Do you approach fitness with an ‘all or nothing’ mentality and obsess over the ‘eat clean & train dirty’ motto?
Are you too busy with the gym to worry about developing relationships and having some semblance of a life? Do you feel guilty for eating things that aren’t included in your diet?
If this is you—it’s time to take a timeout and adjust your attitude toward fitness.
Despite what you might have heard, becoming sexy and fit doesn’t equate to making numerous life altering sacrifices, missing out on meaningful events, or living a life that isn’t fun and fulfilling.
Will you have to make some sacrifices? Yes. However, I prefer to look at those as healthy adjustments to one’s life. Approaching life with the wrong fitness attitude will put a damper on your personal life and eventually lead you to resenting fitness.
If you’re new to fitness, stuck in a rut, or obsessing, then take a moment and review the list below of unhealthy fitness attitudes. Develop a positive fitness attitude before you start to pull your hair out.
Attitude #1- You avoid all your favorite foods
The number one complaint by people trying to start a healthier lifestyle is being forced to hand over their ‘unhealthy foods’. Healthier choices are needed in order to lose fat, but you don’t have to give up your favorite foods completely.
Depriving yourself of your favorite foods is a surefire way to resent fitness. Depriving yourself increases your chances of binge eating. After binging, you’re more likely to feel shame and guilt about your indulgences.
If you’re exercising and eating healthy the majority of the time, indulge in your favorite foods with zero guilt given. This lifestyle of eating healthy isn’t a one week or three month excursion—it’s meant to be with us forever.
Life is too short to never enjoy the pleasures of food.
Attitude #2- You take calorie counting too far
Calorie counting gets out of hand when you start to obsess over your daily choices.
Calorie counting doesn’t mean counting every little spec of food that you consume. Calorie counting doesn’t mean hitting your exact goal to the tee or it’s a failed day. If you want 150 grams of protein, but only reach 135 grams, then that’s a good job all on its own.
Calorie counting best serves as a tool to teach you about food and aim for a daily goal.
Attitude #3- Your confidence about your body hinges on others’ opinions
At times, the mind is a master of deception. With advertising, people sprouting up in our newsfeeds modeling in their underwear, and magazines showing off the latest celeb diet of ‘this person lost 15 pounds in 2 weeks’, our self-worth is tested everywhere we turn.
Relying on external sources to determine our self-worth is a recipe for disappointment.
The most important fact never stated is that those individuals are professionals—it’s their job to look as seemingly perfect as they do. They have professional chefs, trainers, nutritionists, maids, assistants, and any other kind of help. They don’t have to worry about taking care of their business, family, kids, school, cooking, cleaning, and the whole nine yards, as many of us do.
Give yourself a break and stop comparing yourself to professionals who have hours upon hours to invest into their fitness. As long as you’re working hard, acting with intent, and being consistent with your habits, you should feel no shame or guilt. Results will happen.
Will it take longer? Yes. But, who cares? The joy is in the journey and the growing that happens, not the destination. Gaining acceptance and letting go of needing approval of others will land you in a better place mentally and physically.
Attitude #4- You think fitness is a one trick pony
The beauty about fitness is that there isn’t only one way to go about exercising. Just as an RPG (role playing game) leads itself to exploration, discovery, and experimenting, your fitness is the same.
Allow yourself to explore different styles of strength training. Discover a form of yoga that you enjoy. Experiment with methods of eating until you find one that works for you. Fitness is meant to tag along while you live a fulfilling and adventurous life—not become a dictator of your life.
Attitude #5- You force yourself to do activities you hate
The majority of people are under the assumption that cardio (i.e. long distance running) is needed in order to lose fat and become fitter. This outdated rule couldn’t be any further from the truth.
While some love to run, which I have no problems with, it’s not the only solution. If you make yourself do something you despise or feel uncomfortable with, you’ll stick with it for maybe a week or so. Soon, willpower fades because there’s only a limited amount for each of us. Fitness is meant for exploration—not pigeon holing yourself into a one size fits all strategy.
Try new activities and see what sticks. Just because you’re not at a gym, it doesn’t mean you can’t improve your fitness. Get creative and go for a hike, explore your city and discover hidden gems that a car won’t show you. Go for a bike ride along the countryside, and most importantly, just stay active and enjoy yourself.
Attitude #6- You tend to avoid social interactions for fear of ruining your diet
It’s a Friday night and your friends give you a call to go out for drinks and unwind. You instead tell them, “I’m going to stay in” and use an easy excuse such as, “I’m too tired” or “I have a lot of work to do tonight.”
How do I know these are common excuses? Because I have used them myself. I was afraid of ruining my diet and losing all of my weeks progress. I was also unhappy and depressed.
If this is you, then tell yourself “no more!”. Let it be known to yourself that you won’t allow your diet to imprison you and cause you to miss out on activities with friends. Your macros are not worth becoming a hermit and living a life of solitude.
Go out and have a drink or two with no shame. Keep the big picture in mind. No one in the history of fitness ever lost all their progress from having a couple of frothy cold drinks.
Attitude #7- You workout to impress others
What’s your motivation for working out? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? Your social circle? Your pretend friends on Facebook?
If any of those are the answer, you need to adjust your fitness attitude. External motivation will only take you so far. The flame burning to impress others will only light so long before it flames out. Sustainability with fitness comes from a fire within that will always burn—no matter the outside world’s opinion.
At the end of the day, who cares how much you bench or squat? Who cares if your abs are or aren’t perfectly symmetrical? Who cares if you perform CrossFit, are into bodybuilding, or even general strength training? And ladies, it doesn’t matter if your legs aren’t toned to perfection.
Don’t waste your time worrying about the minutiae of details—you have a life to live.
Attitude #8- You quit when it gets tough
The first few weeks of weight loss were easy like Sunday morning. Now, the weight isn’t flying off, work is stressful, and life is hitting you from all angles.
Will you quit and claim, “weight loss isn’t for me” and “I’ll start back once life settles down”?
Those are excuses. And excuses only sound best to those who make them.
Let go of your excuses. There isn’t a better time to start than right now. Your setbacks and resistances are blessings in disguise to help you grow. Something will always show up and try to stop you.
Will you let it stop you again or will you keep marching on?
As W.L. Bateman said “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.”