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Healthy vs. Happy?

“I’d much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size zero.” ~Sophia Loren 1965

Recently I posted this picture on social media along with this quote, “I’d much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size zero.” (~Sophia Loren 1965) and asked if anybody had any thoughts. A few of the women responded with a slightly oppositional view quoting Kate Moss’s “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, even though many admitted that although they held that belief, they didn’t always hold themselves to that rule. Some of the women responded that they wish our society still considered this look beautiful, stating that  “She is gorgeous and feminine and we should stop asking society to define what ‘Beautiful and sexy’ is”. Interestingly, the men almost unanimously said she was gorgeous, hot, beautiful and sexy. Helping people find “health” for a living I find this very interesting because whether we admit it or not, what we find beautiful and sexy is usually “healthy”. And there is definitely a line between healthy and unhealthy, although it is different for everyone. It’s all in our genes so that our species can survive.

So exactly where is the line? How healthy do you have to be to be healthy? After all, we know that once an athlete becomes competitive they enter a zone that is actually somewhat UNhealthy because the risk for injury becomes so much greater. Not to mention, BMI actually DOES matter even if you are hugely musclebound because your heart still has to work harder to pump the blood to more of your body and your skeleton still has to support that weight. So if the “Fittest On Earth” aren’t actually the healthiest, then who is? Do you need to have a certain percentage of body fat? Do you need 6 pack abs? We know that doctors often use BMI as well as markers such as cholesterol, blood pressure, and resting heart rate. But is there such a thing as “healthiest”?

About a year ago I was about 10 lbs lighter than I am now. I was by all measurements the healthiest I have ever been in my life. However, I didn’t get to have much fun. I was even told by a date that he didn’t want to go out with me because my lifestyle was so strict that I wouldn’t be any fun. Now, to be honest I have to question that person’s definition of fun because I can hike and bike and go skydiving with the best. What I couldn’t do was skip my workout and go have brunch and a beer. But it actually got in my head and I had to wonder, what exactly do I want out of all of this fitness stuff? Do I want to live ultra-strict for the rest of my life? I imagined vacations to wineries and Italy and beaches where everyone else was relaxed and eating and drinking what they wanted and enjoying the moment while I watched with my cute bikini and 6-pack abs. Was this really what I wanted? Is this healthy?

Not long after that I injured my shoulder and was hit with a bad case of plantar fasciitis. For a long time, it was fine, but diet wasn’t perfect at that time and after about 6 months the weight started coming back. I was fine being a little bit heavier, but now my excellent habits had gone to Hell in a handbasket and due to the combination I was snowballing and I started to feel uncomfortable about the way I looked and felt. And let me be clear about this… I felt fine with how I look – I was still relatively small and could fit into my clothes, but I felt a bit “fluffy” and a bit jiggly and heavier – and I definitely felt encumbered – like the weight was pulling me down and I couldn’t move and perform as well as I could when I was lighter. And there, like the light of day gently awakening me, was my answer. I need to be light and healthy enough to move as well as I want to move and FEEL awesome. I want to be able to enjoy a beer on the beach and still go waterskiing and do pullups and run like the wind. There IS a balance.

A lot of people ask me when they begin a CrossFit or nutrition regimen how much they should lose. When I posted the picture of Sophia Loren a few people said beauty is an inner quality and that her confidence made her sexy. So here is my answer… lose an amount that makes you FEEL strong and capable and sexy and then freaking ENJOY it! Life is way too short to waste your time worrying about whether or not your abs are popping, BUT I can tell you that when I’m light and I can run fast and feel the wind in my hair and the sun on my face and lift heavy stuff and hike and bike and do all of the things I love to do with ease – then, I am a sexy freaking BEAST!


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