Fit, But Unhappy?

May 14, 2012

in Blog, My Philosophy, News, Facts, Fitness

Happy Monday…hope you all had a fabulous weekend!  Today I wanted to discuss something that’s been on my mind for a while, and I thought it would be good to write it all down in a post.

Do you find that if you try to maintain a certain amount of strictness on a health and fitness plan, that you find yourself starting to become unhappy?  This has happened to me first hand.  I don’t know whether it was the lack of carbs, intensity of training or what.  But I’ll admit…being too strict has made me pretty miserable!  I was constantly in a foul mood, always snappy, and just not as fun to be around.  I didn’t like myself at all!  The more fit I became, the more unhappy I got.  Even though I felt better about myself on the outside, I was more unhappy on the inside.  I just didn’t feel like the same, bubbly old me.

Any form of diet (no matter what it is), can put you in that state of mind.  Why do you think such a majority of people yo-yo diet and go back to their old ways?  Most people HATE being on a diet, and the restrictions they put on themselves.

I’m sure people may look at me and notice I’m not the most fit person in the fitness world.  I’m not as strict with my diet as a lot of people are.  The thing is that, its a choice.  I choose not to be super lean.  If I wanted to do it, I could. That’s not the issue.  I’m disciplined enough, and I know exactly how to get there, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to do it.

Naturally, everyone is different, so some people can somehow manage to keep their same emotional state when on a focused eating and exercise plan, but I would assume with majority of people, it effects them in some way.

Most people when they start a new plan are very excited about it, and follow everything to a tee.  There is nothing like fresh motivation.  I’m more referring to after the initial 16 weeks…when the redundancy starts to kick in. The maintenance phase, which is where most people fall off the wagon.

I’m all about being fit, but my point is, if being happier means you’re maybe 5-10 lbs (or a 5% bodyfat) above what you would consider is your ideal is, but yet, you are more happy…why fight it?  You’re still at a healthy weight, still have your sanity, so I say, stop obsessing, and start learning how to be happy with your body!  Women are very good at being extra tough on themselves.

I think the key is finding a plan that doesn’t feel like a diet.  Something that you actually do enjoy (no pretending!), where you can still eat the things you enjoy eating in moderation, and exercise enough to get results, but without spending all your time in the gym, and have it become such a consuming factor in your life.

People can feel free to blast me for thinking this way, and I know it won’t make a difference to people who are already self-immersed and borderline obsessed with their eating and fitness plans, but these are my thoughts.

There are many “hard core” people in the industry that are overly concerned with achieving perfection (which we all know doesn’t exist), and in the meantime, balance is totally lost in the process.  What bugs me even more, is these are the same people that can turn “healthy-minded” individuals into overly-obsessed ones.  Who cares if you have a wicked body, if you’re not happy and not pleasant to be around, what kind of quality of life is that?  Of course, to each their own, but after having gone through what I have, I know that the grass is definitely greener on this side!

I’m a happier person, and setting a much better example for people around me.  You can be healthy, happy, fit and emotionally healthy.

So if you ever find yourself losing some of your spark because of it, take a step back and re-asses your goals. There is always going to be some amount of sacrifice and dedication, you just need to figure out how far you can go while staying healthy minded in the process…


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I'm Kristine Fretwell, busy mom of 2 little girls, author, blogger, and former pro fitness competitor. I love almost any kind of cookie, anything coconut or pumpkin flavored, and Thai food. A perfect day for me is enjoying my family, getting to the gym, and whipping up a new healthy recipe. I've got a collection of over 300 healthy recipes, and other tidbits like fitness and health tips. My recipes have been featured on websites such as Huffington Post, Savvy Mom, Shape and Skinny Scoop.
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Latest posts by Kristine (see all)

  • Callie

    I really really feel you on this! I started a health & beauty blog a few months ago now & I am all about being healthy & going to the gym & eating clean & healthy but I am not going to avoid everything in life to look a certain way & I have to admit there have been times that I have been tempted to but I was always miserable as well.  You do not have to look like the girls that are gracing the cover s of fitness magazines to be healthy & fit.  I don’t look like that & although I wouldn’t mind it, I know that if it meant sacrificing my sanity then it’s not worth it. It’s gotta be enough to love yourself for who you are & to do the best you can with not only your eating & exercise habits but in your personal life as well.  Me not being willing to sacrifice what I would have to sacrifice to look that way is a choice! But I am no less healthy because of it. I really got a lot out of this! This was a great post!  🙂

  • Carissa Oltmann

    Wow.  This rings so true to me.  I always tell people, “when I’m old and perhaps dying, I will never say ‘I wish I hadn’t eaten that cookie'”.  Now, it’s not necessarily a cookie in itself, but what it symbolizes.  The ability to flex and fit yourself to what is going on around you within reason.  Be healthy, but be flexible and balance will come.

