Do your health and fitness habits define you, or do they make your life better?

There was a time I obsessed over what I would eat, and when. I’d literally revolve everything around my workout schedule. I’d turn down dinner invitations and other activities if they interfered with my trip to the gym or wouldn’t easily fit whatever diet I was following at the time.

Put bluntly: my diet and workout schedule dictated what I would, and would not, do in my life.

My incessant need to put my fitness habits above all else eventually caught up to me and led to disordered eat habits, uncontrollable binge eating, exhaustion from long and grueling workouts, obsessing over a number on the scale, and constant dissatisfaction with my body.

At that point, I was my health and fitness regimen.

But, thankfully, many years ago I experienced a huge transition. I decided that my health and fitness routine would no longer define me, and it wouldn’t control my life. I would no longer be how I ate or my workout schedule. It was time for health and fitness to be a tool that would allow me live a more awesome, fulfilling life.

You’re Not Your Diet

If you’ve seen the movie Fight Club you’re familiar with Tyler Durden’s famous speech: “You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your f***ing khakis.”

Well, I am not my health and fitness habits, and neither are you.

To put this in a Tyler Durden sort-of-way:

You’re not your diet.

You’re not your workout routine.

You’re not the size of your bra or jeans.

You’re not how much body fat you have or the number on the scale.

Health and fitness should be a tool to make you the best version of yourself while allowing you to live a more awesome life.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look better. I’ve built my career off helping people lose fat and “tone-up”. And I too want to feel confident and like how I look and will always eat well and stay physically activate in part to maintain my physique.

But how we eat and work out should not consume our lives and dictate our every move.

It shouldn’t stress you out, overwhelm you, or make you feel bad about yourself.

It should not be about constantly chasing lower body fat, better glutes, tougher workouts, or some state of “perfection”.

It should not be about your happiness being dependent on reaching certain goals.

It should make your life better and, eventually, easier.

It should build you up, reduce your stress, and enhance the rest of your life.

It should make you appreciate your body for how it looks, but also the amazing things it’s capable of doing. (When’s the last time you stopped to think about, and appreciate, the amazing things your body can do instead of trying to change how it looks?)

It should make you and your life more awesome.

Boldly demand MORE from your health and fitness routine. Yes, it may require a learning-curve at first (all skills do) and some extra effort, but overtime it should be alifestyle that just becomes something you do, but it doesn’t consume or define you. And it’s likely simpler than you think.

This won’t resonate with everyone, and I don’t expect it to. To some working out and eating well is only about, and will only ever be about, looking good. That’s fine and completely understandable. But some of us want, and expect, more from our efforts. We want to squeeze every possible benefit from our actions. We demand a greater carryover from our fitness routine and want it to positively impact everything else we choose to do in this life.

As Gary Keller states in his incredible, thought-provoking book The ONE Thing, “Your body is an amazing machine, but it doesn’t come with a warranty, you can’t trade it in, and repairs can be costly. It’s important to manage your energy so you can do what you must do, achieve what you want to achieve, and live the life you want to live.”

With love from the Trench Kitchen,