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Stop Dieting, Start Living

 

 

By: Emily Oberg

 

We all have fitness goals, whether it’s losing weight, gaining weight, sleeping more or just feeling better- we're all on a quest to improve our health in one way or another. And while having goals is a great thing, the ways in which we achieve them can vary. When it comes to your health, you are your own boss and no one can tell you what your body does and doesn’t like. But due to things like Instagram, media and fitness experts who don't even follow their own advice, it’s easy to get misled and do things that aren’t that great for you or, won’t make you feel good. 


Counting calories is one of those archaic, ineffective things that I see people doing all the time. People will eat crap food- as long as it’s within their calorie count. Now, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in cheesy, sugary, fried foods every now and then, but when you’re trying to reach your fitness goals, we need to be smarter about what we’re putting into our bodies over how many calories we're consuming. Sure, portion control is a great tool when trying to get back on track, but limiting yourself to a certain amount of calories per day is just a recipe for disaster. Not only will you make excuses for yourself when you eat poorly, but you’ll feel like a complete and utter failure when you eat anything more than what you’ve told yourself you’re “allowed” to have. Starving yourself won’t lead to healthy weight loss, depriving yourself won’t make your body happy. When we do these things, we tend to stress our bodies out even more, causing inflammation which leads to feeling and looking bloated, ending up in a worse place than before. Instead, focus on fresh, nutritious foods, feeling full and most importantly, feeling happy. 


When I see people, usually women, obsessively counting calories throughout their day, I know it’s not sustainable and even worse, I know they aren’t happy. The key to doing anything well in life? Enjoy doing it. If eating purely raw vegetables isn’t making you happy, maybe it isn’t for you. If torturing yourself at the gym 7 times a week doesn’t float your boat, maybe it’s time to try a new activity. You can't be truly "well" if you loathe your routine and the foods you eat, you can't take care of your body if you hate it and aren't kind to it.


There is a strong misconception that being healthy is torturous when in fact, it can and should be enjoyable. Healthy food can taste great, working out can be fun. Find an activity or sport that you love, eat foods that are nutritious but also taste good. Don’t punish yourself. If you devour a large pizza and an ice cream sundae- don’t beat yourself up, enjoy every minute of it! If you don’t workout for a week or two, realize that it’s OK and it’s never too late to start over. Above all, be nice to your body and gentle to yourself. Focus on your happiness instead of your weight, and do what feels good. 

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