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?

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Thank you for that heartfelt, commonsense blog. Report
Wonderful blog!!! Thank you for sharing. You are such an inspiration. Keep up your continued success!! Report
Loved this blog, it is so true..I work at my own pace, and choose the foods that are correct for me..we are all different with different needs..we just need to find what is good for us, stick with it, and get healthy!

Elaine Report
Thanks for the post! I always love reading your entries. Very inspirational, thoughtful and sincere. Keep up the great work! Report
wise thoughts. Thank you. Report
Great analogy-- the puzzle piece fitting or not. Good luck to you, and thanks for the great article! Report
My one-size-fits-all answer it SparkPeople. And that's oxymoronic, because the heart of SparkPeople is that each of us finds what works for us as individuals. We choose our own fast breaks; we develop our own vision statements; we have separate motivations; and we see individual results. I think a few of the things that are common to all of us on SP is that we've decided to do the healthy thing in changing our lifestyles and we realize how important giving and receiving support are to our success. Report
As usual, you hit the nail on the head.. One of the things that struck me about what you wrote is the fact that people think they know what's best for you..and that you have to find your own way.. How true. But it is important to find that way, too. None of us like being judged about who and what we are, and what roads we have chosen to try to get healthy, but I find it is equally important to be open to everything else and more, not to judge other people's chosen journies. The most important thing I have learned in my journey is that it is a long road and will have many fits and's just really important to never, ever give up (as Winston Churchill once said). It's like trying stuff on for size, some of it fits, some of it doesn't. Thanks for sharing! Report
Thank you for writing this blog you wrote what I have felt. Apparently, the diet police can be off line as well online sometimes even in our Spark Teams and on the message boards. Your blog hit the spot I wish those that tend to be like the diet police will read your blog and realize your message. Thank you again for posting it. It was awesome. Report
Everyone is a different person; there can't POSSIBLY be a "one size fits all" approach!

You GO girl; you have chosen a very sane approach to improving your health! Report
awesome thank you so much, it means alot to see and hear all this good advise Report
The one-size-fits-all is DON'T QUIT. Having been a Sparker for 3 years, the one thing I see is that people QUIT. They give up and go back to eating pizza and drinking beer with their friends because they can't upset their friends by not eating what they do, etc. etc. etc. The only way to have success is to stay with it. Report
Great post, especially about eating pizza if pizza is what sounds good. That is what has made by weight loss journey so far extremely bearable. Report
Thanks, I really needed that! Report
Another great blog INDYGIRL! Words of wisdom as usual. Report
You are absolutely right! People ask me all the time what I do, and I tell them what I DO but I don't ever expect them to do it because I do a lot of exercise at a time. People seem to push Weight Watchers on me, and it's not something I like nor does it work for me. Calories work so much better to add for me, and control.

I've lost about 90lbs in 9 months, and it's taken very hard work. I think one of the big sources of the world's weight gain is the fast food industry. I cut out about 95% of fast food (other than Subway) and it's made a BIG difference. There are a lot of things that will have to change to cure the world's weight gain issue. Report
You have found not only a way of life that clearly works for you, but a calling. Your words are an inspiration. You get it! I find that the setbacks present the opportunities I need to fine tune, adjust, change what I need to in order to reach my goals. It's a work in progress this thing called life, and I'm finally understanding what "enjoy the journey" really means. Report
VERY well put! Sometimes I just can't stomach ONE more veggie, I want chips & salsa. And then other times the thought of any processed food makes me ill and I go "raw" for a day or two. Overall, I'm getting fit, losing inches and feeling better about myself. I don't pretend to have all the answers but it works for ME.

