Answering one of my favorite questions from the “ASK ANDREA ANYTHING” form…
“In one of the 3DMJ Podcasts you said you don’t worry about how much you weigh but then why do you still work out all the time? I want to not worry about it but I can’t always work out or get to the gym every day like you. Is it possible to not worry about your weight if you don’t work out a lot?"
One of the most popular, and most debilitating mental prisons that we’ve created in society is coupling exercise with weight loss.
These two things actually don’t always go together, no matter how much our conditioned brains want them to be synonymous.
In my 30+ years as an athlete, the only time I’ve been negatively impacted mentally (outside of injuries) is the few years I spent as a bodybuilder with body weight management attached to my sporting goals.
Outside of those years as a figure competitor, the rest of my life has been spent chasing a feeling of progress and accomplishment that comes from having athletic goals.
Even when I don’t have a competition coming up any time in the next few months, my time in the gym (or simply being active in any way) gives me SO MANY GOOD FEELS that it’s difficult to express in writing.
Sure, exercise keeps me physically healthy, but it’s also crucial to my psychological well-being.
I think anyone who goes on a daily walk or shoots a few hoops every evening or frequently visits the yoga studio could attest to how it makes them feel.
The state of practicing any physical movement is the only place where I can calm my mind down and not worry about whatever else is going on in my life.
It’s a meditative state that I find difficult to reach otherwise — a place where I can focus presently and intensely on the task at hand rather than dwell on the past or project upon the future.
So to your question about “why I work out all the time even though I don’t have weight loss goals” — that’s precisely why.
Because the positive outcomes are endless and invaluable for every other part of me.
If it changes my physical appearance, that’s just a side effect.
When I’m focused on strength, I get more muscles and tend to weigh more.
When I’m focused on gymnastics, I tend to lose muscle and weigh less.
I don’t necessarily see those as good or bad things, just products of the inputs I’ve been asking of my body for the past few months.
But to be fair, I’m not sure how valuable that advice is if you’ve never felt this way.
If you haven’t ever enjoyed working out, and I’m saying “focus on all the great work out feels” I could see how that’s not very helpful.
That said, I would like to challenge anyone who says they’ve never enjoyed working out to spend a solid 6 months trying a ton of different things until they find THEIR THING.
Because whether we like it or not, there are far too many health problems that will arise from a life of zero physical activity.
You don’t have to exercise all the time, but I’d say that 3 active days per week are a minimum for keeping a healthy heart and body.
This might look like three 30-minute exercise videos per week that include picking up some dumbbells throughout it.
It might be 3 days per week where you walk for 15 minutes and do 20 push-ups and 20 squats and 20 sit-ups as fast as you can.
Or of course, like me, you could pick a sporting activity and do whatever you can to chase it in some capacity that fits with your schedule and desires.
But to live a life with ZERO exercise should simply not be an option for 99.9% of the population.
And as far as body weight management goes, that’s a whole different animal.
While adding a small amount of physical activity will be helpful, a lot of weight losses or gains are products of lifestyle, habits, and education.
That topic is far beyond what I could fit into a little old blog post lol, but I do want you to know that it’s very possible to be bodyweight-stable without constantly worrying about it or checking on it.
Many people who are naturally thin don’t think about their bodies too much, many of them don’t exercise, and many of them are unhealthy.
And many people who live with obesity spend their whole lives trying to change it by exercising a lot and thinking about their food all the time. They can also be perfectly physically healthy, or not.
The summary of what I’m trying to get to is this:
- Exercises is essential to physical and mental health and well-being
- Everyone who exercises is not always trying to change their body weight
- Exercise comes in countless forms and methods, so it’s always possible to find one you enjoy that fits with your preferences and schedule
- Bodyweight is typically an outcome of lifestyle and education, not just a product of exercise or physical activity levels
I’d like to leave you with a few resources that might help you with bodyweight management in case you’d like to learn more:
#1 - Sustainable Fat Loss - This is a totally free video course within The 3DMJ Vault, and it’s by our team’s registered dietitian, Steve Taylor. It’s primarily focused on the long term sustainability of the nutritional habits that can help you achieve fat loss over time.
#2 - Dr. Spencer Nodalsky’s Instagram Account - This guy is hilarious, but he also does a great job of constantly pointing out the logical fallacies that are so prevalent and so harmful in the fitness / obesity / weight loss management industries. I’d follow him long term and go through his bio links as you see fit for you and your goals.
#3 - Ben Carpenter’s Instagram Account - While he’s not a doctor like Spencer, he’s a long term physique athlete and coach who does a phenomenal job breaking down harmful content from the diet culture industry and it’s awful influencers. The outcome is that he educates his followers on more useful ways to holistically think about fitness, body weight, and fat loss.
Holy shit this was long drawn-out, indirect answer but I really hope it was helpful!!
I hope you find a form of exercise you can enjoy, and I hope you can find ways to minimize your body weight focus over time.
It’s going to be a very long process, but it will be well worth the investment. ❤️
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