You joined a gym, Running Room team or Yoga class. You have made some tangible goals and are making changes to achieve them. You love being active now and want to be a healthier, happier, better you. You may have stopped going out for those weekend cocktails and made way over to green smoothies. You say, “no thanks” when you are offered the dessert menu. On your way home from work, you bypass the fast food joint, because even though you’re dog tired and a super-sized order of nuggets and fries would be so easy right now, you want to prepare a home cooked meal for yourself and/or your family. You are going to pass on a late Friday night out because you want to go to bed early for an early morning 5K. Friends and/or family begin to notice these changes, and words like “obsessed” “health nut” “boring” or statements like, “you live at the gym” begin to swirl around.
When people describe your new-found love for physical activity “obsessive” just what do they mean? Exercising to achieve and retain health is not at all obsessive in any respect to me. Exercising is necessary and must be habitual. It is taking care of yourself and putting your health into your hands. Brushing your teeth twice a day is a healthy habit, but you don’t hear people saying, “you’re such a toothpaste nut! How can you brush your teeth everyday?” Oral care is necessary, and that is how I view physical activity. Necessary. I will go further with this analogy. You care for your mouth because you don’t want your teeth rotting. Well, I exercise because I don’t want my body rotting. It is the only one God gave me and I want to take care of it as best as I can and if this makes me obsessive then so be it. The same can be said for making fresh, healthy food choices. I would have considered myself obsessive years ago, when I binged and dieted and binged and tried every diet out there on a Monday morning. That lifestyle was counter-productive and even I found myself becoming over the top when I would never allow myself to eat a slice of toast or a whole banana. Choosing a salad as your side dish instead of fries is not and should not be taken as being over the top. I know that we cannot know what the future holds. A positive diagnosis of a disease can happen to anyone, even if you are doing all the things to prevent ill-health. Why though, should we help disease win by fueling our bodies with crap, smoking, excess and living a sedentary lifestyle? Shouldn’t we be doing what we can to stay healthy? I have never been a smoker, and I can imagine that it must be tremendously difficult to quit, but I have seen people who were pack a day smokers who have quit. My vice is sugar. I love anything sweet. I could easily devour a Coffee Crisp like it was my job every day. It was very difficult to cut back on the things I love and walk pass the candy shelf, but I did. I thought of the long-term negative side effects sugar has and I believed that it was what I had to do to achieve wellness. As I become older, the more I try not to take my health for granted. I do not want to be overweight, diabetic or out of breath when I climb a flight of stairs a few years from now.
How do you know when you are becoming obsessive? I could not answer that, because it is a personal conclusion. I just look at it through scenarios. For example, *Jane’s son’s final soccer game is the same night as her favorite Zumba class, so she chooses the Zumba session and lies to her son and says she can’t make it due to a queasy stomach. As soon as little Johnny is out the door with daddy for his game, she throws on her fluorescent Zumba tights and makes a beeline for the gym to get her mambo step on. Obsessive? Perhaps. Jane takes more than two Tabata classes in a single day, but never feels satisfied with her progress. She is still constantly looking at her jiggle, wiggle and junk in every mirror she comes across, while criticizing herself. I would define such behaviour as unhealthy and obsessive. As for all that Tabata, one class is sufficient. I would even go as far to call myself out as being a former Jane in the latter scenario.
So, here comes my big finish as I call this post a wrap. We may not be Venus Williams, Sydney Crosby or Monica Brant. Fitness may not be our jobs, but it is our job to take care of our temples. If living a balanced life which includes your favorite activities on a regular basis and choosing quinoa over cake have people calling you “health nut”, or “crazed fitness freak,” these folks are probably not at the place to be advocates of their health yet. They may still see exercise as a tedious chore. They have yet to come to the discovery that a body at constant rest goes to rust. Hopefully, they will get there one day by seeking and finding an activity they love and are consistent with. I can guarantee, once they start feeling the benefits of eating better and exercising, they too will become one of us nuts. Trail mix anyone?
To learn more about why you must exercise, visit my friend Colin’s Vlog at: http://uberbeastmode.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/no-matter-who-you-are-you-must-exercise/