Don’t focus on diets, just work out!
Don’t believe me? I’ll tell you my personal story as to why I didn’t begin on a diet.
First of all, for all of you who think I had a head start due to my super-fast metabolism, you might be right but I certainly didn’t and still don’t think about it that way.
I didn’t like being very slim before so I tried to eat anything and everything that I could in order to gain weight. And it’s not that it didn’t work, it’s just that it wasn’t the ideal amount of weight that I wanted to gain (in my opinion, it was very very little). I had told my doctor about my weight and she said that it was normal so I didn’t need any kind of special supplements, just vitamins, but that didn’t convince me.
For years and years it was a big stress that wouldn’t leave my mind and affected my confidence. I remember the day I began taking interest in working out was when my first Seventeen magazine arrived to my house. From then on, I would always go to their fitness and health section first to see what kind of exercises were recommended and I would try to do them to see if I could gain some muscle mass.
Mind you, I was 14 years old and pretty desperate about my weight so whenever I would work out, I would repeat the movement until I turned pale. I wasn’t very dedicated to do it on a regular basis as I am now but I did do it a few times a week and then I would just stop and pick it up a week later.
The real moment that I decided to make working out a constant part of my lifestyle was when I was 18 years old. I realized that even if I did gain weight, that didn’t prove anything about my physical health, strength and stamina.
I was also really into dancing at the time so I would watch YouTube videos of dancers who were seriously on their game to improve their cardio and develop their style. So did I go to the gym? Nope, I watched videos on YouTube and imitated the exercises in the privacy of my home. I remember that I had vowed to always work out and if I ever missed a workout, it’s because I really was sick.
As I began my journey on a better and healthier me, I quickly realized my strengths and weaknesses. I was pretty flexible but I sucked at upper body workouts and cardio (I’m sure most of us suck at cardio the first time). But then something very interesting started to happen, I began to eat differently… and not because I wanted to, but because I simply didn’t feel like it. I just genuinely didn’t appreciate the feeling of not having enough energy to work out and do my best. Little by little, my eating habits change and I later realized that it was because my body was asking me for food that genuinely made me feel good.
Not just delicious food, but food that gave me energy.
For example, I was used to eating pasta, bread, and cookies all the time because that’s what I ate at home. But the days that I had eaten a really good amount salad, fruits and nutritious milkshakes, I felt better; I worked out harder without getting as tired as before. At first it was very vague and hard to understand but then it became noticeable because I paid attention to what I ate and I would count the amount of rounds and repetitions I was capable of doing.
Now as a climber, I see the consequences of good eating. If I eat a terrible mix of junk food and carbs, then my body won’t be as resistant as it usually is and I will even feel extremely lazy… like Patrick-the-Star-lazy. And I have developed a great love for vegetarian dishes (although I still eat meat a couple of times a week). But when I see people trying to get into shape, some tell me that they had started because they wanted to look and feel good. And in most cases, not all, they started with a dramatic diet.
This one girl told me that she was dieting by just eating soup for a month straight. I thought she was crazy! I’m sure there are people who do it and it works for them but that jump start from zero to eating soup every day is going to make your body say “PLEASE DON’T TORTURE ME THIS WAY”.
I had another friend who told me that he started a diet where he only drank green smoothies and no meat, so by the second week he couldn’t take it and ate 2 kilos of beef in one sitting.
I’m not saying that this will happen to everyone; some people can go cold turkey and rock it. But for most of us, we need a soft transition in which our body can slowly accept the change. Making a drastic change to our body could even be dangerous to our health (unless it’s recommended by your doctor, and even then you need to make sure your body is coping well with it).
So, for anyone who wants to begin their health journey, start by incorporating an exercise regimen a couple of times a week. Just like with changing your eating habits, work out to your level to avoid injuries. If you need some ideas, you could check out 8 simple exercises to get fit.
The important thing is to get started and little by little. Your body will let you know how you feel about the food that you’ve eaten and if you’re really dedicated and determined to focus on your health, you’ll make the necessary adjustments.
Therefore, pay attention to what you eat and instead of feeling guilty for what you’re eating; respect the changes you need to make so that you can perform your work out with more energy. You’ll possibly start to investigate a couple of nutritious facts along the way that will help you make better healthy decisions when it comes to planning what you’re going to eat as you get more curious about it. So don’t stress about what you eat and instead burn that stress in a good workout.