Motive and the Stigma of Being Fit

Why do you work out if you’re already fit? Why do you work out if you’re not fat? You’re so skinny, you could afford a few pounds, so you can eat whatever you want! You shouldn’t go to the gym so much, you’re already skinny.

I know they’re supposed to be compliments, yet comments like these are just a reminder of the daily struggle to not undo all the progress made by not giving into temptations to eat unhealthy food and making exercise a daily habit.

The challenge of not reaching for that cookie, to not buy a bag of candy, to work out when I am tired and want to slump into a couch – did not end when I reached my health goals. While it has certainly become easier to avoid unhealthy food because I had made it a habit – the mental struggle has not gone away.

The reasons fit people keep going to the gym usually go beyond being able to eat extra dessert. Fit people are not “more entitled” to eat unhealthy food just because they work out. That extra slice of cake is unhealthy no matter who eats it. I think the mentality that we should exercise to “earn” the right to eat unhealthily is a dangerous one, because it is very easy to set yourself up for temptation. Ideally, the motivation to exercise should extend far beyond the “right” to eat cookies and chips.

* Side note: If this motivation does work for you, my intention is not to step all over it – it is a fine motive if it works! And occasional indulgences should be taken, if just to keep your sanity!

Far too often, people look at fit people and think that they spend too much time on their bodies and are superficial and stupid, not spending time on reading books and more intelligent matters. Perhaps it’s the distasteful “jock subculture” that is so often referenced in pop culture but arrogance and superficiality are not at all unique to the fitness world. While many fit people are very concerned with how they look, the benefits of being fit are more than that – mental clarity, a godlike immune system, increased confidence – the list goes on.

Choosing to become fit is not at all superficial – it is in fact a very intelligent decision.

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