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10 Fantastic Food and Fitness Quotes

Looking for some inspiration?

commons wikimedia
Source: commons wikimedia

This post was coauthored by Jamie Dunaev

1. “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” —Albert Einstein

If you’re like most people, you’ve been on a diet. And, if you’re like most people, that diet failed. Simply put, diets usually don’t work. Rather than interpreting these failures as being inherent to the dieting process itself, however, we deny the inevitability of failure on diet 1 and approach diet 2 (or 200) with renewed vigor and vim. This cycle of failure, misinterpretation, and repeated attempts constitutes what Polivy and Herman have called the “false hope syndrome.” Although this cycle may seem innocuous, in the case of dieting it can lead to overeating, weight gain, and a host of negative psychological consequences. Successful self-change requires escaping this cycle and moving toward a more realistic and sustainable path.

2. “Food is an important part of a balanced diet.” —Fran Lebowitz

Do you think of some food as “good” and some as “bad”? Can you imagine just thinking of food as food: delicious, enjoyable, and sustaining? Can you imagine a life without avoiding “bad” foods – without dieting? Dieting can bring out the worst in us. Research suggests that low-calorie and restrictive diets can make us anxious, irritable, frustrated, and depressed (Markey, 2015). In fact, just the act of trying to avoid certain foods makes us want them more (Polivy & Herman, 2002). The key to successfully improving one’s health is to find a way to make healthier choices without starving or eliminating the foods you love.

3. “Success is the sum of small efforts—repeated day-in and day-out.” —Robert Collier

To be healthy and fit, you must set good habits to live by day after day. Don’t fall for the fad traps; just make a good effort to eat well and stay active. Diet products are so tremendously successful because they often make promises of rapid and easy weight loss, leading us to set unrealistic goals for ourselves. Although it is tempting to want to “shed 5 lbs in a week” or “drop 2 dress sizes in a month,” these goals are often doomed to meet failure. When we inevitably fail to meet these unrealistic goals, we are often left with self-hatred and guilt. By thinking about weight loss as something that should happen gradually, embracing small changes and lifelong goals, we stand to improve our physical and mental health without all the restriction and regret.

4. “By choosing healthy over skinny, you are choosing self-love over self-judgement.” —Steve Maraboli

Many of us operate under the false assumption that if we just lost 10 pounds, had a flatter stomach, or a smaller waistline, we would be happier with ourselves. Although it may seem counterintuitive, achieving some level of body satisfaction prior to undertaking any weight management program is actually a smarter option. Research suggests that individuals with higher levels of weight concerns are more likely to engage in potentially harmful weight-loss behaviors and are less successful at losing weight (Markey, 2015). Rather than depending on weight-loss to allow you to love yourself, embrace the body you were given and focus on improving its functional, rather than aesthetic, qualities.

5. “Simple is sustainable.”

Sometimes the obvious answer is the right answer. When it comes to eating well and being active, no complicated algorithms are necessary: eat less, make healthy choices, and move more. Research (Markey, 2015) suggests that keeping a simple, manageable plan for weight management that you can sustain over the long term is most likely to work. This isn’t to say that it will always be easy, but you can try to make it manageable by adding in a little planning. Make a grocery list each week and keep nutritious, palatable options in your house. Don’t count on having the energy after a long day at work to whip up an elaborate meal; stock the freezer with some healthy and easy options, too.

6. “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” —Jim Rohn

It’s easy to forget that our body is the “home” we’ll live in for as long as we are alive. Some shingles may fall off the roof and the foundation may even shift, but we have to make it work. You can patch holes and paint walls, keep things clean and make things look nice, but neglecting the structure of the house will lead to long term problems. Similar to maintaining our homes, an important part of maintaining our bodies is learning to focus on structure, not just aesthetics. Eating healthy foods and getting the proper amounts of exercise and sleep will keep your foundation strong and help it hold up over the long haul. So, when it feels like there is no time to exercise, prepare a healthy meal, or meet the demands of your children or other loved ones, remember to make time for your own self-care. You are not the only one who will ultimately suffer if your health fails prematurely—your loved ones will as well.

7. “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” —Margaret Thatcher

Changing your eating and activity habits is not always easy. In fact, in order to successfully change a health-related habit, people need to undertake 5-to-6 attempts on average (Polivy & Herman, 2002). Although this may be discouraging, it’s important to realize that if your last attempt to change your eating and physical activity habits didn’t work, this doesn’t mean you should give up for good. Fight another battle following an evidence-based battle plan (Markey, 2015). In other words, free yourself of the fads and the typical approaches to weight loss and fitness that are unlikely to work—and don’t despair.

8. “You can have your cake and lose weight, too!”

People are often shocked when I prescribe some sweets as part of a “balanced diet.” I’m not saying that cake is more nutritious than kale, just that a bit of cake won’t kill you. And, allowing yourself some of the so called “bad” foods has been proven to keep most people from overindulging in these foods. What is the quickest recipe for binging when dessert rolls around? Commit to never eat dessert again. Then you’ll really want dessert and you’ll eat too much dessert. Don’t make cake (or your indulgence of choice) forbidden, just watch your portion size and frequency of consumption. You can have something sweet (or savory or fried) each day if you have just a little bit. Enjoy the foods you love with a focus on moderation and the stress of eating will lessen tremendously.

9. “Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.” —Victor Kiam

At some point we all “fall of the wagon” when it comes to making healthy choices. We indulge in a little too much pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, swipe a few too many pieces of Halloween candy from our kids’ treat-or-treat bags, or let ourselves relax more than necessary on our summer vacation. As a result of these perceived missteps, many of us simply declare “what the hell” and proceed to overeat and further indulge, leading to guilt and feelings of failure (Markey, 2015). Rather than understanding these “mess ups” as failures, it is more helpful to understand them as signs of a normal life. The more important thing is to restart smart, returning to healthy behaviors and goals. There is no benefit to beating ourselves up when we fall on our faces, but there is benefit to recognizing that this can all ultimately be a learning experience: a part of our progression towards health.

10. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” —Lao Tzu

Everyone who ever lost weight or “got in shape” started on a single day. That day turned into a second day, a week, a month, and eventually a year. It didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t always (or maybe ever) easy. But persistence pays off when it comes to health. And, starting with a single step today—a short walk, some fruit for dessert, or an extra glass of water (not soda)—can pay off and bring you closer to the healthy and fit body you’ve always hoped for.

Copyright Charlotte Markey 2015

  • Smart People Don’t Diet (Da Capo Lifelong Books and Nero) by Dr. Charlotte Markey is available now, available now.
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