In this post I’m going to reveal to you the secret of having a fit and healthy body for the rest of your life. Something which will give you control over your weight; to not only help lose it, if that’s your goal, not only to keep it off (I’ll assume that is) but also to genuinely want to eat better and look after yourself forever.
Are you sitting down? Because here it is:
Find something physical you enjoy doing, and keep doing it.
At this point, your brain is probably undergoing varying explosions of “WTF”, “no shit, Sherlock” and coming up with an array of excuses why you can’t do that.
I’ll ignore the first two options: they are both indicative of the fact that deep down you already knew the above statement is right (after all, life really is simple, but human nature is such that we like to make it complicated for ourselves) and focus on the third: your excuses.
Can’t think of anything to do? Try harder. Go walking (buy a dog, walk home from work, go see things that involve you walking), gardening, cycling (buy a warmer jacket, get your bike serviced), Hungarian folk dancing (take classes), always wanted to sprint? Do what I did and ask someone who does it how you can start.
No time? Make time. Watch TV? Spend an hour at the weekend cruising XTube? Spend many hours in the pub? Stay too late at the office just to make your boss think you’re more conscientious than you really are?
No money? Do you really need money to do something? There are parks everywhere, free activities you can do – yoga classes, guided walks, Park Runs, outdoor training sessions – put your mind to it. And perhaps think about what you spend money on that you don’t need to – the daily latte, lunch out, expensive cocktails, shoes…
Don’t want to do it alone? If you really can’t face it, find a friend – why not trade your activity for theirs, so you both get what you want. But really, think about why you won’t go alone. Are you…
…Scared? Well think about that fact that everyone started somewhere. In fact all of us are still beginners, just at different stages in their journey. Getting over your fears is part of the process in building a better you – face what makes you nervous, learn to overcome it, apply it to other areas of your life. Grow bigger, better and more awesome. And realise that everyone else feels the same so just, y’know, get over it.
And lest you think I’m rallying against you, I’m not. What I’m fed up with is the idea that do be fit and healthy and have a way of enjoying your body, being able to eat (a bit) more and feeling more confident in yourself involves going to the gym. Or doing something else unpleasant – running, skipping*, lifting pink dumbells, contorting yourself into unnatural shapes.
That whole idea is complete bullshit, sold to you by the same people who gave you Special K, celebrity magazines and pointless skin products and told you they’d make you healthier, happier and more beautiful.
Find something you love doing – that you will want to go to on a rainy afternoon, that challenges you after a day at the office that really hasn’t and that makes you take pride in yourself and in the progress you make it in. And use those reasons to keep doing it. You will find that you want to stay healthy – getting ill because you’ve spent the past two weeks working till 9pm in an air conditioned box will be a real pain in the ass, ditto missing out on getting involved in something because you got hammered the night before and can’t get out of bed.
If you want it, it’s up to you. Go and find that thing that fills you with passion, stop making excuses** and GO AND DOO EET!
* The other week I met, through an incredibly random series of events, the wife of one of the guys who’s pretty big (literally and figuratively) in the UK calisthenics scene. I’m not going to say any more as I’m using this story to illustrate my point, not to stir up shit or shame. I joked to her that she must get tired of never seeing him since he trains so much, and she laughed and said she was used to it, although went on to say that he’s been on at her to lose weight and start skipping. Not just do exercise, but specifically skip. She thought it was ridiculous, and I agreed. It was this that got me thinking about writing this post. The guy’s ripped. He’s strong as hell and probably looks good naked, and has obviously made some sacrifieces to look like that. Only that’s the thing – he hasn’t. He, like me and many of my friends, loves training. We work our assess off but we love it. We go to the gym in winter, the park in summer, run up hills, pull up our bodyweight, again and again, until our arms are so tired we have to tell our mum we can’t talk for long as our arm hurts to hold the phone to our ear. That’s our passion. It’s not her passion and it’s unfair for anyone, especially a husband, to try and impose their fitness ideals on someone else instead of encouraging them to find something that gives them as much pleasure as your hobby gives you.
** I’m sorry. I hate that phrase too. However, the more you get into the depths of what motivates you, the more you realise it’s true. And when you become aware of the reasons you tell yourself for not doing something, the more you realise that pretty much all of them are just stupid nonsense.
Instead of illustrating this post with some lame inspirational bullshit or a slogan from a Well-Known Sports Brand(tm) I will leave you with this food for thought: