How to Be an Annoying Health Junkie

Many health junkies (including myself) like to share our enthusiasm for being healthy with others.  The healthier and fitter you get, the more likely your healthy lifestyle will make others feel bad. Talking about healthy foods/ exercise doesn’t annoy people nearly as much when you are overweight.

The awkward thing with health is that most of these have to do with how others may perceive you rather than actually being self-righteous and judgmental. While it would be really great if people only got annoyed or offended when you were actually being mean/judgmental…. that isn’t the case. Part of it is just a matter of knowing your audience and finding how to talk about your interests without making other people feel bad. That said, don’t be a self-righteous health snob.

Generally speaking, talking about healthy foods and exercise isn’t a problem. It is if you get to the more analytical side of things or anything that involves or could be perceived as involving judgement (even if directed at yourself) that some people get annoyed.

At the same time, you shouldn’t feel responsible when other people project their insecurities onto you. You shouldn’t feel guilty for sharing your passions and interests when you are doing so in a non-judgemental attitude. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to make healthy decisions in your life and wanting to improve yourself.

Or you can just not give a shit.

1. Analyze your food at the table: 

Is butter a carb?

For many health conscious individuals, analyzing our food is second nature. Keep your analysis to yourself and your food log. Unless someone specifically asks for your nutritional analysis, do not share it. Even if people are talking about flavor and other aspects of the food.

2. Provide justifications whenever you eat junk food.

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Chances are you are doing this because you feel insecure about making unhealthy choices and rationalizing it helps you deal with this. But others may interpret this as being judgmental towards them.

3. Only make weird healthy food when having others over for dinner.

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They may feel like they are being forced into nutritional boot camp. It’s okay to make some weird healthy stuff, but make sure there are some options within the comfort zone of your guests.

4. Be open about having fat days.

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Some people don’t like it when people who are fitter than them have fat days.

5. Be really picky and uptight while eating out.

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Unless you have an allergy or are on a diet that completely restricts certain foods (e.g. vegan), relax a little. You will regain complete control when you return to your own refrigerator.

6. Talk about how bad you’re being whenever you unleash your inner fat kid.

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Even though you are saying things in relation to what is normal to you, this may come across the wrong way when you are eating less than or equal to everyone else in the room.

7. Mention wanting to lose weight when relatively thin.

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This is okay around some people, but a lot of people will find it really annoying.

8. Try to convert the non-believers.

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There is an important difference between sharing your passion for health and pushing others to make healthy choices in a “my way is the right way” manner.

9. Make people feel guilty about what they are about to eat/ are currently eating.

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Just don’t.

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Measure in Moderation

Confession: I’m a bit of a data junkie. I get excited when I get ahold of new gadgets to get more accurate measurements or be able to take more factors into account. I actually enjoy measuring all the different numbers and statistics related to my health and overanalyzing them to infinity and beyond.

One of the great things about numbers is they don’t lie. But they can be deceptive. The scale may lack accuracy or precision. You may weight yourself at different times of day with varying amounts of water weight.. The numbers may not take enough factors into account and be oversimplified (e.g. calories, BMI, weight). But numbers don’t make shit up like our magical thinking minds do. They don’t try to deceive you the way product labels and marketing does (be skeptical with their numbers). Numbers can help you snap out of a rut because they don’t lie and you can’t escape the truth (but never underestimate the power of creative explanations). Numbers are the red pill of healthy living when used with an understanding of their limitations, what they really represent and how they fit in to the big picture. It was stepping on the scale and seeing what I actually weighed that got me to flip the switch to really commit to becoming the best version of myself.

With all the gadgets, information, science and formulas it can be easy to trip yourself into an analytical pit of doom where you hyper analyze every meal, workout and everything in between. This can be a bit of a problem because it can eventually lead to obsessive tunnel-vision focus where you forget how to say “fuck it” and let go.

I think using scales, food logs, and health gadgets are great for getting started, getting yourself back on track or checking in with yourself. But I think it is important to not get too rigid or reliant. It is important to learn to eyeball a meal and just know it is the right amount for you.  I think one of the most important aspects of healthy living is to learn to listen to your body. I think focusing too much on numbers can distract you from your own body. I think sometimes people feel a sense of obligation to follow their schedule or hitting a number just for the sake of following it. But this becomes a problem when being attached to that number/ schedule/ goal results in ignoring the signals your body is giving you and defeating the purpose of why you are making those decisions in the first place.

