Being “fit” is not just about not being overweight. Total fitness is a wellness of mind, body, and spirit. When any of these things are not functioning at their best, we become the opposite of fit–we become sick.
Just a Symptom
Being overweight or obese is just a symptom of a greater problem: sickness. When you don’t care for your body, when you abuse it by feeding it low-quality nutrient-sparse foods and/or never exercising, you’re creating an internal environment of illness. Maybe you don’t feel sick per se, but do you struggle with fatigue? Insomnia? Joint pain? High blood pressure? Low energy levels? Acne? Auto-immune disorders? Digestive issues? Anxiety? Chronic headaches or migraines? Sleep apnea? Reproductive disorders and hormone problems? Hair loss? Blood sugar crashes?
When your body does not receive the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and care it so desperately needs, it cannot function as it is supposed to. The results will be illness as your body struggles to function without these important components. Abusing your body in this manner does not always mean being overweight or obese, in fact normal sized and underweight people can struggle from these same symptoms if they are also not caring for themselves properly.
Focusing only on weight loss will be futile. Counting calories and manipulating macronutrients will do absolutely nothing for the real problem. You may be able to force weight off this way, but until the body is functioning properly and total wellness is achieved, it will be temporary at best.
The Big Picture
When you begin to view the big picture in this manner and stop focusing on just fixing the symptoms, fitness will come naturally. Once the body begins to receive the simple care that it so needs to function at its highest potential, everything will fall into place. Magically one by one, your symptoms of sickness, including excess fat, will begin to disappear and you will experience total wellness. But this won’t be temporary this time, because you’ve finally focused your attention on the entire problem. It’s hard to go back to abusing your body once you’ve experienced freedom from sickness, and have mentally made the connection between how you FEEL and how you treat your body.
When you exercise, you’ll give your muscles stimulation, your organs oxygen and blood, and your entire body will receive feel-good endorphins to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression. When you eat nutrient-dense foods, your body gets everything it needs to build new and healthy cells, to keep all systems functioning properly, to fight cancer and other illness, to keep insulin levels under control, and to have energy for daily life. Self-care means feeling GOOD.
The Road to Fitness and Leaving Sickness Behind
I realize it’s easier said than done. We abuse our bodies for many subconscious reasons that are very hard to understand.
But a good first step is to just make a mental connection between your symptoms beyond excess fat with how you treat your body. You may never have put your chronic headaches or insomnia together with your daily soda, or your overeating together with your lack of nutrients. Maybe you have even more serious conditions that you’re taking medications for – have you ever considered that the solution may simply be healthier food and exercise? Isn’t it worth a shot?
The next step is to try adding some nutrition to your daily diet. Don’t take anything out of your diet at first, just simply add the good stuff in. Drink water with every meal, add a veggie, have fruit with your snack. You will be surprised at how your cravings and even your symptoms will begin to change once you feed your body the nutrition it wants. Once you’re comfortable with those higher-quality foods, then you can begin to remove some of your unhealthier habits, one at a time. This is your entire life we’re talking about here, so slow changes are the best because they will stick.
Begin to add more physical activity in, anywhere you can get it. This could just mean taking the stairs to your office, or it could mean beginning to exercise in a gym. Track your daily calorie burn with a BodyMedia armband like we do.
Take care of your mental health that may be causing body abuse issues by journaling, seeing a therapist, or speaking with a friend.
But the most important step in ALL OF THIS is to really notice and document how your body begins to heal from sickness. Write it down and celebrate it when you notice less headaches, when you feel less winded taking stairs, when your skin clears and your stomach isn’t cramping all the time. This is so essential in long-term maintenance.
Let this become your standard. Don’t settle for less than fit, and never experience self-induced sickness again.