Friday, June 21, 2013

Why fitspo HURTS your fitness goals

For those of you who aren't familiar with the term fitspo, short for fitsporation, it is defined by Urban Dictionary as, "images of active, strong, and fit women that promote proper exercise and diet. May also include images healthy foods." 

Now why would motivational images of healthy people do anything to hinder your fitness goals you might ask? Doesn't it seem like looking at pictures of what you want to achieve, should HELP you be motivated to reach your goals? 

Well at first glance it may seem like a good idea, but in the long run it leaves you feeling inadequate and hopeless, and here's why. 

From Pinterest

1. You will never be someone you're not. 

While images of women that look like goddess may be what you hope to someday be, the plain truth is that it's probably not possible. I'm not particularly overweight, but I fully understand that working out won't make my breast larger or perkier or make my hips fuller. 

How many of these photos that you're finding online are also photoshopped? When you find a picture of a gorgeous woman and decide you're not stopping till you look like that, you set yourself up for failure. After a lot of dieting and working out, even if you are skinner, you're still not ever going to look like that which will make you feel like you failed. 

Rather than inspiring yourself with women you don't know, use your favorite pictures of yourself when you thought you looked great! 

2. Fitspo neglects the fact that you are a human being.

One of my other major beefs with fitspo and most health advice and TV shows is that it ignores the fact that as a human being you do need calories. Most "health" and fitness advice makes it seem as though you need to work off all the calories you consume which is not only unrealistic but dangerously unhealthy. 

Take a look at this info graphic from Women's Health Magazine, a pretty reputable wellness source I would say. But look at what it's telling you. It essentially says that if you eat a donut you have to do 88 minutes of crunches or some silliness. 

While I can agree that yes, glazed donut's are not healthy and have a lot of calories I don't think you should be encouraged to work off exactly the amount of calories you consume. As a part of a normal diet you can eat that donut and still consume a little over 1,200 calories to meet your daily allowance. The idea that you need to punish yourself every time you indulge is ridiculous and will only leave you feeling bad about yourself. 

3. Fitspo doesn't encourage balance.

The final beef (not my last, but the last I will discuss on here) with fitspo is the fact that it treats health and fitness like something you should be thinking about 24-7. If you don't go to the gym today you are a failure, if you eat a hamburger instead of a salad you are a failure. 

This skinny just isn't possible for most of us.

Your health should be a process and a part of your life, but not your whole life. You should be able to enjoy your life and your health rather than consume yourself with working out and dieting. When you start skipping out on social plans for your workouts and let it take over your life you have gone to far. 

The key to a healthy life is balance and moderation, in everything. Including healthy eating and exercise. They shouldn't prevent you from living your life. 

Final Thoughts

So the moral of the story is that being concerned about your health is important but setting unrealistic goals and making it the focus of your entire life goes to far. Being obsessed with fitness and health is just as bad as not being concerned about it at all. 

The best thing to do is to make peace with who you are and understand that it's healthiest state may still not look like Giselle. 

As always, stay classy


3 Weeks Out

The plane ticket is bought, vaccinations are updated, and papers are signed. Everything is in motion and I can hardly focus on anything but Argentina! I'm a crazy mix of nervous, excited, and anxious to start my adventure over 5,000 miles away from home. In 25 days, I will be leaving the United States for the first time. 

Because I have so many wonderful friends and family that I would like to keep in touch with while I'm gone I thought a blog would be a great way to keep everyone up-to-date on what I'm doing. Plus its part of my requirement for being awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship (which is awesome!) so I'm killing two birds with one stone so to speak. 

