The fitness industry spends an insane amount of money crafting and selling an ideal body image and lifestyle. We’ve allowed them to sell us on their definition of healthy. There’s this belief that’s being perpetuated that unless you look like they do and can do what they can do, you aren’t fit, healthy or strong. This idea, which none of us are immune to, is taking a toll on people’s minds, bodies, and motivations.
I would argue that we’ve lost our way and are continuing to put our emphasis on the wrong syllable about what being healthy means to us. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that movement is the “bomb” and that we must continually expand on our movement tool box, but the idea that we need to potentially ruin our health in order to fit into a narrowly definition of “healthy” is just plain crazy. Life is hard enough without being told that you aren’t good enough, and worse when it’s someone else’s idea of what is right.
So with that said, when I look at my personal journey with my own health and the advice I give to my clients, I always come back to 2 questions:
- What is the cost/benefit analysis?
- Does this choice contribute to my long term goal?
Cost /Benefit Analysis
Each choice we make in life has a consequences. No matter what I choose to do with my time, diet, money and energy, there is a consequence. Wikipedia defines cost benefit analysis as:
“a systematic approach to estimating the strengths and weaknesses of alternatives (for example in transactions, activities, functional business requirements); it is used to determine options that provide the best approach to achieve benefits… “
I often use energy as my currency in order to assess the cost and benefit of my choices. To me, having enough energy to enjoy my day to day activities is really important. I’m not willing to sacrifice sleep, gut health, skin tone, energy or anything else for the sake of having one more great workout or fit into someone else’s idea of what I should be doing.
Is This Choice Contributing to My Long Term Goal
We all have a lot of long term goals; health, financial stability, strong relationships, peace, etc. A huge turning point in my life was when I began looking at my day-to-day choices and activities and brought those into line with my long term goals. When I was able to do that, it made my day-to-day choices easier. No longer did I have a bunch of “shoulds” in my life, rather my choices felt more self-driven because I was actually able to step back and decide if that cookie, workout, emotional reaction or whatever it was, was getting me closer or further away from my long term goal.
That might sound simplistic, but that is the beauty of it. Once I gave up the idea of what life should be, according to media or anybody else was telling me, I was able to make the choices that were right for me.
As we round our way into 2017, you might be considering making changes in your life. I would softly propose that holding these two lenses up to your choices might be a good way for you to assess what paths are right for you.