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Why Our Fitness Addiction Is Going Too Far

Why Our Fitness Addiction Is Going Too Far
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Working out, building muscle and fitness are going too far. That seems like a big call, but some people work out five times a week and get addicted to it without having an underlying purpose. Now, don’t get me wrong, working out is the best thing that can happen to a human body, but expending all your energy building up your body just for the sake of it, or only in order to look good for a 10-day beach holiday, is definitely not healthy. It’s proving that you don’t do it for your health and the great feeling you get after a workout, but that you do for other people.

I have personally worked out for eight and a half years now, and I found myself going too far with my fitness addiction in the last two years. But thankfully that time has passed, and I have other goals now. Being healthy is one thing, but being obsessed with calories, and sugar intake, and posting photos of healthy oatmeal and shakes all the time is not healthy. It’s spammy, purposeless, and it’s taking up a big piece of your time (and time is a nonrenewable resource). Here are some tell-tale signs of a fitness addiction gone too far, and some steps you can take to pull back.

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How many people would eat healthy if there weren’t any social networks?

Have you ever felt that people wouldn’t work out or eat healthy if there weren’t any social networks? That if they weren’t able to post every morning’s healthy meals, or share the pace and mileage they run via Nike Running or Runtastic, then they wouldn’t even bother to eat healthy or jog? The healthy reason for working out has been overtaken by keeping up appearances on social networks and the thrill of the cheering crowd around the performer. If you work out to be healthy and feel vigorous, then you shouldn’t make your focus in the endeavor that part of the day where you eat your meals or you do your workout.

Health is lifestyle, not an obsession

When I was obsessed with my health, I considered myself a healthy lifestyler and I surrounded myself with “healthy” people. We would meticulously check labels and aspire to specialty products we couldn’t really afford. However, I think that every human on this earth should make a difference in their lifetime. Spending time calculating calories and eating healthy without any underlying purpose is selfish and unproductive. From the individual’s point of view it’s a healthy obsession, but health is not something to think about all the time. Not only is it a pure waste of time, but it’s formulating the mindset of a purposeless human being. Good health is a lifestyle, with regular diet, dealing with problems and stress, and working out on a regular basis — without the “obsession” part. Sweating is great for the human body, but it’s not worth turning it into an obsession.

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When do we know it’s an addiction?

From my personal experience, during the first two years of my gym obsession I was addicted, boring, and even toxic around other people. I was telling them that they were crazy for eating bread, sweets and chips without them even asking me for advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you find yourself starting in on the healthy lifestyle subject without being asked, trying to ram down other people’s throats how eating healthy food and working out is the best thing and they must do it, then you are addicted.

If we want to encourage others to switch to a healthy lifestyle, then we have to be a great example of what that lifestyle looks like. Obsessing, constantly posting pictures on social networks, bragging about how we eat healthy all the time and that everybody should do it, won’t change a thing. But it will give a bad example to people and possibly put them off. Instead, by feeling energetic, fresh, and cheerful around others, we give them the best example we can of a healthy lifestyle. If people want to know your secret, then you can start with your speech!

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When you feel like you are going too far, try to determine what your motive is when it comes to working out or fitness. If you really want to be a healthy example for others, become a personal trainer or try to get a job in the health industry. But do it because that’s what really thrills you and that’s your vision. Otherwise you are just obsessing and wasting your time worrying about what the girls or the boys on the beach think about you. Ask yourself if you would you still work out and be obsessed with it if you were the last person in the world? If the answer is yes then you probably need to make living out of it. If the answer is no, just work out to feel good and don’t be obsessed with it.

Work out to feel good, eat healthy to be healthy, and don’t do it for others. Health is the starting point to happiness!

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Featured photo credit: Santa won’t be stuck in the chimneys anymore/Berge Gazen via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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