So currently I've been spending all of my time finishing up last minute things I need to do before I leave  the country for 4 months. The list gets a lot longer than you would think! Here are some of the things I'm doing and you should do if you're getting ready to leave:

  • Renew all your prescriptions and get enough to last you the whole trip. I'm going to get more contacts so I have plenty for the duration of my time in Argentina.
  • Get a haircut! I am really particular about who cuts my hair so I'm going right before I leave to avoid having to find a stylist in Argentina and explaining what I want to be done in a second language. 
  • Arrange to pay any bills ahead of time. I have my phone bill set up to pay online so I can easily do it while I'm in South America. 
  • Let your bank, phone company, etc know you will be out of the country. This is a major pain in the butt, at least when it comes to the phone company, but you need to let them know you're out of the country to avoid having your accounts frozen or racking up massive charges for being abroad. 
  • Find out what essentials you can't get there. So this step is a little more complicated and just requires shifting through some google searches but I have a feeling it will be well worth my time. Depending on where you are going certain things may not be available. Apparently feminine hygiene products and hand sanitizer are more difficult to get in South America so you should bring some with you. That's a pretty good thing to know!
  • Read, read, read!! One of the biggest things I've been doing is reading websites and other blogs about Argentinian culture, customs, and tips for traveling safety. 
The hardest part of all of this is that I can't prepare or control what exactly will happen. I have no idea what will happen when I step off that plane in Buenos Aires, but I have a feeling it will be good. 

I'll post again soon about what and how I'm packing for the next 4 months in 1 suitcase, 1 carry-on bag, and 1 backpack. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Summer Loving: Is it worth the effort?

College has left me in a very complicated situation as to where I can say I live. Depending on the month I can be in Southwest MO, Kansas City, or Buenos Aires, Argentina. And after I graduate next spring I could quite literally be anywhere in the world. So if I do meet someone that seems interesting, where do I tell them I'm living?

The problem with being in a million different places for odd amounts of time is that you have enough time to meet people but not enough to create a substainial relationship that would be worth trying to have through the distance. Maybe my problem is that I'm not meeting people that are worth attempting the distance for but I'm not sure.

So when you're single and home from college is a summer romance really worth it? Well that really depends on a lot of things but here are some questions to ask yourself to help figure it out.

How did you meet this person?

If you met them in a bar at 1AM the chances of this relationship really going places are slim. Even if you are to start developing a relationship outside of an alcohol filled setting, the problem is you both will be questioning the others worth because of your circumstances and a serious relationship may never develop.

If you met during something a little more wholesome or doing something you have a shared interest in. IE: You're both lifeguards at Whitewater for the summer or you workout at the same time every week. Basically you have some kind of common ground to build upon then you're off to a good start.

How much do you like them?

This may seem like a silly question but it's one to consider. If you don't immediately answer A WHOLE LOT then your future is probably questionable. While this may not always be true, I'm a strong believer in first impressions and I think if you aren't intially crazy about a person, you never really will be.

If you do like them A WHOLE LOT then you have to really start thinking about if they are liking you a whole lot also. If they are then great! Get to work on building a stronger relationship for when you're not able to be together.

Is a relationship realistic?

This one more applies to situations of extreme distance, such as international love. Even if you loved this person, would it be possible for you to be together? Would you be able to visit or see each other. This would be for example if you feel in love with someone from say China and they just graduated college and have to go home. They may not be able to get a visa to permantly stay with you or you just may not be able to afford to see them. If your relationship has no foreseeable light at the end of the tunnel it will probably just end in heartbreak.

What are both of your expectations and goals?

For myself, a guy that planned on staying in the Midwest probably just wouldn't be a good fit because I plan on living abroad. But for other people a guy that planned on travel extensively may be an awful fit! It's important to know where you both are going in life. Also do you know what they are expecting out of this relationship? Are they looking for a long term commitment or not? If you have different expectations this can quickly turn into a train wreck.

The most important thing to consider with your potential summer romance or with any budding relationship is to make sure you are on the same page. As awkward as it maybe, you need to find out what they want and make sure that it is what you want also. Plenty of summer romances have turned into great, lasting relationships. It really just depends on the effort you are willing to put in.

As Always, Stay Classy