If you could get to a place where you never had to worry about your weight again, would you?
If you’re like 99% of the people out there, your answer is most definitely yes.
(I don’t know what goes on in the other 1% of people’s minds, but let’s just assume they exist…)
Because let’s face it: trying to be healthy and fit sucks.
Constantly thinking about how you should be exercising, denying yourself your favorite foods, counting calories… it’s no fun. This type of thinking starts to take over your life, interfers with your social engagements, and totally stresses you out.
And on top of that, it’s probably not even working.
Find your happy weight
Everyone, including you, has an ideal weight. This is the weight where you don’t have to be overly concerned about what you eat, where you have plenty of energy to do all your favorite activities, and where you feel pretty damn good in a bathing suit.
This is called your “happy weight” (yes, this is an informal term). Basically, it means that you have the right level of body fat and muscle for your body.
When you reach this weight, you’ll be healthy and strong—but not overly skinny.
In my 26 years on this planet, I’ve had the privilege of living in some of the coolest cities in the planet—Portland, Amsterdam, New York, and San Francisco, just to name a few.
The one thing these places have in common?
Hipsters. Lots and lots of hipsters.
If you’re not familiar with the term (although you’d probably have to be a hermit to not have come into contact with it these days), the (condensed) Urban Dictionary definition of a hipster is:
“Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. Although “hipsterism” is really a state of mind, it is also often intertwined with distinct fashion sensibilities. Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often be seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses. Both hipster men and women sport similar androgynous hair styles that include combinations of messy shag cuts and asymmetric side-swept bangs.”
Now, I have no idea why, but one thing nearly all hipsters have in common is that they seem to avoid exercising at all costs (biking is the one exception).
It’s almost as if they consider being healthy and in shape to be ‘uncool.’
The strange thing is, because they subside mainly on cigarettes, beer, and tacos (please do not do this), most hipsters don’t actually appear overweight.
Instead, they perfectly embody what is everybody’s favorite body type to bash these days: skinny fat.
It’s no secret that most people use traveling as an excuse to not work out.
They assume that just because they don’t have access to a gym or fancy exercise equipment, there’s no point in even trying to keep fit.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Because despite what you may think, you can actually get a really good workout when you’re traveling—even if all you have is a hotel room as your gym.
And best of all, you won’t have to spend an hour a day of your vacation exercising—or shell out $20 for a day pass at an expensive gym.
All you need is a hotel room—and determination
I used to always use traveling as an excuse not to exercise—even on long European vacations filled with French pastries and German beer.
And even though I’d end up walking a ton every time I traveled, I never did a single push up or lifted even one weight. As a result, I’d end up losing much of the hard work I’d put in before my trip… and have to start from the beginning when I got back home.
So a few years ago, I changed my stance on exercise while traveling, and now I work out just as I would normally, albeit with a little less equipment or space.
How do you motivate yourself to exercise when there are dozens of things you’d rather be doing?
You know it’s good for you. Exercise helps you reach and maintain a healthy body weight, lowers blood pressure, gets rid of bad cholesterol, strengthens bones, lowers your risk for cancer, and decreases stress.
But we all know the truth: finding the time and motivation to get off the couch and work out isn’t always easy.
Here are seven ways to get—and keep—the motivation to exercise regularly:
1. Find something you enjoy doing.
Many gym-goers spend hours on the treadmill even though they hate it (this used to be me).
Yet there are plenty of other forms of exercise that can be just as (or more!) beneficial for weight loss and cardiovascular health.
Try a new class, substitute long cardio sessions with interval training, join a friendly sports team with your buddies—anything that will help you look forward to exercising, rather than dread it.
2. Keep track of your progress.
Using a journal to track measurements like weight and body fat percentage as well as progress made in your workouts will keep you much more motivated than looking in the mirror every day.
Just being able to see in print (or on the screen) that all your hard work has paid off can be the motivator you need to keep you working out on a regular basis.
3. Notice how you feel after exercise.
If you’re like most people, you may be tired and unmotivated before your workout, but feel nothing short of amazing afterwards.
Some people spend every minute of their lives obsessing over food.
Devout Paleo diet followers, for instance, nearly cry if a speck of grain touches their lips. They have a hard time eating out with friends, and can’t enjoy a rich dessert at a party. And this is the same for any extreme dieter, not just Paleo lovers.
If that’s the kind of life you want to live, go for it.
I, on the other hand, am a big believer in enjoying life.
I want to experience everything life has to offer, and yes, that means a glass or two of wine several times a week, some bread here and there, even (gasp!) a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookie once in a while.
No, I don’t eat these things every day, but I do eat them more often than you might think.
Why? I want to be happy. I want to experience life with the people around me. I don’t want to obsess about every morsel of food I eat—I want to enjoy my food.
I live by the 80/20 rule — 80% of what goes into my body has to be good food (fruits, veggies, protein, healthy fats, etc.)—and 20% can be the fun stuff (wine, treats, carbs).
You work out on a frequent basis. You do resistance exercise and high intensity cardio like you know you should. You try and eat nutritious, healthy foods (and not too much of them) 90% of the time. But the scale refuses to budge.
And you can’t help wondering…
Do you just need to be patient, waiting for the numbers to finally get smaller?
Or could it be possible that the numbers on scale doesn’t really matter… and you’re actually making progress, despite your stagnant weight?
Why weighing yourself doesn’t work
People have been using scales to determine their physical health for ages. Long ago, someone determined that what you weigh is somehow the pinnacle of how fit and healthy you are. And society wholeheartedly accepted this.
Heck, I remember hearing about cheerleading squads in high school who wouldn’t accept anyone into their team who was over 120 pounds, despite their level of skill or overall appearance.
Not even two pounds over. Does that seem right to you?
Well, the ugly truth about the scale is that it doesn’t actually tell you how in shape you are.
Why? Because the scale only looks at your overall weight… it doesn’t consider other (more important) factors such as how much muscle you have, how dense your bones are,