Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Elephant in the Room

Time for a reality check.  Let's stop ignoring the issues and behaviors that keep us from meeting our health and fitness goals.

  "Elephant in the room" is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.

There is freedom in truth

Making excuses about why you can't lose weight or get in shape is unproductive and leaves you feeling powerless.  Why not take control of your health by starting small and addressing the elephant that you've allowed to take up residence in your home?

I've had to have a 'come to Jesus moment' a time or two in order to identify the habits that have kept me from reaching my full potential.  I still struggle with staying on task, but refuse to revert back to living like I once did.

Some of the obvious truths that keep us overweight and unhealthy are: laziness, indifference, fear and denial.   It doesn't help that so many people are ignorant about nutrition or live in 'food deserts' where fresh, healthy foods are difficult to obtain.

Some of the things that hold us back aren't entirely our fault, but at what point do we pull out our dart gun and take that goal defeating elephant out?

When I first started getting serious about my work outs: I hired a personal trainer, drove across town, spent A LOT of  $$$$$ and still would end my evening work outs with a 32 oz Sweet tea from McDonald's on the drive home.  How ignorant was that??????? The ignorant side of my conscience said, "at least you're working out".  The reality was that I was drinking nearly 300 calories (280 per the McDonald's website) a day in tea.  The  website states there are approximately 69g of carbs in a 32 oz serving.  If you're not big about carbs and calories let's compare the tea with a McDonald's Strawberry Sundae.....

32 oz Sweet tea - 280 calories/69g carbs/0 fat
Strawberry Sundae - 280 calories/49g carbs/6g fat
You'd be better off with the Sundae and a glass of water IMHO.

 I can remember some days during the summer that I'd make 2-3 pit stops at a McDonald's drive through for a 32 oz tea.  I wasted hundreds of dollars each month only to drink 900 calories in glorified brewed sugar water.  I was killing myself in the gym but nullifying all the hard work I was putting in because of my vices.  I am happy to announce that the McDonald's Sweet Tea elephant has been massacred.   :)     (Ok, well, he does make an appearance once or twice a year in heavily diluted form and lasts me at least two days).  

Here are a few examples of several elephants I meet quite regularly.  These are the:

  • I don't eat that much elephant
  • I'm really not that big elephant
  • I only need to lose my stomach elephant
  • I don't want to lose my breasts elephant
  • I'm not that out of shape elephant 
  • I don't have time elephant 
  • I don't want to sweat my hair out elephant 
  • Eating healthy is too expensive elephant

The list goes on.....

It's time that we pull these elephant's cards.  

It's a shame that we would rather have perfectly 'coiffed' hair then lose the amount of excess weight that we carry around on our bodies.  Our joints, organs and heart our affected by being overweight.  But......later for hitting the gym 'cause I have a hair appointment today. O_o

 Some of these elephants will ultimately kill us.  We might as well stand in front of a herd in Zimbabwe and let them trample us based on the lackluster approach we take on our health and personal preservation.

You say you don't eat that much, but still can't lose more than two pounds in a year.  How about taking a moment to journal your food?  There are plenty of free online programs and cell phone apps that will allow you to track your food intake.  It's not about the volume of food you eat, you need to know how many calories are associated with these foods.  Try Spark People, MyFitnessPal, Calorie King, or the host of other calorie counter/food trackers that are online.  Chances are you're consuming way more calories then you are burning.  Everything that you put in your mouth counts.  Candies, beverages and snacks all can affect the scale.  That handful of chips could be a fourth of the calories you should be eating daily.  Or those two mini Twix could have as many calories as two Cutie (mandarins). <<<< I know this one from personal experience.  LOL.  Clearly the fruit would have been the better choice.  Too bad I waited until after I ate the Twix to find out how many calories I consumed.  You can't expect to lose the weigh if you keep doing the things that made you overweight.

Everyone's fitness goals are not the same.  Being fit and healthy doesn't necessarily mean being thin.  Don't worry about society or what the media portrays as 'attractive'.  Worry about strengthening your cardiovascular system.  Worry about eating healthfully to avoid those diseases that have been plaguing your family for the last three decades.  Even if you don't think you're out of shape ask yourself these questions.  Could I RUN for longer than two minutes if my life depended on it?  Could I do it comfortably?  How strong am I?  Can I hold up my own body weight?  Try doing push ups, pull ups, planks etc to determine this.  These exercises will help you build strength in your legs, arms and core that will help you perform everyday functional activities.  If you find that you aren't as in shape as you thought you were, no need to become discouraged.  GI Joe said that,"Knowing is half the battle".  You know there are things you should improve on, so do just that.

It's time to call yourself AND your pet elephants to the carpet.  Make this year about returning these large mammals back to their indigenous environment and not allowing them to camp out in your backyard!

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