Why You Need to Ditch the #NoExcuses Fitness Mentality
One of my biggest regrets was not studying abroad in high school or college.
At the time, I was so obsessed and consumed by my “healthy” eating and exercise regimens (aka what I call hellthy) that I was scared to death to leave, even though I wanted to.
After I graduated high school, I took a baby step and went to Spain for a month to improve my Spanish. Sadly, food and exercise were my focus and preoccupation the whole time I was there.
I was so worried about how I was going to get in my workouts that my first order of business, before seeing the Alhambra or going to a flamenco show, was finding a gym where I could exercise. As for food, oh my god I cringe now at the thought of this, but I wouldn’t eat my host mother’s home-cooking because most of it was fried, white (as opposed to brown or wheat), or otherwise “unhealthy” in my mind. It pains me now to think I was so rude and offensive to this kind and generous family who opened their home to me.
But, you know what’s even more eff’d up than my regretful and insulting behavior towards my gracious host family? That according to the health and fitness community, I was doing the “right” or “healthy” thing in that situation.
You’ve undoubtedly seen the hashtag #NoExcuses to talk about workouts and “clean” eating rules and regimens. Heck, you’ve probably even used it yourself.
The concept is simple: never make excuses to miss a workout or veer off your “clean” eating regimen.
If it’s leg day and you have a party to go to, skip the party and hit the gym—#NoExcuses. Or, oh, you’re taking a cultural exchange trip to Spain? #NoExcuses. While all the other kids on the trip are out sightseeing, drinking their weight in sangria and feasting on authentic Spanish paella, you better be holed up in the gym getting in your workouts and eating the nasty protein bars and oatmeal packets you brought—#NoExcuses!
Because of this f@&%!ed up #NoExcuses mindset, I didn’t have the study abroad experience I’d always wanted. In fact, I have more regrets about my Spain trip than amazing, fond memories. I know now that even if I took that whole month completely off from working out and eating “healthy”, nothing bad would have happened to me. Nothing. I would still be perfectly fine, healthy and have the exact body I have today 13 years later (as of the time of this posting in 2015). I know now that the Spain trip was an excuse worth ditching my exercise and food regimen for.
The crazy thing is this #NoExcuses mentality is somehow marketed as a good, healthy thing. A thing we should all strive for and live by.
Take it from me and please don’t!
Although well-meaning, this #NoExcuses fitness mentality is misguided and unhealthy [click to tweet] in several ways:
- It shuns (even somewhat villainizes) rest days, which are a necessary and crucial component to any healthy, well-balanced fitness routine.
- It encourages us to ignore our body’s needs. If you’re sick, tired or injured — those are just excuses — workout anyways.
- It completely ignores the fact that there are many other factors that contribute to our whole-istic (mental, emotional, spiritual, relational and physical) health and well-being besides food and exercise. For instance, having poor social ties has been shown to be even worse for our health than not exercising.
- It mistakenly prioritizes food and exercise above everything (and everyone) in our lives, which can lead to an unhealthy obsession with food and exercise and make for a life full of regrets.
While food and exercise are important, they aren’t the most important things in life.
That’s found in people—relationships, community, family, love, strangers. And, it’s found in our bucket lists.
If you miss out on the people and things (like giving back, living it up, or studying abroad) in life that really matter to you because of this #NoExcuses fitness mentality, one day you’re going to look back and have a slew of regrets, just like I did with this whole Spain experience.
Don’t make the same mistakes I made. Don’t skip out on living your life in order to stick to your food and workout regimens. [click to tweet] At some point, you’re going to wish you’d missed that week or two of workouts and “clean” eats that time you went to Spain or Thailand or Hawaii. You’re going to realize it wouldn’t have mattered — that it wasn’t a big deal. It wouldn’t have negatively impacted your health in the long run. It would have been totally fine. You would have been more than okay — you would have been happy and made some incredible memories that last your lifetime.
Yes, exercise. And yes, eat nutritious foods. But all in moderation.
Be healthy to live your life, don’t live your life to be healthy. That way you won’t wake up one day full of regrets about all the things you didn’t do as a result of your #NoExcuses fitness mentality.
Because, I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather live a life that’s so incredible and full that I have tons of excuses to not spend my life in the gym or meal planning or counting calories or macros.
I’d much rather live a life of #NoRegrets than of #NoExcuses!
Ready to break away from the #NoExcuses fitness mentality and start living a life of #NoRegrets?!
Enter your info. below for a free guide called the “#NoRegrets vs #NoExcuses Litmus Test” that walks you through a series of questions to help you break free from this well-meaning but misguided mentality and start putting the ‘life’ back into your healthy lifestyle. That way you’ll have #NoRegrets. 😉
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It’s not too late! While you can’t change the past, you can change the future. In 2014, I returned to Spain (with no gym clothes or oatmeal packets) and got a second chance to do it right, completely free from my old hellthy lifestyle and the #NoExcuses mentality.
To putting the ‘life’ back into your healthy lifestyle!