Best of luck with your continued success, you're making it and that is what counts! Report
I was watching The Doctors on tv today and they were showing 3 of latest diet fads. And Doctor Travis said that "slow and steady wins the race" I so do agree with that. I do know that each life style journey is different for different people. I include dark chocolate in my diet where someone else might not. I get up early during the week and run for an hour each time and someone else wouldn't. I eat 2 slices of pizza loaded with veggies and some meat where someone else would not eat pizza at all. You have to do what works for you. It's all about trial and error. Report
You are an inspiration to many. Your success motivates me to continue on those days when it seems as if nothing will ever change-I know that isn't true as so many things have if I would just stay in the moment and remain patient.
Your blog says it all. Very concise and well put. So very true-I have had similiar experiences many times. I love your approach. Report
How very true you are Report true! I tried a really rigid, restrictive diet and it worked to help me lose the weight but then really became too much as a longterm eating plan and was stressing me out so badly! I realized i had to modify the plan to make it work for ME. If something is too restrictive it will bring out obsessive characteristics in me. Really practicing and learning the art of moderation has been a blessing. It's taken some time to learn, and i still haven't mastered it 100% and maybe 100% will never happen....but any % is success to me :-) Report
Perfect explanation of the SparkPeople program! Report
well said. good viewpoint. Report
Awesome message. Loved this blog. Thank you for your words! Report
Thanks for sharing, everyone on this journey has chosen their own path, its not always an easy path, but sparkpeople is the choice I made, for me Not my family. Good luck on your journey.. Report
YES very well said & Congrats on the weight loss!
Love the saying there isn't any magic Bullet!!
Yes no drugs- potions or lotions or shake on stuff can do it for you but only you!! Report
very good blog! Report
Very well written. Love the way you write! Report
Extremely well written. Go Girl! Report
GREAT BLOG BETH!!!! I agree with many things you point out. Report
Great blog! I agree with you. Since I have focused more me, I have found it so much easier to eat better and log my exercise minutes. It makes a difference when your food, exercise and wellness choices are based on you and what you need and like. Report
Wonderful blog : ) You are so right! Report
Thank you so much for your blog, what good advice! Report
Beth, you always manage to touch my spirit and tell me just what I need to hear! Thanks so much for sharing your blog. You are such a TREMENDOUS INSPIRATION!!! Thank you. Report
As for me one size fits none LOL Report
It's just like in teaching reading. We use a mix of phonetics (decoding), whole language, and other strategies to help different children read.

Sadly, not only is obesity an epidemic but it is beginning to be considered the norm. Maybe we should not be afraid to be "diet police".

I order food pyraminds, food and exercise charts, etc. from the federal government in English and Spanish and send them home with my students. I am always telling them things about the food choices they are bringing. 85- 95% of my students now bring healthy choices for snack on any given day.

Not all parents know about healthy eating and exercise, believe it or not, and my students go home and teach their families about food and fitness!

You are so insightful. Thank you again. Report
AWESOME comment, this is how I have been making it through my W/L journey, you put it in words perfectly. The journey I am taking to get healthy and lose weight may not be for anyone else but it is working great for me. Best of luck to you in all you do. God Bless Report
Thanks! helpful as well as eloquent! Report
I loved this blog and you are so right!! We are all different and what we get here is the basics and a place to start in our new way of living. Report
Very well said. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Report
Grreat post... I know that exercise will help me lose weight better, but I am pleased with myself if I get in 15 minutes 2X/week. It is better than nothing, and it is what I can do right now. Report
Excellent. Learn to know yourself, introspect, try the change on for size, find the best fit, then do it! Report
Well said...great post Report
So well written!! Thank you BETH!! And so true... Just like we're not all shaped the same, how can our lifestyle be one-kind-fits-all. It just isn't.

Jocelyn Report
LOVE IT! You are so right on, Beth. So well said - it is a singular journey indeed! Thank you for sharing! Report
Great blog! Thank you for sharing and you are right on about the one size not fitting all! Report
I won't go on a fast or as it is euphemistically known as, a cleanse. I have stomach problems. Trying to get to the root of those stomach problems, resulted in my former diagnosis of hyperlipidemia (high blood cholesterol). Now I have dyslipidemia (dysfunctional blood lipid proportions) and am still on medication, at close to my happy weight. I will have maintained my weight in healthy range for over 7 years this November 15 God willing. I refuse to join the National Weight Control Registry because I do not want to be some doctor or shrink's guinea pig. If I have a problem, a goal or a concern, I have Spark Coaches Dean, Jen, Tanya, Nancy and the rest. The non-medical approach. But I also read the blog Debra's Just Maintaining, which I feature on my pet Team that I lead here on Spark. I would rather say bye bye to the lettuce binges and sayonara to any eating disorders ... Yesterday was Love Your Body Day! And that's just what I did ... Report