As February finally arrives and we leave the winter behind it is interesting to wonder will the January fitness buzz leave with it or remain as a long term change. It is said you must do something for 21 days for it to become a habit and then it will stick with you so generally speaking if you have stuck to your January fitness goals it will be easy to keep going with them through another few months. However, could it be possible that your decision to keep going or leave all where it is will depend on what your social media counterparts will do?
I myself did try to become more healthy and active this year. I joined a gym and cut down on all junk foods and take aways. I became interested in the trend and so I began to keep a close watch on social media to see what the approach of other people was and what new meals and recipes were out there to try. I became aware that there was a major other side to the January healthy eating that I had not previously encountered and that was the competitive side.
It was not the first time I witnessed people use social media to record their weight loss or targets or talking about their exercise regime. I had always viewed this as a positive thing! People would get to brag a little about their achievements and in return receive praise and compliments from their friends and in return this would probably spur them to keep going with their diet or new healthy eating regime.
Placing the emphasis on health
However, it became evident that for people around my age group, late teens to early twenties, it wasn't necessarily about a change in lifestyle and becoming more health concious, it was about becoming "fit". To me "fit" and "healthy" are on two completely different levels. While one can become fit by eating healthily, striving to be a fit person does not mean you are health conscious. From what I have noticed, it can mean cutting down to one meal a day and having shakes as substitutes. For others it could mean cutting carbohydrates completely out of your diet. Then it seems a competition has arrived with food pictures posted and barely any food on the plate. This cannot be described as a healthy way of living.
More emphasis should be put on the health side of dieting and eating instead of fitness and weight loss. It is a knock on effect of becoming more health aware that you will lose weight in a responsible and maintainable manner, instead of choosing a fad diet losing a significant amount of weight in one go and then being unable to sustain it.
A diet to lose necessary weight makes sense, becoming fit because you enjoy sports makes sense but starving oneself and depriving yourself of necessary nutrients does not make sense. In primary school we are taught the food pyramid – the basis of healthy eating. Everyone should strive to follow this from a health perspective first and for those wishing to get to the next level of fitness, experts are available at local gyms to ensure this is done in a safe and healthy way.