
There is also a perception in our society of what is ‘good’ and ‘healthy’ as we glorify diet and skinny culture. What we should all strive to do is try out many different ways of eating and exercising and see what we like and works for us.
How Do We Define What’s ‘Good’ and ‘Healthy’
Growing up, I often heard ‘BMI is a great way to measure good health.’ Body Mass Index is a value derived from the mass and height of a person. The CDC claims ‘healthy’ BMI is between 18-24 for the average person.
But in fact, experts have been criticizing BMI for many years. There are various reasons why BMI is an unreliable measurement of health. Firstly, BMI doesn’t consider where you store fat; two people could have the exact same BMI and one person could be at risk for diabetes or heart disease.
Another reason, BMI doesn’t consider bone mass or sex. Bone mass is heavy than fat, and someone with heavier bone mass could have a higher BMI than someone with more fat but lighter bone mass.
BMI also doesn’t take sex into consideration. Women have a higher percentage of fat on their bodies, whereas men do not and this skews results.
Defining what healthy means to each individual is way more complex than subtracting two numbers and seeing if you fall between that.
I personally don’t know my BMI, or my weight. I workout 5-6 times a week, and eat a balanced diet – I know I’m healthy. Numbers often make us feel less than and it’s a practice I refuse to partake in.
The number one myth people should disregard about health is that skinny is healthy. We live in a society that glorifies physiques that are unattainable.
For years, it was the uber skinny diet culture taken from supermodels in the 90s. Kate Moss once said, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” She now regrets it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being naturally thin, but the key point to take away is that we glorify those bodies and treat anything other than that as less than.
Currently, curves are in. Specifically, hourglass bodies with a tiny waist and flat abs are the golden standards right now. This is in large part due to marketing and the images that we see on TV ads, on the subway, on Instagram, and so forth.
Fortunately, within the past 10 years, there has been an influx in body-positive marketing and icons in pop culture. For instance, models like Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence have redefined body standards for women in their work.
Slowly, we are evolving into a more accepting society. We must remember to treat ourselves kindly and with self-love because we are worthy at any size and weight.
Work Work Work Work Workout
Working out does not have to be work. It can be fun! It can also be a great form of therapy and release for both your mind and your body. I don’t look at working out as a form of weight loss but rather something I do for my well being and mental health.
Working out forces you to be present and practice mindfulness, giving your diet and fitness routine a holistic approach as well.
You could swim, run, jog, walk, bike, practice yoga, or weight lift. There are so many workout classes available, both on youtube for free or at a local studio near you.
I did a lot of running in my teen years and I grew tired of it. These days I love boxing and weight lifting. I found boxing through ClassPass and I couldn’t recommend it more.
I found weightlifting through Youtube. I started following fitness influencers and became connected to their fitness journey and became inspired to start my own.
An influencer I love is Whitney Simmons. She posts workout videos, “what I eat in a day”, and other fitness content on all her social media channels. Her content is engaging and positive, the exact type of motivation I needed when I began my fitness journey!
Fuel for the Body
While there are many diets out there, from Paleo to Pescatarian, it is ultimately up to you to figure out what works best for your body and appetite.
I have found that red meat makes me feel sluggish and tired so I try to limit my intake of red meat to once a week or none at all. There are great food sensitivity tests you can take – such as this one, from EverlyWell. It’s an at-home kit making the process easier and stress-free.
Nutritionists have also been claiming for years that the human body is not meant for dairy consumption. Dairy consumption really exploded in the 20th century after marketing ads came out pushing milk onto consumers. Now there are so many amazing alternatives, like oat milk and almond milk.
I personally love oat milk from the brand, Planet Oat! I don’t consume much dairy other than cheese, because I have found it can affect my skin. I try to incorporate vegan meals regularly as well because I do notice an increase in energy when I am being fueled by plants.
The most important thing to remember when picking out which kind of food lifestyle you want is to fuel your body and understand that your weight doesn’t determine your worth. You can absolutely have a cheeseburger and still live a balanced happy life.