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Everyday Fitness

with Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP

This blog has been retired. We appreciate the wisdom and encouragement that Dr. Peeke has offered the WebMD Community.


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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rebel Against the One-Size-Fits-All Definition of Fit and Healthy

By Pamela Peeke, MD

Woman Smiling in Mirror

Tired of someone else telling you what fit, beautiful/handsome, or healthy looks like? Every day, the media bombards us with images of their biased take on buffed and chisel-fit bodies. When WebMD members begin their journey from an unhealthy/unfit starting point to one much healthier, I’ll bet some of those Photoshopped pics float through their minds. My recommendation? Reject the pretty pics and concentrate on creating your own definition of what it looks like to be at your best, mind and body. Want some help with this? Log onto, read the manifesto carefully, make that commitment to self, and become a health and fitness rebel.

I love this approach. Look at the opening words:

‘I reject the notion that beauty, desirability, and worthiness are one size fits all. I think happy people are the healthiest people. It’s not enough to just look good on the outside. I want to feel good on the inside, too.

‘I will give my one, precious body the respect it deserves. We’ve been together a long time, and we’ve got miles to go. When my body is strong, I am strong. When my body feels good, I feel good. Wherever I go, my body goes, too. When I take care of my body, it takes care of me.

Who created this? My good friends and founders of Anytime Fitness, Chuck Runyon and Dave Mortensen. You might have also just seen them on the Secret Millionaire living in a struggling Omaha neighborhood and giving back to that community. They have a wily sense of humor too. Chuck and team recently authored the terrific book with the provocative title Working Out Sucks, accompanied by the subtitle And Why It Doesn’t Have To. It’s an easy and fun read and segues smoothly into their Fitness Rebellion website. Runyon’s voice is authentic, as he can relate to every man or woman who’s ever broken into hives just thinking about exercise. He gets it. As well, he asks you to do this as a personal journey and to dance to the beat of your own drums.

So many people look at themselves in the mirror and feel frustrated and hopeless. Why? They’re comparing themselves to others, whether from real life or from the media. That’s why you have to become a rebel and reject the hype, unrealistic expectations, and false promises of overnight miracles.

Now, take another look at yourself in the mirror and smile with compassion, kindness, and love. Here are next steps:

1)   Start every day with the following commitment: “Just for today, for the next 24 hours, I will commit to_________,” and then fill in the blank with one small step you’re going to stick to. It could be getting to bed by 10 p.m. or having a healthy breakfast. Frustration is born when you live in the future, fretting that you’ll never get to the finish line. Bag that, and stay mindful and in the present moment. Embrace it, live it, and stay focused and on track. You can do this for 24 hours. Take every day this way. Wake up with that daily commitment to self.

2)   Practice self-pride and love. Celebrate every victory (“Hey I ate a healthy breakfast three days in a row so far!”) no matter what size. Be proud of your efforts. Give yourself countless “atta girl/boys throughout the day”. Stop the negative speak to self. No, you’re probably never going to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. So what? You’re powerful and wonderful and getting healthier all of the time. That’s what you want to concentrate on. Stay present!

3)   Take care of your body. Recall the words of the manifesto “When I take care of my body, it takes care of me”. It’s true! If you want to enjoy your vacation, or that next hike or swim or bike ride with the family, you need a fit and healthy body. You brush your teeth, so care for your body as well. And reap the rewards.

4)   Turn mistakes into lessons. You’re human. Everyone’s going to slip and slide. No problem. Just convert that digression into a lesson. What did you learn? How can you prevent future problems? Think it through. Spend zero time thrashing yourself for a mistake. Spend lots of time coming up with creative solutions so it doesn’t happen again. This learning process is lifelong, so get used to regrouping and moving on.

5)   Be a rebel. You define your best mind and body. You compete with you when you’re taking that morning walk. Today you’re faster, lighter on your feet than yesterday. Terrific! You’re down a pant or dress size. Well done! Just keep it movin’ as you continue to practice your healthy lifestyle habits every single day.

Bottom line: Own this journey you call life. It starts with taking a stand, defining your own success, and, of course, starting your own fitness rebellion.

Photo: iStockphoto

Posted by: Pamela Peeke, MD at 7:46 am

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