How I "Found My Fit" and How You Can Too

How I "Found My Fit" and How You Can Too

Posted on October 13 by Kathleen Trotter
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I live by this rule: the worse my mood, the more important my workout. I know that my future self will always be happier — and healthier both physically and psychologically — if I move. Some type of daily movement is — like brushing my teeth or telling my mom that I love her — a daily “non-negotiable.”

This has not always been my mindset. I spent the first 18 years of my life on the "be healthy, quit, be healthy, quit" seesaw. Then my mom gave me a membership to the YMCA as a graduation gift and for some reason it was exactly what I needed; the membership was my catalyst for change. I started to run and lift weights. Before I knew it, the girl who would do anything to get out of gym class was running marathons and lifting weights.

I became a personal trainer and fitness writer in large part to share my appreciation and respect for healthy living with others. The more years I spend in the fitness field the happier I am that I chose this profession; exercise has the potential to be transformative — to be energizing and empowering. Unfortunately, the prevailing health discourse is anything but encouraging; it is judgmental, overwhelming, unrealistic, and often simply plain unsafe. It promotes a one-size-fits-all health plan that I am just not okay with.

"..there is no "one-size-fits-all" health plan; everybody is different."

One of my main goals as both a trainer and fitness writer is to offer a counter discourse — a version of health that is realistic, empowering, inviting, energizing, accessible, and individualized.

Hence my book, Finding Your Fit: A Compassionate Trainer&;s Guide to Making Fitness a Lifelong Habit.

One of the main take-aways of the book is that there is no "one-size-fits-all" health plan; everybody is different. Everyone requires a tailored recipe for success. The intent of the book is to provide readers with the tools needed to build their own health recipe so that they can connect the dots between wanting to make a health change and actually making it.

I know that exercise changed my life. I also know that I have been able to maintain my new lifestyle because I have developed a plan that works for me; a plan organized around my realities, goals, and life rhythms. I want my readers to have the tools to develop their own recipe for health success so that they can also feel strong, energized, and motivated.

 

1. Stop trying to follow someone else&;s version of a "perfect" program.

Put together a unique and realistic plan tailored to fit your individual lifestyle realities.

The plan should take into account your goals, your health history, your lifestyle, your finances, your genetics, and your unique relationship with food. You can stress eat or binge eat out of loneliness on any diet — lots of people overeat gluten-free cake and Paleo treats. If you don&;t become aware of your eating patterns, your personal food habits will simply follow you from nutrition program to nutrition program.

 

2. Own your health choices

Take the time to actively "set yourself up for health success" — the key words being own and actively. You are an adult; take responsibility for your health choices.

Adopting a healthier lifestyle isn&;t a passive process. If you don&;t take the time to set yourself up for success, you might as well be setting yourself up for failure.

Always have a plan...and then a back-up plan.

 

3. When you fall off your health horse, don&;t allow that not-so-great choice to spiral into multiple unhealthy choices.

 

 Instead, learn from your unhealthy decisions so you get back on a more informed rider. Did you let yourself get too hungry? Were you emotionally eating? Did you not take the time to set yourself up for success? Make a mental note of what went wrong, then proactively avoid those situations in the future.

Adopting a healthier lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. Your unhealthy habits were not formed in a day. It is unrealistic to think that they can be replaced overnight. Aim to simply have a greater number of healthy habits this month than you had last month — "trend positive."

 

4. Adopting a healthier lifestyle is about self-care.

It is a privilege. It is easy to forget that eating well and exercising are things we are doing for ourselves not to ourselves. Embrace how lucky you are to have the power to make healthy choices. Find modes of exercise that you are genuinely excited to 

do; garden, walk with friends, or play a sport. Think of healthy foods that you love — such as fresh berries or sweet potatoes — then include those in your weekly diet. 

 

5. Frame daily movement as a “non-negotiable.”

Instead of thinking of movement as an if, frame moving as a when.

Always remember that some movement is always better than no movement. Every bit of motion adds up, and every situation can be reframed as an opportunity for movement.

 

Finally, remember that when it comes to exercise, getting started is usually the hardest part, so use my 10-minute rule. Tell yourself you have to do something for at least 10 minutes. Anyone can do anything for 10 minutes. If after 10 minutes you want to stop, fine. At least you will have done something. Once you start you will usually end up doing a full workout.

Stop waiting for the "perfect" day to start moving. Get up and go for a walk!

Kathleen Trotter

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 8, 2015
Kathleen Trotter photo

Kathleen Trotter

Kathleen Trotter writes for the Globe and Mail and Huffington Post, blogs for Flaman Fitness, and makes regular TV appearances. Kathleen holds an M.Sc. from the University of Toronto and a nutrition diploma from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. She lives in Toronto.