What this comes down to is balance. Take advantage of math, science and technology. Objectifying yourself with measurements can be useful to help detach and give a better understanding of yourself and your habit. But they don’t tell the whole story. Measurements are just abstract representations of the real data. They don’t experience your body. Only you do and your body knows itself better than anything else. Success in healthy living more than just a number. 

Fun calculations to play with:

Calories

Body Fat Percentage (BF%)

Bikinis and Body Peace

It is that time of year when articles start popping up left and right on fitness sites about getting that “bikini body” or “beach body”. There are countless exercise regimens, nutrition plans and diet products that market behind this concept. But those articles, diets and exercise plans really aren’t about fitness. They highlight a culture of body shaming that is being perpetuated in our culture often through a disguise of health and fitness. Not only is it superficial and a really shitty thing to do, but it also distorts the perceptions of health and fitness in our culture. It changes the way people approach fitness & nutrition by making it more about being skinny than about overall health and wellbeing. Part of this emphasis on weight is because of the chronic conditions associated with being overweight/obese, but part of the emphasis is likely because of prejudiced beauty standards in our culture. If the discussion of weight in health and fitness was strictly scientific in nature,  fitness magazines would not say “look your best” or “earn that bikini body” when talking about weight loss.

The Bikini Body

There has been a myth that has been created that you need to look a certain way to wear a bikini.

There is no such thing as an “appropriate” body for wearing a bikini. Some people have the nerve to attempt to rationalize their prejudice by saying being fat is unhealthy and that is why fat people shouldn’t wear a bikini. Last I checked, whether you wear a bikini or not has nothing to do with fitness. The only difference wearing a bikini has in the realm of health is that it increases the surface area of your skin that may or may not get a sunburn (but there is sunscreen for that).

There are also people who attempt to rationalize the idea of an appropriate size for wearing a bikini by saying seeing certain people in bikinis makes some people uncomfortable. Their discomfort is because of their prejudice, not because there is anything harmful or wrong with anyone of any size wearing a bikini.

What someone decides to wear for swimsuit season is a matter of what they feel best in. There is no justification for body shaming. Body shaming is horrible and it certainly has no place in health and fitness.

Body Peace

Being able to love and accept yourself is key to living a healthy lifestyle. Everyone deserves to love their body. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful. I believe that part of loving your body is making healthy choices, but part of it means accepting yourself as you are. It means making the choices based on what you consider the best version of yourself. That means something different to each individual.

I think loving yourself is especially important when making changes in your own lifestyle. When you change your behaviors out of love rather than shame, it is much easier to continue making healthy changes and feel good about yourself in the process. I believe that the first step towards becoming what you consider a better version of yourself in the future is being at peace with yourself in the present.

I recognize that the views expressed may seem contradictory and hypocritical given the story behind the name of my blog. That had to do with my own body and my aspiration towards a version of myself that the red bikini was symbolic of. I believe it is a personal choice that is about wearing what you feel best in.

Read More:

Recommended Website: Body Image Movement

Can you be fat and fit?

Body Fat Percentage (BF%)

 

Tips for Making Yourself Exercise for When You Just Don’t Feel Like It

Despite exercising regularly and being in good shape, I am still incredibly lazy. You know how a lot of fit people talk about missing exercise when they don’t do it? I’m not one of them. It is very unusual for me to be in the mood to exercise. I usually end up leaving for the gym after thinking about it for around 2 hrs. Once I get going I have no problem, my issue is getting off the damn couch. If taking rest days is not a problem for you, it is important to go to the gym even if you don’t feel like it. So for those of you that don’t understand the concept of “just do it”, here are a few tips.

*Keep in mind it is important to take rest days for your body to repair itself. Your body needs rest to repair muscles after strength training or to heal while sick/injured. These tips are for when you are just being lazy.

