The Trap of Thinking You Are Not Capable of More Or You Are Not Doing Enough.
What a precarious and confusing position to be in indeed! Some of us think that we can go no further when we really can and others think they should be doing more because they can’t give themselves a break! Are you doing enough to reach your goals ? Or should you be doing more? Trying to figure this out requires a proper perspective on things.
If you are new to fitness or you have been around for a long time you should know that being “fit” is actually normal. If you are fit then good job! You are in a small group nowadays it appears. But, We are supposed to be fit . Things like running and jumping and lifting weight are what we were put on earth to do. In modern-day life the act of exercising has replaced good old-fashioned hard physical labor. The kind of labor like hunting and farming and building our homes in the forest and defending our land or our families from bears and wolves.
My 1st thought is, if I were a caveman would I be physically capable to survive? I know that mentally I probably am not. Modern living has really made me cushy in that department! But physically I think that I can survive because I work out and my body is capable of handling the stress. By today’s standards people who work out and eat right are said to be in good shape. But, by caveman day standards I would be normal. If I was anything less , I would be dead. I would not survive that kind of world.
So it appears that perspective is very important. If you are out of shape and live a sedentary lifestyle then you may feel that it’s normal. When you look at a person who trains 3 times per week and has some decent muscle tone you may say that they are in “good shape” meaning better than normal. This shift in perspective is dangerous because we can get caught in continually setting the bar lower and lower. What was once sub-par becomes the new normal. Eating hot dogs and ice cream is normal , drinking soda is normal, smoking a cigarette is normal. Eating grilled chicken and drinking water is above normal, going to bed early and waking up and eating oatmeal is above normal. Working out 3 times a week is above normal. See what I’m getting at here? It’s all about perspective.
If you do not exercise even a little and you eat junk food all the time you are living an abnormal lifestyle. You need to get healthy. You need to get normal. You CAN do more.
But lookout! Many people who do train regularly and choose to eat very healthy can get caught in this same trap. I know because I have been there before! We train hard and have work and big responsibilities so we sometimes get side tracked. We miss workouts and we feel bad even though we may have been hitting it hard for weeks on end. We are our own worst critics! Then we pick up the magazines or see someone on YouTube that is jacked beyond belief and we feel even worse. Instead of knowing who we are and where we came from we begin to compare ourselves to others. We look in the mirror and think “how come I work so hard and follow all the programs to a ” T ” and I don’t look like that. You question your own motivations and Uh Oh. Now you are in trouble!
When we want to start looking like the men and women in magazines there is going to be some serious disappointment. Unless you actually want to be a model and do the extreme things that they do to look that way, forget it! It is not reality. When you see a guy who has less than 10% body fat and huge muscles or a woman who has a great six-pack and major muscle tone and tanned, you are seeing a snap shot in time. A brief and fleeting moment. After that photo shoot the six-pack abs start to disappear under a layer of fat. Which is normal! How do I know it’s normal you say? Because in order to look that way they had to do extreme things, not normal things. Extreme can be anything from a certain kind of diet to taking certain kinds of supplements or drugs. One example of this is the act of taking diuretics to decrease water retention and pull the skin tight against the body. This kind of behavior makes for a good photo shoot but not for a healthy lifestyle. That’s because it is not normal.
So don’t let the hype screw up your perspective! If you are committed to a regular fitness and nutrition regiment and make it a priority to be healthy then you are doing right! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you are not capable of more (because we all are capable) or even worse that you are not doing enough (feel proud of your hard work and revel in it). You are the best judge of yourself. Speak with your trainer at the gym and ask if you are on the right track. And above all put down the muscle mags that try to suck you in and sell you things you don’t need. Train hard and live your life!
- What Happens When the Pursuits of “Skinny” and “Strong” Collide? (fitandfeminist.wordpress.com)