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Ditch the Fitness Excuses: How I Hope America Moves Forward in A Nation of Obesity

 

I believe our emotions are what drive our successes or failures. Motivation is an incredibly powerful emotion. It helps you challenge yourself and push through plateaus. This kind of energy can help us interpret messages in a positive light, envision possibilities, and then seek out those opportunities. My “What’s Your Excuse?” poster evoked motivation in some, particularly the audience reading this right now. For others, it sparked shame—and outrage. Those people labeled me a bully and a fat-shamer, and suddenly I was at the core of controversy. But when FitnessMagazine.com asked its audience what they thought of me, a large chunk of you said I was an inspiration. When Facebook banned me from its site and FitnessMagazine.com then interviewed me, you rallied on my side. You’ve defended me because of one common truth among us: We know our health is important.

So what do we do now? We want to stop the obesity epidemic in America. We aren’t complacent—or at least don’t want to be. Whether we’re overweight or super fit, we know none of this is really about me, the messenger. It’s about the message. The message is about balance, and yes, pushing past self-acceptance. It says that when we deprive ourselves from living a healthy life, we limit our ability to thrive. As I've said numerous times over, it's important to love yourself. But let’s challenge ourselves and the people around us. When something or someone refers to obesity as "normal," challenge it! I’m not saying to shame or bully anyone, but we must focus on progress.

On a daily basis we engage in a comfortable schedule, with comfortable people and comfortable habits. Instead, let’s focus on how there is always room for improvement. The first step in discouraging complacency is to create a goal and go public with it. This goal may be to fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans or to eat less processed foods. You need to write it down, set a deadline, and create daily steps in your life to hold you accountable. Accountability begins when you set up mental and physical enforcers that will push you to move out of your comfort zone – because let’s be honest, we are creatures of comfort. It’s only natural to gravitate toward what is easier rather than what is harder. So let’s fight the complacency trend by making life harder. Here’s how:

Choose goal that is significantly difficult, but not unattainable – like losing 20 pounds. Write it down and look at it daily. It might seem lofty at first. But if you break it down to achievable short-term goals (like losing one pound every week), you will be at your goal weight by Spring.

Create a team that will hold you accountable. Find these three people: A mentor, a supporter, and a follower. Your mentor doesn’t even have to be someone you see every day; it can be a complete stranger you look up to, like a healthy living blogger. And your follower can be someone who you can help. When you are someone else’s role model, it forces you to stay on course. There’s nothing quite like someone else looking up to you and wanting you to succeed.

Develop an effective workout. Get uncomfortable. If you are going through your routines and not seeing results, it’s a sign that your body has adjusted and needs a fresh challenge. Do yourself a favor, and when you feel like you’re working at a level 9 (on a scale of 1-10), bust out five more reps, run five more minutes or increase your weight by five more pounds. Your body will appreciate the extra work you put in.

Lastly, examine your nutrition. If you are not seeing results, the answer is often in the details. Start writing down what you eat daily and find areas where you can improve. Being more attentive to your food and beverage intake will require a little more time and effort, but nutrition is the majority of your success and can make or break you. Success begins within each one of us and transmits to the people around us. So let’s keep ourselves out of our comfort zones. By pushing ourselves, we will indirectly inspire others to reconsider their routines. Perform pushups in-between commercials and invite your partner to do them with you. Forfeit that sugary coffee drink with the girls and suggest a walk around the park instead. Ultimately, we are only in control of our own minds and health—but let’s encourage others to see what they can become.

More on Maria Kang: Inspirational or Insulting? Fit Mom Maria Kang's Controversial Facebook Photo Maria Kang Plays Defense Against the Haters (Again!) Post-Facebook Ban

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