You Need an Attitude Adjustment

The guest blog today comes from Kelly Turner. She is an ACE certified personal trainer, fitness writer, and eating disorder activist from Seattle, WA. To read more from Kelly or submit questions, visit her at GroundedFitness.

One of the most common statements I hear as a personal trainer from people looking to start working out is “I always start out really motivated, but end up sabotaging myself and quit.”

From this one sentence, I can tell everything about that person’s attitude towards food and exercise.Eating and exercising should be fun and pleasurable, but for most people they are the cause of guilt, remorse and confusion. I firmly believe that weight loss information overload from magazines, TV, news and the Internet, coupled with a lack of basic knowledge of nutrition and fitness, scare people away from doing what they need to do to get healthy and be happy.  There are so many “tips” and “tricks” and “dos” and “don’ts” on how to eat right and exercise, which leads people to believe it’s impossible to do on their own with good old fashioned hard work.

All these rules attach a negative connotation to food and exercise. Ever since we are little, exercise used as a punishment (remember running laps in PE?) Too much food is “bad.” I had too much food, therefore I am “bad” and today was a “bad” day. I need to exercise to undo the “bad” therefore exercise is my punishment.

Ease up on yourself. Food and exercise are not opposites. Working out does not entitle you to eat more food, and exercise should not be used to undo overeating. Food is fuel for your body to do the things you love.  Food is fuel for your body to get through your workouts which are an opportunity for you to take some time for yourself, improve your life and health, and help you look good and feel confident. These are great things: great things should be enjoyed.

Notice I never said what to eat, how to eat, how often or when to exercise.  Yet, everything I stated is all you need to live a healthy lifestyle. I didn’t mention specifics because they don’t matter. You already know what you need to do: move more, and eat less. It’s your attitude towards these things that holds you back.

Don’t think of your healthy lifestyle as  pass/fail test: you’ll always fail.  It’s a linear road.  If you have an off day, you don’t have to start back at the beginning.  Leave a little breadcrumb and move on. Eventually, the breadcrumbs will get further and further apart.  You’ll never be perfect (I certainly am not), but focusing on doing the next right thing, and spacing those little breadcrumbs further and further apart will not only get you to your goals, but also make for a happier you, which after all, is the ultimate goal.

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