1. Listen to energizing music. This will help you get pumped up… so you will actually get off the couch.

2. Turn off your TV and computer… and that bad but addictive game on your iPhone. These devices can suck you in and make everything else in the universe cease to exist.

3. Tell yourself you can do your slacker workout. You may not need to do this once you actually get there, but it may help trick yourself into going. You can also use similar tricks by promising yourself Starbucks or other small rewards. Your brain thinks differently while on the couch than after going to the gym.

4. Eat a small amount of dark chocolate or have a coffee. Both stimulate reward chemicals which will help give you energy to get moving.

5. Sign up and pay for classes that occur on a regular basis. If you have already paid for a class ahead of time, then you will have a sense of obligation to go. The same works with using a trainer. This can also help in developing better technique or trying out different exercises.

6. Go for a walk. If you aren’t going to do a more vigorous workout, at least do some light activity like going for a walk in the park. This will at least get you moving and get your blood flowing.

Dieting and The Deprivation Mindset

I think one of the most prevalent pitfalls in many approaches to healthy living is the deprivation mindset. What I mean by this is a diet that is revolved around what you can’t have. Personally, I don’t believe in cutting anything out of your diet 100% unless you are allergic to it.

When I try to cut foods that I love out of my diet, I just end up wanting it more. Eventually, when my willpower is exhausted, I end up feasting on it and having an increased appreciation for that food for a few days. When I simply focus on eating healthier, I naturally end up eating unhealthier foods less often without having to consciously say no to it.

I think dieting with a deprivation mindset can create a forbidden fruit effect on what we are cutting out. Trying to cut delicious foods out makes it all the more enticing. Every time we see it, we are reminded how we can’t have it and we want it… and we all know what happened in the Garden of Eden…

My Alternative to Deprivation Dieting

I’ve noticed that what I think about is kind of like gravity. If I think about cookies (or not eating cookies) then I find myself pulled towards eating cookies more. When I think about eating fruits and veggies, the more I feel drawn towards eating fruits and veggies. So basically, not eating cookies when you are frequently thinking about not eating cookies is kind of like fighting gravity.

Shift your focus to the solutions rather than the problem. Focus on what you should have more rather than what you should have less. Focus on eating healthier foods more often. Focus on eating more fruits and vegetables. Focus on eating more natural foods. Focus on drinking more water.

If you are having a hard time shifting your focus, try changing the information you are exposing yourself to. Don’t keep junk food in the house, buy it when you really want it in a single serving. Watch less TV shows since those are filled with junk food commercials and product placements. Watch Youtube videos or read articles about healthy foods/behaviors. Every time you see something (or something you associate with something) in your environment it is like it is telling your brain “Reminder: I exist!”. So when it comes to foods you aren’t supposed to be eating, this can be problematic.

Also Read:

Embracing Your Inner Fat Kid

Health is about Balance

What defines success in health and fitness?

The scale has become a deeply ingrained symbol of health & fitness in our culture . We check it regularly. It is one of the first things we do at doctor’s appointments. It is in every gym locker room and even in rest stops on road trips. We see magazines, TV shows and health articles consistently reminding us that our weight is important. Many of us use BMI as a rough estimation of our overall fitness. But how often should we step on that ever pervasive piece of equipment? When does a useful tool become an unhealthy obsession? What does it really mean to be healthy?

Weight is an easy way to get a rough estimation of your overall fitness. However, it is also important to not be obsessed with it. I usually weigh myself about once a week. I put more emphasis on body fat %, how well my pants fit and by paying attention to my energy levels. The issue with weighing yourself daily is that our weight constantly fluctuates and there are a number of factors that can impact this. I think the scale can give people a tunnel vision almost. They are so obsessed with it that they have a hard time taking a step back and seeing the big picture. Luckily I didn’t even have a scale my entire first year of losing weight, so I would only weigh myself maybe once a week at the gym. I think this helped me keep a healthy perspective while changing my fitness habits since it didn’t become all about losing weight.

