One of the big themes of any new year is “getting healthy. This is not a bad thing. The idea of a new year, a clean slate, you want to better yourself. But sometimes we go overboard. We feel like we need to change ALL THE THINGS and make unrealistic “resolutions” like going to the gym 7 days a week and never touching another carb again.
Please don’t do this. You’re setting yourself up for failure right from the start. It’s about consistent movement, not killing yourself for an hour at the gym.
Swap out the idea of sweeping goals that you KNOW you won’t stick to, for baby steps in the direction of where you want to go.
Think about some REALISTIC things you can do.
Taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator
Going to a yoga class 1-2 days a week.
Getting up from your desk and taking a walk around the building for 10 minutes a few times throughout your day.
We know you probably have some questions and want be perfectly clear.
Why do we recommend AGAINST killing yourself for an hour every day at the gym? For a lot of reasons.
The phrase “killing yourself” should speak for itself. Being HEALTHY (notice we didn’t say skinny… which we’ll get to later) shouldn’t be that hard. And if it is… you’re never going to stick to it. Find something you like and you’re a million times more likely to stick with it.
Plus, if you’re going for huge heart rate leaps, that means you’re doing things fast, and in a circuit or weight-lifting session, that equals injuries. It is nearly impossible to have good form AND be fast. Esp if you’re just starting out. Slow and steady… just like that turtle… wins the race. And this race is the one to health.
Elevated heart rate also means elevated cortisol in the blood stream. Since the beginning of time, an elevated heart rate meant the poop was hitting the fan. Either we were chasing down our dinner, or something was chasing us down to be it’s dinner. So cortisol is released to help you get thru that (what should be) SHORT BURST of necessary accelerated movement. It was never meant to be a drawn-out activity. And regardless of what the Biggest Loser conveys … our physiology HAS NOT CHANGED.
Cortisol in the blood means no fat loss. It’s as simple as that. So if you think running marathons is the key to health, you’re fooling yourself. Your body DOES NOT UNDERSTAND why you are STILL running. It thinks you’re still in danger so therefore, you need to hold on to every last calorie in order to keep you alive.
Caveat, if you love running… run. No one is telling you to stop something you enjoy. That includes drinking wine or eating brownies. Do what you like. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re doing it to be healthy.
So what are the keys to health?
Stop hating yourself. First and foremost! As one of our heroes, Jason Seib says “You cannot hate yourself healthy.” You must love yourself enough to do what you need to - to be healthy.
Stop thinking you can out-exercise a bad diet. It does not work like that. Health is 80% what you put into (and onto) your body… and 20% what you do “at the gym.”
Stop thinking Health is an event that because you “start” you therefore “finish.”
Being skinny is NOT the same thing as being healthy. Your goal should be health… fat loss will naturally follow. Notice I didn’t say weight loss. In weight loss, you’re also losing water and a bunch of other things that will level out. Weight is just a # based on the effect of gravity. Fat loss is the goal. A fit person that weighs 150, but has muscle (which we all know weighs more than fat) will look a whole lot better than someone who weighs 150 but has a body fat percentage of 42%. Does that make sense?
BE CONSISTANT. This is prob the most important thing. What you do the majority of the time will equal your overall results. That why if you “diet” 2x a year and forget all about health the rest of the year… you will not get there.
This is why we keep harping on baby steps and establishing habits that you’ll stick to. “So, what’s a girl to do?” I’m glad you asked.
First… remember that you would never start training for a marathon (like we said, we would NEVER recommend it for health) with a 20 mile run. You’d more likely start with a lap around the block.
Find an activity you like and will stick with. Find a friend to do it with you.
Find little ways to work movement into your day. (refer to last week’s episode for ideas)
Walk briskly, but not so fast that you can’t hold a conversation. Do this on as many days as possible. Aim for 30 minutes, but 10 minutes COUNTS!! Got more time… keep on going. Our genes recognize walking. They understand this what we were designed to do. They like it. They will not punish you for walking by holding on to calories.
Lift weights! This is important for so many reasons.
More muscle = more fat burning
Lifting weights = better bone density = less risk of fractures as you age
Stronger muscles/joints = less pain and injuries
More muscle = leaner look (and generally smaller pant size)
….. I could go on, and on.
Oh… and NO, as a woman, you will not get HUUUUUUUGE. You will get LEAN, and that is the goal. Woman that are competing in those competitions work extremely hard to look like that. Seriously, it’s their job and they are at the gym more hours than you are at work. Some of them even take enhancing drugs to get those kind of muscles. It does not happen by accident… or with a couple of 30 minute workouts a week.
Some other things to keep in mind… you must EAT. Restricting calories triggers Leptin, the hunger hormone. When you ignore it, you tend to binge eat. And IDK about you.. when I binge it’s never on broccoli.
If start out eating MORE of the kinds of foods your body understands, like chicken, beef, the rainbow of veggies and FAT (avocado, olive oil, coconut oil… NEVER canola or “vegetable” oil), your body will understand you’re not trying to starve it to death and will not hold on with a literal death grip to all those stored calories.
You must also SLEEP. Skipping your ZZZs triggers stress which triggers what?? CORTISOL!
And we now know that’s no Bueno for fat loss.
So… I hope we’ve cleared some things up about movement vs. exercise. I hope you have some optimism that a moderate movement plan can work for you and get you to your healthy goals. Yes, it’s slower than you probably want. But remember… what you make into habits will be what you do the majority of the time… which will equal your overall results.
Need help wrapping your mind around this? We get it. It goes against everything the media tells us. But “walking briskly” and “being nicer to yourself” doesn’t sell magazines. But the ACTUAL science (not sponsored by Kraft or General Mills) and millions of years of genetics don’t lie to us.
We are putting together a 6-week program to help you change your mindset and we’ll be looking for guinea pigs to test it out. Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in changing your mind-set on movement to change your health and fitness forever!