  • Revitalizeurlife

    I did a healthy nutritional cleanse and lost nearly 30 pounds! Altho I could probably stand to lose another 10 pounds, I am much happier and healthier getting the toxins (and fats) out of my body and am very glad of the results I did achieve and will enjoy the new me, without obsessing about the extra 10 pounds!
    any questions [email protected]

  • Anna @ The Guiltless Life

    Great post! I have experienced this myself – a while ago now, but when I was first training for a duathlon. I was just training so intensely. I was eating whatever I wanted, pretty much (except for sugar but only because it was making me feel gross, so I didn’t really want it) but I lost a ton of weight and was just really cranky. It’s absolutely not worth it!

  • Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner

    This is such an amazing post. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. It has really changed me for the better. 🙂

  • Colleen_keith

    I identify with this so well. I’ve definitely been there, on numerous diets, training programs AND my lapses back into eating disorders. I am now so much happier (even though I’m maybe 10lbs more than I’d like to be), while still being an inspiration to my friends, family and group fitness participants (I teach classes). And my boyfriend and I get along way better when I’m enjoying food and not obsessively counting calories and protein grams when we’re out to dinner. To each their own, but I want to enjoy life. Our bodies don’t last forever, but our relationships, love and memories will 🙂

    • Kristine Fretwell

      Well said Colleen!! 🙂

  • Skicutie44

    I am struggling with this so thank you!

    • Kristine Fretwell

       You’re welcome 🙂

  • R.W

    Thank you. I need to read this ! This is so very true. Trying to be everything all the time is a challenge and eventually something has to give. It is all about moderation in everything, that balance between obsession and fit and healthy. I am sure you will get a few hits about this post. Good for you for putting this out there. You are not giving people permission to indulge , just giving them permission to be fit , healthy and HAPPY!

    • Kristine Fretwell

       Totally, glad you agree!

  • MigraineMe

    Great post!  I just started reading your blog but this helps to keep it in perspective!  I read a lot of blogs that start to make me feel guilty for not keeping to a strict diet and exercising enough, but sometimes life just happens and this helps me remember that being happy does make me healthy!

    • Kristine Fretwell

       Very true! Life does happen sometimes, and its best to just enjoy it, and not panic about it! lol

  • Suzanne(Fit Minded Mom)

    I LOVE this post. I really, really do!! I see so many people who have become “obsessed” with getting to a certain weight or body fat % that they are actually becoming unhealthy in the process. I think sometimes people forget that just because you look healthy does NOT mean you are. Anyone who restricts their diet long term(not eating enough healthy carbs, ect) is causing harm to their body and mental health. 

    I see nothing wrong with being lean and fit but it should not cost you happiness. I have been there, “obsessed” with food and exercise and honestly, it got me nowhere. It caused me to have awful binge episodes and I felt awful about myself. I have come to realize that although I may want to weigh 120 pounds, I may have to settle for 125-128 because that is my bodies happy place!!

    • Kristine Fretwell

       I totally agree!  Binging is a bad mind game, and is a big part of the problem on diets that are too strict. Glad you’ve found your happy balance!

  • cc

    Wow! I really needed this today! It’s my birthday and my hubby wants to take me to this really indulgent restaurant he knows I love and I’m obsessing over the fact that everything there is not diet friendly.   

    • Kristine Fretwell

       Birthday’s come but once a year….enjoy it! One bad meal won’t kill ya 😉

  • Lauren

    Really needed to hear this today. I read all these health/fitness blogs and I think it’s becoming detrimental. I see what people post they eat all day and realize I eat way more because I’m hungry, but not overweight! I have a full time job and go to the gym 5 times a week and try to eat healthier but this weekend I ate out a bunch, drank, and had multiple slices of my birthday cake. I have to remind myself that I’m doing my best without sacrificing a social life and my happiness! I’m not going to get a six pack unless I kept up with a strict diet but that doesn’t mean I still can’t look fab in a bikini this summer! 

    • Kristine Fretwell

      I found that when I stopped doing the “cheat day” thing, it got better for me. When I wanted something, I’d have it, but then when I did, I wouldn’t have multiple servings as I would if I only allowed myself 1 bad meal set out on a specific day of the week….know what I mean?  Regardless, its one day, and you just pick up and move on back to the healthy food.

  • sweatforsweets

    This is a g reat post! Thanks for bringing up this very important topic. I, too, am very self-motivated & could probably have six-pack abs if I tried, but choose to enjoy chocolates & drinks and not obsess! Life’s just too short to completly restrict yourself!

    • Kristine Fretwell

       Agreed!  Maintaining 6 pack abs for women is not healthy at all anyway. Unfortunately our bodies like us to carry a bit more body fat naturally versus men.

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