Life is Not 'One Size Fits All'

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Beth Donovan, ~INDYGIRL

Healthy lifestyles are not just one of a kind; they have to fit the individual. How many times have you thought that if you could just do what your friend or a favorite celebrity did, you could look just like her? Yet when you try to fit their routines into your life, eat the foods they like, and do the fitness activities they love, you’re miserable. When you inevitably toss out their lifestyle, you feel like you failed. It wasn’t you that failed. It was just a bad lifestyle fit.

We are individuals on our own journeys and no two are exactly alike. Not everyone can work out for an hour a day. I have to break my workouts up into 10 minute chunks throughout the day because of my disabilities. They used to be 3 minute workouts. My journey isn’t the same as someone who is able to do a 30 minute workout or a 5K, but I’ve still lost 144 pounds and am getting fitter by the day. I have muscles I can actually feel now!

What about eating? Shouldn’t you follow a specific eating plan and have foods you never eat again? Not in my journey. I tried that before and it left me feeling deprived and led to binge eating later. Now I eat what I want in smaller quantities and count it on the tracker. If I’m craving pizza so bad I can’t see straight, I might have it for two meals in a row in a reasonable quantity. I don’t have the fear that this will be the last pizza I will ever eat anymore, because I can have it any time I want it.

A pet peeve of mine is “Diet Police,” those well-meaning individuals who ask, "Should you be eating that?" They try to control you all in the name of your good health. In my journey, they know better. When someone tries to talk me into bariatric (weight loss) surgery or some fast--and they do try--I politely refuse. If they persist, I reach into my purse and give them a SparkPeople card with my username written on it. I tell them the benefits of getting healthy the natural way. For them though, those are reasonable answers to their fitness problems. I don’t feel they are any more right or wrong than I am. We are all out to save our lives from this obesity epidemic and there are many options out there. The trick is finding what works for you personally.

With so much advice out there, so many tips and tricks, so many magazines promoting new miracle diets, so many medical discoveries happening in the field, the weight loss industry is huge. Unfortunately so is the problem of obesity. We have celebrities promoting diet clinics, ads for diet pills on every other magazine, and doctors treating patients with disrespect if they can’t lose weight. Even insurance companies are asking the obese to pay more for insurance or flat out refusing to cover them. (I was refused coverage once at 250 pounds back in 1989.)

My point is that the world is changing, my friends. Obesity is now considered an epidemic and we are all responsible to find a cure. It isn’t going to be a one cure fits all fix, like a vaccination. We each have to find our own way. We know some basics, that calories in and calories out are the baseline answer to the physiological problem. It’s the psychological, genetics, disease related, and who knows whatever else, we need help to solve. Those things are all variables to which there is more than one problem and definitely more than one solution.

What works for me may not work for you. What works for you or any movie star definitely does not work for me. I mean it could if I were well and LOVED the gym and not eating. That isn’t me, however. What really can work is finding a way to change our lives without disrupting them severely. That’s the trick. Read, watch, listen, talk, absorb, gather all the information you can and make those changes one by one as they suit your individuality.

How do you know what fits your individuality and how do you push out of your comfort zone without over doing it? The change should fit into your life like a puzzle piece you’re trying out for a fit. Keep turning it around and trying it at different angles to see if that’s the right one. If it isn’t, it will never go in place. Try another. The change may feel slightly unnatural, but it shouldn’t make you panic. That’s how you’ll know that it’s just enough of a change. Stick with it until it feels natural and then try another change.

No lifestyle is one size fits all. No single answer will solve all obesity issues. Nobody is a failure at this complex problem; they just haven’t found their individual answer yet. Keep searching because it is out there.

What is your one size fits all strategy?