I've been in the fitness business for over 15 years, in front of the camera, behind it, teaching weekly classes in New York, Los Angeles and places in between. I’ve seen the rise of Zumba, the Shake Weight, Jillian Michaels, Hip Hop Abs, Insanity, CrossFit, P90X, Soul Cycle, TaeBo, CoreFusion, CorePower, Bikram and heaven help me, the plexiglass parade of yoga on a bed down Broadway.
I’ve been around for, and participated in, the no-carb, lo-carb, sugar-free, no fat, some fat, lots of fat, raw, Paleo, Hunter-Gatherer, Gluten free and the grapefruit diet.
I’ve watched how every fad, trend and celebrity quick fix have single-handedly whipped not only women, but more increasingly, men, into a food and fitness frenzy. The health and fitness space is so filled with opinions, guidelines and Instagram butt photos, I don’t know whether to down dog or tap back.
And I’m done.
While this industry has been very good to me, I struggle with what us "experts" are doing to others. Can we please take a touch step and box jump back and objectively look at the culture we're creating? We've become an obsessed society: with working out, with gluten-free, with the front row, with Instagram yoga.
Maybe I’m hypersensitive as body dysmorphic and eating disorders have plagued me since high school. Or maybe, at the ripe old age of 41, I’m beginning to grow into my own and realize it’s time to be done with temporary weight loss, fads and fanatical approaches to health. Finally, my desire to be happy is greater than my desire to be thin.
So here is a short list of "healthy" things I'm done with.
1. I’m done with food rules. Do you mean to tell me if found yourself on a desert island and happened to cross paths with a turkey and cheddar sandwich with mayo, you'd turn your nose up because you’re a gluten free, vegan Paleo?
2. I’m done with "hacking." Bio, mind, Internet or any other shortcut to "figure things out." I understand we all want to feel our best and perform at optimal levels, but life is messy and in case you haven’t noticed, you have no control. So give it up and enjoy the ride a bit.
3. I’m done with yoga. You heard me. I may get on my mat every day for some down dogs and forward folds, but I’m done with yoga as exercise. You want some cardio? Go for a run.
4. I’m done with running ... from my fears, insecurities and own dysfunction. No amount of hours I spend on the treadmill make these disappear.
5. I’m done with looking in the mirror and criticizing every inch, millimeter and line. I’m actually shocked that, with as much disgust and judgment I’ve placed on this amazing machine known as my body, it continues to show up day after day without some sort of temper tantrum.
6. I’m done comparing myself to my 29-year-old cover girl self. Or any 29-year-old for that matter. Or 40-year-old. Or 50-year-old. This one is so much easier said than done.
7. I’m done with excuses. Mine and others. One I hear all the time? “I can’t meditate.” Yes, you can. Just like I did: by sitting my ass down with slumped shoulders day after day, year after year, enduring discomfort, distractions, numb legs and a crazy mind. Until it wasn’t so uncomfortable, distractions fell away and my legs could tolerate a sitting position for up to 50 minutes. Anything worth doing is going to require discomfort.
8. I’m done with reading about solutions — no matter how valid — to my problems, whether perceived or real. This isn't to say I'll stop learning (or teaching) but when will enough be enough?
When will we stop looking to the latest YouTube or Instagram celebrity and start following the best expert of all? YOU.
You created your source of discontent, whether it be obesity, anxiety, unhappiness or dis-ease on any level. Only you have the solution. Take responsibility and stop seeking answers outside yourself. Know that the answer isn’t in a photo of a pretty yogi in a beautifully contorted position or a top ten list, but your own inner wisdom and light. Figure out how to get there more (which may mean getting to the gym less) for all the answers you truly need are inside.
At the end of the day, the enemy is not sugar, juice cleanses or Facebook. The enemy is our minds. If we can figure out how to tame that unruly, defiant and petulant son of a gun, we’ll have made more peace with all of this faster than you can say front row.