Thursday, August 22, 2013

254.4 - My Problem with the "8 Healthy Habits of Insanely Fit People"

The purpose of this blog is to act as a filter for the volumes of health fitness advice available to the masses through the perspective of someone who is actively struggling with weight loss. Am I a Monday Morning Quarterback? Hmm, maybe more of a Weekend Warrior. I'm not a fitness professional, but I have educated myself in a variety of techniques and approaches, and I try to take a distinct perspective on the advice I dish out from personal experiences and conversations. This post is a response to the Huffington Post article 8 Habits Of Insanely Fit People. Which lists the following 8 habits as recommendations for living a healthy lifestyle.

Get it together buddy, clearly being fit isn't that hard
if all these paid models can do it.
  • Fit People Don't Diet
  • They Find A Way To Enjoy Exercise
  • They Don't Compare Their Bodies To Other People's Bodies
  • They Get Enough Sleep
  • They Cheat
  • They Make Fitness A Priority
  • They Eat Breakfast
  • They Find And Appreciate Support

It's not all bad advice, but some of the elements of the article rubbed me the wrong way so I was inspired to write a reply in this forum.

From Fit People Don't Diet "The truth is, being a healthy woman isn't about getting on a scale or measuring your waistline -- and we can't afford to think that way, Instead, we need to start focusing on what matters -- on how we feel, and how we feel about ourselves." ~Michelle Obama

I think this is an easy stance to take from someone who is already at a healthy weight. Michelle Obama clearly lives and promotes a lifestyle that is conducive to her body. The problem I have here is, if you don't already live that lifestyle, and you have the tendency to overindulge, or are not familiar with the impacts and benefits of the techniques you're using for fitness, then the results of those measurements are important feedback on your journey and should be appreciated. I do agree with the intention of the statement. Your mental well being is more important than your measurements, but measurements are useful.  When you're fit you get to ignore the amounts and types of your caloric intake, because A. it's already in line with healthy standards and B. you can generate significant caloric output to correct any issues.

They Find A Way To Enjoy Exercise

It took me a long time before I was enjoying working out. It's possible to make it a social experience with friends, and find activities you enjoy which will be more repeatable. I think, as you get used to it, you do find ways to enjoy being in the gym, and that comes with growth, results and improvement. I'm not sure I disagree with the advice so much as I disagree with how simplistically it's presented.

They Don't Compare Their Bodies To Other People's Bodies

This is untrue. Fit people will compare themselves to other people to set standards for themselves. Granted, it's not healthy to obsess about looking like someone in particular, but just because Beyonce supposedly has never wished she had J-Lo's booty or Michelle Obama's arms, doesn't mean she isn't drawing those comparisons when evaluating herself.

They Get Enough Sleep

Heck yeah, get sleep, sleep is super important, I can't agree more.

They Cheat

Cheating is fine when you look how you want, but the bump in the road is a lot tougher to deal with when you're in an uphill climb. It can feel a lot like a backslide as opposed to a minor setback.

They Make Fitness A Priority

You have to make the time where you can ... sure ... although, I think some people ignore the reasons why people simply can't but if you just don't then ... well, don't complain, accept the outcome of your decisions.

They Eat Breakfast

I eat breakfast, but there are studies done about the necessity of caloric distribution during the day. There are other theories regarding the need for breakfast, but I can see the benefits.

They Find And Appreciate Support

Indeed. I need support. I need support for when I'm killing it, and support for when I can't bring myself to do anything. I need the right kinds of conversations around health and fitness to motivate me to better results. I need the positive feedback on my improvements. I give support too. It's very important to me to recognize and appreciate the progress others make because I know how it makes me feel. Feedback on this blog is amazingly motivating and supportive, and I appreciate all of you who leave comments for me.

Let me know if my Phatness is blinding my replies and responses here in the comments and replies below.


  1. Here is a list of dinners I usually have:

    Sunday; I eat roasted vegetables. I dont have a recipie for this but it does include squash, potatoe, carrots, onions, bell peppers (all colors), garlic, italian spicies. Just Chop, put in a little olive oil, and cook at 400 for about 45 mins. If the flavor is not quite to your liking, keep adjusting it.

    Monday, Tuesday:

    Black Bean Lettuce Bundles

    2 cups cooked or canned black beans, no salt
    1/2 large avocado, mashed
    1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
    3 scallions, chopped
    1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    2 tablespoons lime juice
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/3 cup mild salsa, low sodium
    8 large romaine lettuce leaves

    Mash beans and avocado together with fork. Mix with other ingredients, except for lettuce. Place approximately 1/4 cup of filling in center of lettuce leaf and roll like a tortilla.

    Wedensday, Thursday:

    Vegetable Garbanzo Wrap

    1 large tomato, chopped
    1 avocado, chopped
    1 cucumber, chopped
    4 leaves romaine lettuce, shredded
    1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (low or no salt), drained and mashed
    2 tablespoons fruit flavored vinegar
    4 whole grain tortillas
    1/2 tablespoon raw sesame tahini

    Toss vegetables with garbanzo beans and vinegar. Warm a whole grain tortilla, spread a thin coating of tahini on it, and roll with the vegetable/bean mixture. Serves 4.


    I like the Southwest vegetable chili, which is in his book:

    Also, This is really good:

    Brocolli with red lentil sauce


    1/2 cup red lentils
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 small clove garlic, chopped
    1 1/2-2 cups carrot juice
    1 pound broccoli florets
    1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest (or other no-salt seasoning blend)
    1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash seasoning
    1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
    1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

    1. Add lentils, onions, garlic, and carrot juice to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the lentils are soft and pale. Add more carrot juice if needed.

    2. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli until just tender.

    3. Put the cooked lentil mixture into a food processor or blender with the VegiZest, seasoning and balsamic vinegar and blend to a smooth puree. Add some carrot juice if it is too thick.

    4. Place broccoli in a bowl and combine with sauce. If desired,top with chopped pecans.

    NOTE: This dish freezes well.

    Lunch is always a mixed green salad without meat.

    Breakfast is almost always oatmeal/blueberries/bannana

    Just about all of Joel Furhman's books have recipies.

  2. I like your deconstruction of this. It definately rings true and especially about the cheating bit. I always feel that if I don't try and get a balance between eating healthy and eating what I want I'll go off the rails and destroy a sweet shop full of chocolate. I feel its definately easier for the people who enjoy exercise as that is half the battle won.
    Great piece to read!