I have told you I am on a quest to find MY perfect fitness formula. But, what exactly does that mean? For me, it means looking truthfully at 10 different pieces of my life and making honest assessments about will work for me long-term. I’m not interested in short-term fixes just to fit into a dress or for an event. I want to be healthier and continue on this road to wellness…no matter how long it takes me to get there. Truth be told, once I get there my journey won’t end. And my perfect fitness formula has to be flexible, sustainable and realistic.
With so many choices out there, there is no reason that any of us should feel that if we can’t do it all according to one plan or program, we are failing. When something doesn’t work for us, we can think “I FAILED!”, or we can choose to say “That didn’t work, lets pick up and try something else”. On the flip side, when you do find something that works make it a part of your new, healthy lifestyle… even if it means you can’t do it in its entirety.
Here are 10 different things that I am considering when coming up with my perfect fitness formula. Once I gave myself permission to identify these things… I could look at this whole process with a clear mind. Are there things that I need to change about my life? Of course… obviously many of the things I have been doing for half of my life have landed me in these size 18 jeans. But that doesn’t mean that I should have to change all the wonderful things about my life, or that I should have to try and fit into some ridiculous mold that simply won’t stick. Since I have taken a good look at this list, I am finding that I am able to make some changes that ARE sticking. How would taking a good look at this list change how you are approaching YOUR perfect fitness formula?
Some people love going to support group meetings where they cheer for you when you lose one pound. It works for them. It makes me want to vomit. Some people like to workout at home. I need to put on my shoes, leave the house, and drive to the gym. Or, at the very least get the whole family engaged in a walk/run. I am a social creature, and while a pep-rally over reaching my first five pounds lost seems cheesy to me, I enjoy working out with other people. I feed off of their energy.
What personality traits do you have that can impact the formula? Instead of trying to change who you are to fit a plan that works for someone else, how can you use the best parts of your personality to find your perfect fit?
We are in a fortunate place now in that we can afford to pay for CrossFit. I can afford to purchase the supplements that work for me. Our grocery budget is not tight. But there was a time when that was far from the case.
If you would love to join a gym but it is not in the budget, it is better to figure out another solution…instead of just allowing that to stop you from starting your journey. Has money been holding you back?
3) Your Family
What does your family look like? Do you have small children at home with specific dietary quirks? Do you require childcare to attend a Zumba class? Do you have a husband that loves to hike, or a son who loves swimming? How can all of these things factor into the formula…not just for you, but your family?
What works for one family, will not always work for the next. Embrace the unique parts of your family make-up!
4) Your Gender
Let’s face it. Men and women are different. I can stop eating bread for 6 months and lose two pounds, my husband can stop eating it for a weekend and lose five! Also, in general, men and women have different strengths physically. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do an activity that your husband does or that you can’t both follow the same diet. It is just another thing to consider.
Be flexible enough to realize that even within your own family, things may work better for one person over another… simply because of gender.
5) Your Age
What worked for us at 20 may not work anymore at 35 or 40. Our bodies change. Our metabolism changes. Gravity grabs a hold of things with a tenacity we may have never experienced before. It is no reason to either throw in the towel, or become depressed. We just have to adapt and figure out what DOES work for us now.
The good news? Along with that gravity comes wisdom, or so they tell me. I am hoping this wisdom will help me continue to listen to my body and adjust to what it needs.
6) Health Concerns
This is a big one. You have to take into consideration any health concerns or limitations you may have. If you are lactose intolerant, a diet rich in low fat dairy is obviously not for you… no matter how well it worked for someone else. If you have severe asthma, you may not be able to run outside every day. If you are on medications or have other health related issues it is always a good idea to discuss this stuff with a doctor. Health concerns are a big REASON to possibly eliminate certain dietary or exercise choices.
HOWEVER, let me just say this. You and ONLY you need to really look yourself in the mirror and decide if those health issues are truly your reason, or if they are becoming your excuse. NO ONE else can make that call for you. I will tell you. My RA was a reason for a long time. There are still days when it is a reason I should not workout. But I know myself. I was using it as an excuse too often. Only when I was able to be honest with myself and really know the difference did I make strides towards better health.
7) Geographical Location
Yes, this matters. Climate makes a difference in which outdoor activities you choose. The availability of certain facilities in your area may make a difference. The cost of certain kinds of foods in your area may make a difference in how and where you shop for your meals.
No, it doesn’t mean you CAN’T do your favorite thing… well, sometimes it does. If you are in Alaska and your favorite exercise is surfing, you might be out of luck. It might be time to try snow boarding instead.
If you absolutely HATE vegetables and they make you gag… going vegetarian isn’t for you. How long are you going to stick with something you absolutely abhor? Not very long. And then you will beat yourself up. Instead of dreading that Zumba class three times a week, find something you enjoy.
Again… there are a million choices out there. Leading a healthy lifestyle should NOT be a punishment.
9) Body Type
There is a lot of research out there that can help you figure out what type of body you have and how that might affect your fitness formula. Some research suggests that certain diets are better for different body types. Also, some exercises are better suited for folks with certain physical attributes. Again, it doesn’t mean you can’t play basketball if you are under five foot tall, but it may be something to consider. Not only is it important to know what type you are for informational purposes, but it can be helpful in helping you make realistic goals. I will never have thighs that do not rub together, no matter how thin or fit I become. It is just how my body is made. So if it were a goal of mine to have a gap between my thighs, I would be set up for failure.
Take an honest look at your body type and shape and let that help you make realistic, attainable goals.
This is the biggest one, in my opinion, and also the one thing that most people believe they must drastically alter in order to be successful with their weight loss and/or fitness goals. I know that lots of people have had great success with the Paleo Diet. Perhaps I would have success too. But it absolutely does not work in my current lifestyle. I work full-time but have part-time child care and I am a professional performer who travels a lot. Some would argue that if I really tried, that I could make it work. Or that perhaps I should get more child care, work less, or not travel as often so that I could adopt what they believe to be the best diet possible. But I love all of those things about my life. I love my job, I love performing, and I don’t want my baby in daycare 50 hours a week. Those are lifestyle choices that I stand by. So instead of Paleo I am figuring out the diet that works for me. It has to be flexible, it has to travel well and it needs to fuel me for my busy life.
Are there things about my lifestyle that are unhealthy? Oh, absolutely… and I am working to change those things. But my perfect fitness formula should not have to require me to give up the positive things in my life that I adore.
I have tried for years to find that magic pill, that one program or plan that would solve all of my problems and finally be the right fit for me. And I failed. Over and over again. But what I was really failing at was taking a good look at MYSELF and realizing that only I can truly find what really works for me. Once I realized that, I have discovered I am taking control of my health. Here’s hoping this post will help you start a path to figuring out your perfect fitness formula too. Find what works for YOU… then make it WORK for you!