Our culture overvalues weight and undervalues wellness. I think as a culture we have an unhealthy obsession with weight loss. I’m not considered a “success” and didn’t get featured on Calorie Count and The Huffington Post because I improved my overall wellness… it was because I lost a third of my body weight. The internal changes for me came much earlier than the external manifestations of it, but it was the external change that made others perceive it as a success. While I am grateful for being able to share my story, sometimes it bothers me that “success stories” always feature people with a very significant external difference. To be honest, I think it is superficial. There are plenty of people who didn’t lose much weight but still made huge improvements in their overall wellness. There are also people who lose a ton of weight and while they may look much better on the surface, they are just as unhealthy if not even unhealthier internally. Would I still be considered a success if i didn’t lose much weight at all, but became much fitter and was eating healthier foods? What if I lost a lot of weight but didn’t get there in a healthy way, still had layers of insecurity and had my self-worth reliant upon being thin?

I think the obsession with the scale can lead to people using weight loss methods that don’t improve overall wellness. It leads to people eating so few calories that they convince their body that despite being in an environment of nutritional abundance, that they are experiencing a famine. It leads to people reducing calories at the expense of nutrition. It leads to people starving themselves for a few days and even taking laxatives so they look slightly skinnier in a dress or a bikini. It leads to things being considered health products not because it is actually healthy for you, but because it is “low calorie/fat/sugar”  and might help you temporally lower the number on the scale. Overemphasizing weight when it comes to health also leads to fat shaming, which does nothing to improve the wellbeing of others.

I’m not saying weight doesn’t matter. I’m just saying we need to look at the big picture when it comes to health. We need to look at overall body composition. We need to look at the long term effects of our habits. We need to make sure that we aren’t sacrificing fitness and nutrition to hit a number on the scale. We also need to make sure that the mindset behind our habits is healthy. I think we become so hyper-focused on dramatic before & after photos and number changes on the scale, that we often miss what it really means to be healthy.

Being healthy isn’t about being skinny. It is about eating natural foods, getting the nutrients we need and not going to far beyond that. It is about not eating toxins. It is about being able to move and interact with the environment and being able to enjoy yourself while doing so. It is about loving yourself regardless of circumstance. It is about being balanced and full of energy. It is about living in a way that will keep you energetic and balanced long term.

Read More:

How to Know When it is Time to Begin Your Skinny Ever After.

Can you be fat and fit?

How to Know When it is Time to Begin Your Skinny Ever After

Deciding I was done losing weight was an anxiety ridden process for me. I had never kept my weight stable in my entire life and been happy about it. Not to mention all the panic I had about what would happen when I stopped dieting after working my ass of to lose weight (literally) for 18 months. Having been maintaining for a year now, I think it is safe to say my world did not end and I did not get fat again.

I think it is important once you are at a healthy weight to eventually decide you are maintaining. I think it is liberating because making that mental switch will make you much more relaxed about your eating/ exercising. I’m not saying it’s one giant party with cheat meals all the time, but personally, I don’t feel the need to count calories or really put much mental effort into it. I just eat when I’m hungry (or occasionally just for fun) and exercise regularly. I don’t panic as much when my weight has minor fluctuations, I know it is a reality of life.

Goal Weights

I think setting an adjustable final goal weight is very useful for staying motivated. You may also benefit from setting smaller milestones along the way. You should probably set it within a healthy BMI and body fat percentage.

When it comes down to it, specific weights/ BF% don’t matter. Try to figure out an approximate range, but decide by how your body feels. The weight that you feel best at may also change if you gain muscle since you can be leaner at a higher weight.

What will it feel like at your ideal weight?

  • When you are maintaining at your ideal weight, staying there shouldn’t be much of a struggle.
  • You will feel balanced and energetic.
  • You should be able to eat based on normal nutritional recommendations without your body fighting you.

Keep in mind…

  • Different diseases and conditions could get in the way of figuring this out. You could be at a healthy weight but not feel energetic because of any number of chronic conditions, a less than optimal diet or sleep deprivation.
  • Your body type will influence what weight may be realistic. For example someone with a stockier build and denser bones vs. someone built like a marathon runner.
  • It is always a good idea to consult with a professional about what your goals should be. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietician to know what is best for you.

Read more:

Body Fat Percentage

Weight Maintenance: Expectations vs. Reality

Can you be fat and fit?

Former Fat Person Disorder (FFPD)