Healthy Ain't Always Pretty
Updated: May 11
And it's not a 6 week program or 7 day cleanse or 10 belly buster exercises... it's a lifetime of getting ugly!
Nothing gets me quite as frustrated as the insidious fitness, beauty, and diet marketing that saturates everyday life at every turn. Everywhere I look is an ad that tells me I could be more, better, younger, smarter, rich, confident, sexier, more popular. More. You must be more! You are not enough! You have heard and seen endless messages about what your next steps need to be, most of which can be done in 7-21 days, to measure up. Sometimes even people & organizations with the best intentions fail to recognize they are feeding our fears & insecurities for profit. Stay pretty. Make whatever you do look effortless and easy. Geesh. Get the hell outta here. I'm the Head Motherf*cker In Charge (HMFIC) around here and this ends now!
Being fit does not mean you are healthy. What we are after at The Whole Human Project is HEALTH and WELLNESS. Being healthy and attending to our wellness means sometimes things have to get pretty ugly. Mentally and physically. We sweat, we cry, we laugh, we fall down, we rise up, and we get healthier and happier.
Our health needs change over the course of a lifetime so there is a real benefit to building up your knowledge base and understanding that what works for others may not work for you. There is no lack of information out there today. I follow loads of fitness, health, and nutrition experts. I love their personalities, expertise, programming, podcasts, books, etc. It's a community I have been deeply involved with for 27 years and let me tell you, it has seen huge changes. Regardless of all the innovation and insights that have come and gone, a few crucial facts never change.
1. Eating real, whole foods is the best way to eat.
2. Drink 6-8 glasses of water every day.
3. Exercise 30 - 60 minutes every day. Stretch, lift heavy things, get your heart rate to 60% of your MHR, and work on your balance.
4. Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
It's simple. It's not easy.
These are seemingly simple things to accomplish each day until you put them up against a lifetime of habits, emotions, insecurities, life challenges, health challenges, cultural expectations, and whatever else life brings our way. Top all this off with our desire to measure up to impossible goals (or at the very least, unsustainable) and we become sitting ducks for hunters armed with potions, plans, pills, and gimmicks. You and me. Smart, reasonable, rational women throw their money and self-esteem into the wind in the hope of finding a "solution". However, the solution is often part of the problem.
I didn't even know I had a problem...
There are real issues that require real solutions. We have enough of those in our lives. I don't need others telling me I have a problem I didn't even know I had. I mean, is it really a problem if I don't know it is? I'm talking of course about what we are told by the outside world about how we should see ourselves. How we think about ourselves, our bodies, our accomplishments, or our stories. I mean, it's one thing to tell me my teeth can be whiter but I don't need you also implying I would be more successful if they were. I can tolerate a fast food restaurant telling me I would be happy if I ate french fries, albeit temporarily happy. I go into full eff you mode when you tell me how I should look while I exercise. Do you have any idea of how many women will not exercise regularly because they are self conscious about how their bodies, hair, and make up look while they exercise? Hey, I'm talking ALL ages & body types here. When did it become a problem to make ugly faces when we are sucking wind with sweat rolling off our bodies? It became a problem when we bought into the solution. Once you recognize this is bullshit it's on you to move from victim to creator. Period. I told you this was going to get ugly.
There is not one "right" way but there are some wrong ways.
Now, having said all this. There is nothing wrong with participating in healthy fitness and eating programs as long as they serve you. Meaning they are used as jumping off points, don't set unrealistic expectations that lead to self-defeating behavior, and provide you with information that helps build your foundation of health. Throughout our lives we will need to change our eating and exercise habits to serve our needs. The basics never change though. Whole foods. Water. Exercise. Sleep. When you start to stray into the land of extremes you have reached the "wrong way" sign. Reroute!
So it's gotta get ugly ladies. And it may stay ugly. My friend Ali once said about running " I may look like an orangutan in clown shoes but I feel like a gazelle." Then again, you may also feel like the orangutan in clown shoes instead of the gazelle. I certainly have those days. Days where I'd rather make the easy choice about food, skip getting exercise because I am tired and my back hurts, stay up late watching something mindless, and ignore my body in general. Whatever it takes to get it done, even if it's ugly, do it. Don't fall prey to the quick and dirty "get fit" programming or "look younger" treatments. Don't fall prey to trendy diets. Rise up. Remember - this is your health revolution!
Wishing you a happier and healthier life,