What Does it Even Mean to Be Fit?
My god, please don’t tell me you’re going to take any of my advice on this subject. Surely there’s a wealth of information either from your doctor or even from online sources like health.gov, hhs.gov, choosemyplate.gov. These people are actual experts! I’m not! Also, I don’t want any liability issues here, or to become someone’s reason why their effort failed.
Well, what I will say is something that I hope changes your approach and helps you to view your efforts in a different, more useful light. This idea should be a way of setting realistic expectations for yourself as well as making your goal more like going for a wholistically healthy life rather than a shallow result. As one great and magnificent sage once taught us “... many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”
I think it’s fair to say that much of the strife and pain of being healthy and fit within society is that we are a very visual results-driven species. When we set a goal, we often don’t call it completed until it visually matches a comparison to someone else’s (usually digitally modified) physique. And because no two people have the same muskuloskeletal attributes or fitness regime, when that visual comparison inevitably fails to live up to the image we had in our mind we declare failure and oftentimes shut down all efforts. “I am not fit until my butt looks like Chris Hemsworth’s, abs like Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt’s chin”. Not only does this chimera contain parts from people that aren’t you, but it’s likely that putting all that together will make something charicaturely grotesque with clashing bits (see: any video game studio attempting to create a beautiful heroine by taking the best parts of all the actresses we find pleasing at that moment. Miranda from Mass Effect, anyone?).
So here’s where I want to help. You want to be “fit”. The there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is you’ll never look like what you want. Give up on that visual result-based goal, it will only cause pain. The good news is… you can and will be fit the moment you decide to be. Because being fit isn’t the end of the journey, it IS the journey.
This is not a cop out or feel-good "self love" junk. Because I’m not defining being fit as how you feel about yourself nor am I moving the goalpost so low as to make any effort as counting. You have to be honest with yourself. You have to take those health guidelines from the professionals and apply them with purpose. When you do you’re being fit. You are fit. Plain and simple. Still have extra pounds? Hey, if you’re making a good faith effort to eat responsibly and move your body until the muscles ache regularly… you’re still fit. You’re still fit if you can’t squeeze into The Size people say you should. You’re still fit if you have to get off the bike and walk the rest of the way up the hill. Living as a fit person makes you a fit person.
With this ethos in mind, you get the best bonus ever. EVER. It can be a problem the way society may exaggerate the value of beauty in certain aspects and there can definitely be an issue with developing an anxiety over not matching them (related to the above point where we’re such a visual results-driven species) but those ideals are informed by our biology. We find the aspects of symmetry, vitality, athleticism, and general fitness to be beautiful because that makes for a good mate and gives our offspring the best chance to carry the line to more generations. Regardless of that baggage, here’s the cherry on top -- when you live to be fit, you won’t get all those perfect abs and butts and chins of the magazines. You will however, get your OWN. Those abs are yours, that butt is yours, that chin is yours. You’ve chiseled them out of your own literal blood, sweat, and tears and I’ll be damned if you don’t come out of it looking like the Human Ideal (despite discarding that as the only reason you do this). You’ll give someone else the vapors the way those actors do!
Let lookin’ good be a mere symptom of livin’ good!