Fitness: a single word with a different meaning for everyone. For me, fitness has been a battle I’ve neither lost nor won. From binge eating and working out once a month (at most) to eating organic foods and working out on a somewhat daily basis, I’ve experienced it all. I’m continue to work on fitness to this day, still attempting to understand its intricacies and nuances. However, from the knowledge that I have gained during my 18 years of existence, I have come to realize that most fitness goals, regardless of what they may be, can be achieved by following three simple steps:
1. Do not diet
This seems rather counterproductive. The sole purpose of dieting is to lose weight and get fit, right? While it is true (unfortunately), I’ve personally come to believe that it is not desirable. Diets are temporary excursions from our daily life habits. Once we complete our diet, we’re back to square one: fueling our bodies with foods we know aren’t right for us and depriving them of essential nutrients. It’s a quick fix. Except that it isn’t; it isn’t sustainable. When I first attempted to lose weight, I thought that dieting and starving myself was the way to go. I was wrong. I did lose weight while on my diet, but once I stopped it, I gained twice the weight back, which was absolutely and completely disheartening. So, how do we fix this? The first step is to eliminate the word “diet” from your vocabulary entirely. You need to make a permanent lifestyle change. This doesn’t mean that you only eat fruits and vegetables forever. It means that you slowly start to make healthier choices, eventually habitualizing healthy eating to a point where it becomes subconscious, turning your diet into a lifestyle.
2. Cheating is okay
Yes, that’s right. This is the one and only time where cheating is okay. Allow yourself the opportunity to indulge in your favorite foods or drinks, despite the fact that they might be unhealthy. It is impossible to be healthy a hundred percent of the time. Completely depriving yourself of cheat foods leads to nothing but great unhappiness and binge eating sessions, trust me, I speak from experience. I thought that in order to lose weight and become fit, I could only eat veggies and fruits: anything and everything else was bad for me. I would go two to three days of eating this way before I threw in the towel and made a Safeway run, binge eating countless bags of chips and boxes of cookies. Needless to say, that was not healthy. Once I realized the err in my ways and the beauty that is moderation, I found myself much happier. Not only was I able to continue eating some of my favorite foods and snacks, but I also saw better results. I was losing weight and gaining muscle, all while treating myself here and there. Moderation and balance are key. Instead of going for the entire box of cookies in one sitting, go for one or two. You’ll get your fix while still being able to achieve all your fitness goals. Eating in moderation and balancing what kinds of foods you put in your body results in a healthier body and a happier mind.
3. Walk as much as you possibly can
Walking is one of the best exercises we can possibly do for ourselves. With that being said, walk anywhere and everywhere that you can. Whether it be taking the long route to class or going for an evening stroll around campus or your neighborhood, you’ll be working out your body and getting in cardio without knowing it! Prior to college, I never really walked much. I had my own car, so naturally, I drove myself everywhere, even if it was to the grocery store that was a 10 minute walk away. However, once I entered college, I was forced to walk everywhere. I didn’t have a car and wasn’t willing to pay $5 for a 5-10 minute Uber ride. I found myself walking to the grocery store, friend’s apartments, and dorms across campus. The result? I lost weight and felt much better about myself. Even if you don’t actually make it to the gym, you’ll still have burned calories and your body will thank you.
Hopefully these tips helped you in some shape or form. There is nothing I love more than inspiring and encouraging others to pursue their fitness goals along with me. Grind hard and sky is the limit. Good luck!