May 23, 2013

Shape Up, Stay Fit

Posted by Treetopia in The Treetopian Lifestyle

Just because you don’t have amazing abs doesn’t mean you’re not fit. It’s time to get a re-education about fitness so keep reading!

Many people equate being fat or overweight with being unhealthy and strive to bring down the numbers on the scale. Some are just hardwired to maintain a healthy lifestyle either by choice or because of pressure brought on by the media. Well, smart and sassy Treetopia reader, what does it take to be considered “in shape?” Forget the numbers for a few minutes to think about what goes on inside, above and beyond those measurements.
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What the numbers stand for

The numbers you see on the scale don’t necessarily indicate that you are fit or fat. There are so many factors that should be taken into consideration before signing up for a rigorous weight loss plan. Since the human body is composed of bones, organs, muscles, and fat, each of those must be considered. Some people who appear thin may be heavier because their muscles are developed, so their muscle mass adds to their weight. Those people may exercise every day but their weight won’t drastically change because the muscles just become toned, unlike people with more fat content in their body who can still lose a few dress sizes when they burn off the fat.


I’m not fat, I’m fluffy

Computing your Body Mass Index (BMI) is not a surefire way to determine if you’re fit or fat since it deals with the height-weight ratio. Instead, compute for your body fat percentage and determine your level of fitness or weight loss goal from there. An acceptable body fat percentage is at 25% to 31% of your total measurements. If you don’t know how to compute for your body fat percentage, you may do so at BMI-Calculator.net. For more information about body fat percentage, check out this informative and humorous “Everything you need to know about body fat percentage” article from Nerd Fitness.

Shapes and cultures

The perception of a “healthy” body shape changes with culture. For instance, in more modern societies, there is a clash between the stick-thin figure of famous models that pressures some women into developing eating disorders and the full-bodied “natural” and “feminine” shape. In other parts of the world, especially those cultures that inhabit deserts and desert-like places, overweight women are held in high regard and some are even pressured to become obese. However, a study published in the European Heart Journal and discussed by TIME indicates that “You can be fat and fit—or thin and unhealthy” depending on your metabolic health.


Are you apple- or pear-shaped?

Busy bees

Not everyone has the time to go to the gym or work out at home. Luckily, there are some exercises that can be done in spite of a very busy schedule. Here are some weight loss ideas that you can do:
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Stress less

The moment you step into your office, your mind is already (or is supposed to be) geared towards working. It can’t be helped if every minute spent working means additional stress which can trigger stress-eating or bingeing. It would be ideal if you can separate your work life from your personal life and focus on relaxing outside of work. If you really can’t do that, at least give yourself some quiet time by not thinking about work while eating dinner or absolutely not thinking about work at least an hour prior to sleeping because stress can cause sleepless nights which, in turn, slow down your metabolism and weaken your body’s  immune system.
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Breathe and meditate

If you will notice yoga practitioners, many of them are physically fit and it’s not just because they will their bodies to stretch out and assume difficult positions. A big part of yoga’s success is teaching proper breathing techniques that enable proper circulation of oxygen in the body. Since some difficult positions are also involved, yoga forces the mind to focus on what the body is doing at the moment. Thus, it shifts the focus of your mind to the moment and not on what happened in the office a few hours ago. However, if you are quite sure that you aren’t flexible enough for yoga, you can just practice proper breathing techniques that you can do while working. Check out Kassandra Montero’s article, “3 Ways Breathing Exercises Can Reduce Stomach Fat.”

Extra effort

If you don’t live too far away from your workplace, consider using a bicycle instead of driving to your office. Another option is to take the stairs instead of the elevator at least two floors away from your floor. For instance, if you work on the second or third floor, you can just use the stairs, but if you work all the way up on the 18th floor, you can just get off the 15th or 16th floor and walk from there. You can also take short walks during lunch breaks.
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Create the space

If you have a difficult time meditating because you don’t have much space in your home, create a space for it. You can have a nature-inspired meditation spot in your garden or near a pocket garden inside your home. You can also opt to stay on your terrace under the morning sun or the brightness of the moon. You can even have a special spot on your couch or bed just for meditation. If you have a space for it, then you can’t put off meditating anymore.
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Be content

Many times, people actually have an acceptable shape and are generally fit until the media declares that they are not and they believe it. It’s not bad to want to be more physically fit but your efforts should match your intent and actual physical condition. If you know that you are not in bad shape then you should be contented with what you have now. That’s not to say that you should forget working out altogether and just binge. We simply mean that there is nothing wrong with having a little fat in some places because fat is also necessary in the human body.

Remember, fabulous Treetopia reader: Aim to be physically fit and not stick thin.

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