It is everywhere. We are bombarded by it all of the time. It affects our views of what health is and how we should exercise, eat and take care of ourselves. It is society’s view of what is beautiful.
We are bombarded constantly by images of celebrities and models who are paid to look good, be thin and in good shape. These people have a staff of people who they pay to keep them looking good.
If most of us had our own personal trainer, personal chef, personal assistant, and others, it would be much easier to stay in shape, and to look good.
Unfortunately, our society is so celebrity obsessed that we now view health as being ripped, lean, no body fat, 6 pack abs, toned and tan.
That view of health is unattainable (for most of us), unrealistic, and can be depressing when we try to compare ourselves to these photoshopped, doctored images of models and celebrities. In real life the models and celebrities don’t look like they do in pictures or on any screen.
Most of us do not have the genetics to transform our body into a ripped, lean and mean machine. In nature there are variations. Some of us are tall, while some of us are short. Some of us are thin while some of us are thick and big boned.
If you are naturally thick and big boned, you are not going to be able to get down to 4% to 6% body fat. Maybe it was possible when you were 20. Even if you aren’t naturally big boned, the older you get, the harder it is to change your body and get ripped and lean.
As we age, our metabolism slows down. We don’t need as much food to exist and be comfortable as we did when we were younger. We don’t recover as well from injuries and insults to our body. We also lose muscle mass, and have a harder time maintaining muscle mass. This is why as we age, it gets harder and harder to be lean and muscular.
For someone who is 50, overweight and hasn’t exercised in 10 years, it is not a reality to form your body into what the celebrities look like. Maybe you could if you devote all of your time to exercising, taking care of yourself and being healthy. But you would have to make yourself so miserable and deprive yourself of so much that in my opinion, it would not be worth it. Not to mention the fact that you would probably have to do things that are unhealthy and bad for you in order to get into shape like a celebrity or model, temporarily. It will be temporary because whatever you do get lean and thin and ripped, you have to keep doing in order to maintain a physique like that. It is almost impossible to keep up with the harsh and bad for you changes that usually accompany a drastic change in physique.
Don’t fall for all of those advertisements and infomercials that promise you will lose 20 pounds in two weeks and eventually look ripped, mean and lean. They are preying on the fact that many people don’t know how to go about getting into shape. They are preying on the fact that many people in our society are celebrity obsessed. And that many people feel that they will only be healthy if they can just have a body like a celebrity.
Being healthy does not mean being thin. Naturally thin people who don’t take care of themselves have health issues just like those who are naturally heavy and don’t exercise. Being healthy means taking care of yourself, eating right and exercising.
It is not all or nothing with exercising, eating right, and being healthy. You will still be healthier if you are exercising mildly and overweight than if you weren’t exercising at all. Even just walking 20 minutes 3 days a week is better than doing nothing at all. You will see and feel a difference from walking just 20 minutes 3 days a week. You will not lose your breath as easily. You will be able to walk up and down stairs without getting winded or tired. You will prevent any further weight gain.
Walking 20 minutes 3 days a week will not get you ripped and lean. But it is better than doing nothing and you will be healthier than if you were doing nothing.
The New York Times published an article recently that ran the headline you can’t be fit and fat. This was based on a study that when you read it, basically said: If you are overweight and exercising you will not be as healthy as someone who is of a healthy weight and exercising.
Well, that makes sense. But it certainly does not mean that you can’t be overweight and healthy. Even if you never get ripped and lean, it is no reason to avoid working out.
That is why you should exercise with the goal of being healthy, instead of getting thin. If you exercise with the goal of being healthy, then you will see a positive change in your health and feel better in general.
I feel that if you make weight the focus of your exercising, you’ll never be happy and satisfied. It’s like the saying that a watched pot never boils. If you fixate on losing weight, then it makes it much more difficult to do.
The more fixated on losing weight you are, the more susceptible you will be to get taken advantage by get thin quick schemes. Those never work. This makes it harder to stick with a moderate, or even mild, exercise and nutrition program consistently. The only way you will see a difference with exercise is through consistently exercising and consistently eating healthy.
With eating I believe in following the 80/20 rule. This means that you try to eat healthy 80% of the time, and the other 20% you eat more liberally. I find that this is a moderate approach to eating that is very realistic to follow, rather than an extreme diet that eliminates all of the food that you love
In the Pain Free Lifestyle program, you are slowly taken to eating healthy 80% of the time. It can be daunting to try to work your way up to that, unless you have a plan. I believe in doing things smarter, rather than going harder and being more intense. That is why I designed the Pain Free Lifestyle program to be a series of small, easy to follow steps that slowly and consistently lead you to eating healthy 80% of the time. Studies show that incorporating small changes into your lifestyle is easier to follow and easier to stick with long term. Long term is where you’ll see a difference in your health and physique.
It is only through consistent exercise and healthy eating that you will see a long term difference in the size of your body, and gain the health benefits such as less pain, more energy, less sickness, lower blood pressure, decreased chances of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. The list of benefits goes on. But you only get these benefits while consistently exercising.
That is why it is important to do low impact, low intensity exercising, especially when you are just beginning to exercise. A common mistake beginners make is that they go too hard. 90% of all people who start an exercise routine will have to stop due to injury.
That is why I don’t recommend running, or any of the other high impact sports or exercise systems. There are always people who those systems work for and can do mostly injury free for a long time. Those types of people are in the minority and I feel it is only a matter of time before the high impact and high intensity of the extreme workouts start catching up with them.
I have been fortunate enough to work with some old time, ex-football players. These guys played pro football in the 70’s and 80’s. Their bodies are shot from playing contact sports. I work on ex-ballet dancers as well. They are all riddled with osteo-arthritis, from a lifetime of pounding on their joints from high impact exercising.
If you don’t have to train for something, then go easy on your joints. This will allow you to save your joints. This will give you the best chance possible to decrease joint injuries and pain in the future.
Train so that you can get in shape for real life. Train to protect your body from the stressors, irritants, and repetitive motions of daily life.
Exercise to train for real life. Exercise and eat right to prevent real life stressors and irritants from affecting your body. Keep yourself is shape to do the things that you love to do, like travel, playing with grandkids, golfing, gardening, even work.
Exercise like you have arthritis, because we all will get it. Use exercise as medicine. Use it to feel better. Use it to sustain your body. Don’t use it trying to achieve and unrealistic societal ideal while doing damage to your body along the way. Be kind to your body. Treat your body well and your body will treat you well. Exercise and eat right sustainably. It is the Pain Free Way.