Some people say that those high school teen years are the best years of your life.
In some ways I agree: I had a pretty good time in high school. I met some really good friends there, I got to try all kinds of sports, I got to sing and act in school plays. I had lots of opportunities.
In other ways, I disagree: high school was hard on me mentally. I developed this super competitive nature that carried over from school work into my relationship with myself. Being so competitive really stressed me out. Even though I was only really competing with myself.
To cope with this stress–this out of control aspect of my life–I attempted to take control of other areas, like my diet and my exercise. I feel like a lot of young women do this in their teens–am I right?
Not to sound cliché, but if I had know then what I know now, things would have been a lot different. I would have been ahead of the game…and maybe ahead in my life.
So here are my top 3 Health Tidbits that I wish I had known as a teenager:
1. Lifting Heavy Things will not make you manly. I am a former cardio addict. I once was a runner and a nordic skier and a crazy-elliptical-stair-stepper-lady. My visits to the gym included an hour of machine cardio and 8 minute abs. I was afraid that lifting weights would make me bulky and give me bigger thighs. I’ve since realized that it takes a ton of work to get bulky–not many people can do it. ALSO, maybe having bigger thighs isn’t such a bad thing. I admit that it was hard for me to buy jeans a size bigger, but it’s worth it to me if I can squat 1 1/2 times my body weight (that’s just me). I now work out because I love it, not because I want to burn 500 calories.
2. Eating accounts for 80%. I used to think I could make up for a crappy diet with lots and lots of exercise. Looking back on this experience, this is totally not the case. You need to eat to fuel your exercise, or else your efforts will be lost. This means that you have to eat. You. Have. To. Eat. If I’ve learned anything from years of dieting, it’s that yo-yoing screws up your metabolism and it can take a long time to get it back. If you’ve restricted your calories for years, your body has been starving for years. It’s only natural that what you eat is stored–your body is in survival mode. You have to eat to fuel your exercise and support your healthy lifestyle. You must, must, MUST eat real food.
3. If you’re always trying to lose weight, then you’ll always be trying to lose weight. Say you’re always focused on “trying” to lose weight. You devote all of your mental energy to the trying part. TRYING. If you’re always focused on trying to lose weight, you will always be trying. Instead, practice focusing on what life will be like WHEN you reach your goals. Forget trying to lose weight. If you have weight loss goals, devote that mental energy to BEING instead of TRYING. It’s the Law of Attraction, baby. The energy you put into the Universe is what you get back–if you’re already focused on BEING, then you are, get it? Plus, you’ll be way happier when you realize that you can stop thinking so much about trying. Being is so much easier.
Other things I wish I had known as a teenager include: Whole wheat bread is NOT a whole grain. Low fat foods are NOT health foods. It’s not always calories in, calories out.
What about you? What little piece of health knowledge do you wish you had known as a teen?