What is ‘Fitlanthropist’?
As women we are surrounded by a daily barrage of advice on health and fitness from magazines, social media, and advertising. Most often, this advice centers around burning more calories, eating less, and getting rid of body fat in specific areas (does “How to Lose Those Love Handles with These 3 Easy Moves” sound familiar?). Additionally, we are often told (both directly and indirectly) that we should ‘smile more’ and not be ‘too pushy.’ The overall message is that in order to be attractive, and more importantly, worthy of love, we need to shrink our bodies and personalities.
The result is that we’re tired. Tired of pushing themselves to do yet another hour of cardio on only 1200 calories a day (the minimum any SEDENTARY person should ever eat) after taking care of family, friends, work, and home. Tired of trying yet another diet or workout program only to find that any initial progress made is eventually lost when motivation wanes or life gets in the way.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Fitlanthropist is dedicated to empowering women to love themselves AS THEY ARE, cellulite and all. True health is the result of that love and the accompanying desire to take care of the body that is uniquely yours and allows you to accomplish amazing things rather than as a punishment for having indulged in a few slices of pizza over the weekend. As Buddha once said,
“Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.”
Through self-compassion, maintaining a “happy but not satisfied” mindset, and discovering what a healthy lifestyle means TO YOU one habit at a time (rather than adopting yet another radical one-size-fits-all diet or fitness plan) you will allow your body, mind, and heart to evolve together as you journey towards becoming your best self.
I always laugh when people say that I must have been good at sports as a child. Sure, when I was younger I sampled many sports (soccer, softball, volleyball, tennis, and swimming) but was resigned to my usual position as a “bench warmer.” Additionally, I was never interested in doing anything athletic outside of sports, with the one exception of hiking (which has now turned into a love of backpacking) and I had no clue how to eat healthy. My two divorced parents fed us very differently, but in both cases I ended up eating a decent amount of junk food and fast food, and was required to finish what was on my plate, even if that meant overeating.
I was lucky that I never became overweight, but by the time I graduated high school I was in danger of getting there. That quickly changed when I started college, developed generalized anxiety disorder, and eventually became anorexic. I lost 30 lbs as a result of being too anxious to eat and then kept it off by starving myself because I got so many compliments and was starting to develop a sense of self-worth based primarily on my appearance.
This lasted 5 years, despite counseling, medication, losing friends, and almost dropping out of school. And then one day I realized that I had finally reached a point where I couldn’t do it anymore (to this day I’m still not sure what exactly it was that switched things over in my head). I stopped counting calories and allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted. Unfortunately, this resulted in my developing a binge eating disorder and gaining about 40 lbs. over the course of a year and a half.
After seeing a couple of unflattering pictures, I began losing weight again, first with Weight Watchers and then by once again calorie counting. I thought I was being healthier by not letting myself eat less than 1200 calories per day but I now realize that that was still not enough, especially since at the same time I had also increased my exercise by adding ballet classes to my 20 min per day running routine.
I managed to lose 20 lbs before plateauing, at which point I decided to trade ballet in for karate. I’m SO glad I did. I didn’t lose weight but I did slim down and began to internalize the fact that the number on the scale did not determine how I looked. I also loved getting stronger and learned a lot of great mental lessons from our “messages of the week.”
After three years of this I was still in love with karate but also ready for a new challenge. I signed up for the Disney Half-Marathon and went from being able to run 3 miles to 13 miles. As much as I loved the experience I decided that running long distance regularly was not my thing (though I enjoy running 3-6 miles once or a twice a week still). My husband suggested taking up weight lifting. I was skeptical at first and afraid I’d get too bulky but also figured it couldn’t hurt to try. Turns out I LOVED it. Focusing on building strength rather than losing weight was so empowering! Additionally, I discovered that I was actually sabotaging my fitness goals by eating too little. Lifting heavy twice a week and increasing my daily caloric intake by 200 calories every two months until I reached 1800 calories resulted in me maintaining my weight while losing 2% bf and gaining 3 lbs of lean body mass (muscle)! My clothes were loser, I could finally see some baby abs poking out, and I felt more attractive. Not to mention feeling like a badass. It was great!
This was about two years ago and I’ve continued to love and learn more about weightlifting since then, despite having to take a couple of breaks for my black belt test and another half marathons. I am by no means an expert in the field but feel confident enough to teach the basics and create programs for beginning and intermediate lifters. I also enjoy figuring out how to balance lifting with cardio and other sports. Contrary to what both sides of the cardio/strength training divide preach, you CAN do both successfully (perhaps not if you want to become a serious competitor, but if you are a recreational athlete it’s totally do-able).
Learning to love my body through strength training as well as the many personal growth lessons I’ve learned since I quit teaching high school biology four years ago are probably the biggest reasons I became a health coach and began this blog. But there are other motivations as well. I’ve always been one of those people who wanted to “save the world.” I don’t know that I’m doing that exactly but it is my hope that you will be able to take away at least one thing from this site that will help improve your life (or maybe many things if you decide to subscribe). Finally, I wanted to be able to contribute and bring awareness to various health oriented non-profits around the world as a means of promoting global wellness. To this end, 10% of all proceeds from this blog will be donated to the featured charity of the month.
In addition to reading the blog posts (which generally revolve around health and fitness, nutrition, and personal growth/mindset) I encourage you to check out the recipes, workouts, and resources. The latter has a list of all the books, websites, blogs, apps, and tools I’ve found to be useful on my health and personal growth journeys.