Working Out for the Right Reasons

I’ve always been a little husky (chubby; I’m not a dog), but I’ve always been active and never considered myself fat. I just felt uncomfortable taking off my shirt at the beach, or anywhere for that matter. But it was never a serious problem–until college.

I kept myself in pretty good shape for theĀ first couple of quarters at college because I had walked on to the baseball team. But once I stopped playing competitive sports, I put on 20 lbs in a matter of months.

Over the past three years, I have tried and struggled to lose weight and keep it off. Between jobs, school, and the stresses of #adulting, I have struggled to maintain a routine of healthy habits. I can make all the excuses I want–about my situation, about tuition costs, about minimum wage–but in the end, I could have chosen to make my physical health more of a priority from the get go. And I simply haven’t.

I finally decided to seek out some professional advice to help me achieve my health goals. A family friend referred me to a diet program that worked for her as well of several of her peers. This friend is very active and her life revolves around health. I figured if it had worked for her I might as well give it a shot. I talked to a rep and almost signed up, but there were a few things about the program that stopped me.

  1. The program was expensive
  2. I wasn’t sure I could keep the weight off after finishing the program
  3. Working out is not recommended while on the program

To be completely honest, the first two issues weren’t deal breakers. The program, which consisted of eating food from the company, costs more thanĀ normal groceries but not much more than my normal budget. I put a lot of focus on my schooling and job and don’t take enough time to prepare my meals, which adds a couple Five Guys burgers to the grocery list. Plus, the added benefit of me losing weight (and fast) made the additional cost manageable in my mind. Even if I struggled to keep the weight off after the program, at least I had lost weight, which is more than I can say about many of my previous attempts.

But the third point on the list is the reason I decided not to join the program. Not only is working out not recommended, one of the program users said that they actually gained weight on the weeks that they worked out. This shouldn’t really be a problem; you don’t necessarily have to work out a lot to be healthy or to even lose weight, but my personal issue with this is that I don’t work out to stay fit.

Since I was was a little guy, I loved to play sports. I’ve never been the best, but that never stopped me. As I told you before, I’ve never been the most fit guy, but I still played and play sports. I like to hit the weight room because of the way it makes me feel, not the way it makes me look (although the looks are an awesome perk). And this is why I just couldn’t join the program: I had to sacrifice what I love to look good, and I just don’t think I’ll be happy doing that.

It wasn’t until several days later that I was able to understand how I felt. I was talking to a friend because I was bummed about not joining the program and told him that I didn’t want to give up my favorite part of the week. Working out–whether it be basketball, weights, a jog (ha!), or just wrestling with my little brothers–is my release from the rest of the world. And even though I want to have a healthy and attractive body, I wouldn’t want to give up the way being active feels for just about anything.

So, I decided not to go with the program (and it would be a great program btw), but I started my own diet regimen. I spent a couple weeks researching healthy diets for active men and coupled that with what I learned from the rep for the program I almost signed up with. I’ve been on my new diet for about two weeks and I feel really good about it. I haven’t lost as much weight as I would have on that other program, but I am happy and active, hitting the gym 3-4 times a week.

Wanting to improve yourself is something I believe in wholeheartedly, but goals without a purpose or principle don’t only miss the point of self-betterment, they are often difficult to accomplish as well. That’s why I’m glad I realized what getting healthy meant for me. It’s about more than just having tight abs; it’s about being happy with who I am and taking steps to be the person I want to be. I might write a little bit about my dieting journey, but for now, I’m working out for the right reasons.