Being healthy is not only a mindset, but also a way of life. People use diets and exercise as self-esteem boosters and stress relievers. As a Fit Thinker, dieting and exercising is a required part of daily life. Being fit is not a matter of eating healthy on occasion, or making a trip to the gym when you are having a bad day, but a matter of dedicating your life to being an all around healthy individual all of the time. Fit Thinkers do not become angry with themselves for responding to daily life in the ways they normally would, but instead they think positively about their desire to have a healthier mindset. Having the mindset of Fit Think requires waking up every day and asking yourself why you want to be more in shape, and having good enough reasons to keep you motivated to become an all around more in shape individual no matter how hard it may be at times. A Fit Thinker is constantly of the mindset “mind over matter”, and they know that temptation can be deadly to a healthy lifestyle.
Although the stress of every day life makes it extremely difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle, Fit Thinkers are strong and dedicated enough to make it through these challenges. Driving by fast food restaurants, watching friends eat fried and sweet foods, and having to go to the gym for hours on end every day are only a few of the challenges Fit Thinkers face. The ability to resist temptation is a quality that most people do not have, but Fit Thinkers value their appearance and self-esteem more than temporary highs that come with indulging in guilty pleasures. During my observation at one of the dining halls at East Carolina University, I watched the dedicated and in shape students choose a healthy sandwich with fruit and vegetables or a salad or ceaser wrap over a fried chicken sandwich, a hamburger or a cheesesteak with French fries.
Fit Thinkers view their lifestyle as more of a job, not a hobby. They are not allowed to take days off or have people cover their shifts. Fit Think is an every day commitment, and if a day is missed, Fit Thinkers know that it cannot be made up. At a professional place of employment, you cannot choose to just quit for a day and then expect to get your job back the next. Fit Thinkers know that if they choose to quit even for a day, they run the risk of falling behind and possibly becoming stuck in the mindset that it is acceptable to just give up.
A healthy diet is an extremely large and important part of a Fit Thinkers life. Being stared in the eyes by a huge ice cream sundae a friend may be eating and being able to resist taking a taste is a huge challenge but worth it in the end. A necessary part of Fit Thinking is to pay acute attention to how you feel during and after indulging in unhealthy food. Although it may be a delicious and guilty pleasure for the seconds you can taste it, the price that is paid while feeling regret and negativity after indulging is not worth it. Fit Thinkers have the mindset that food is simply fuel, not something that is meant to be a guilty pleasure or to be enjoyed. Sweets and unhealthy foods can be rewards for a good month of working out and staying strong, but are not meant to be enjoyed daily. By indulging in unhealthy foods frequently, their value is decreased and therefore no longer appreciated.
Not only is eating healthy a necessity for Fit Think, but so is exercise. Fit Thinkers do not treat exercise as a chore, but something that is done for the own personal good and benefit. When exercise is approached as a chore, it seldom gets accomplished. Through the many observations I made while at the East Carolina University gym, I noticed that the inexperienced and not committed students at the gym just stood around and did not have routines, and I quickly realized how easy it is to pick out the people who are truly dedicated to achieving a goal while working out. Fit Thinkers have come to the realization and transformed the idea of exercise into something positive. After exercising, the feeling of euphoria is overwhelming and Fit Thinkers become almost addicted to this high and therefore look forward to exercising every day. The inexperienced gym goers that I observed at the East Carolina University gym took frequent water breaks and looked as if they were in pain after doing simple exercises, and I could tell they were not feeling the euphoric emotion that Fit Thinkers experience during and after working out. Many people expect immediate results from exercise and therefore get frustrated easily when they do not see instantaneous changes in their bodies, but Fit Thinkers know that it takes time to achieve health through exercise goals. We set small, realistic goals, think positive and look forward to long-term results, not expecting immediate changes.
Instead of expecting immediate changes in appearance, Fit Thinkers set weekly goals that consist of sticking to their regimens. After a week of holding to their commitments and requirements to their plan of diet and exercise, Fit Thinkers will reward themselves with something along the lines of renting a movie or going shopping. By using positive reinforcement other than unhealthy snacks and food, they are encouraging themselves to stay strong and dedicated. A large part of a Fit Thinker’s motivation is to be encouraged by other people. Most Fit Thinkers are members of large gyms and have a partner to go to the gym with because it boosts motivation when you have someone else going through the same hardship of being so truly dedicated as you are. Not only do Fit Thinkers usually have a gym partner, but they also will have a personal trainer. To a Fit Thinker, having a personal trainer gives them a sense of security. This sense of security reminds them that they are doing the right things to stay in shape and remain healthy. Personal trainers encourage their clients to eat healthy and give specific diet and exercise regimens out. Fit Thinkers do not take these directions simply as a grain of salt like a normal person just going to the gym for fun, but they insist upon living their lives by these instructions and feel a sense of disappointment in themselves if they do not stick to what they are being told to do. By following a personal trainer’s instructions on diet and exercise routines, Fit Thinkers become more confident in themselves. Personal Trainers also help Fit Thinkers set up reasonable and accessible goals, which is an extremely difficult task to do alone. Fit Thinkers view their personal trainers as their support system when things get tough because their normal group of friends cannot always provide good advice or answers when Fit Thinkers are struggling with issues pertaining to health. For example, as a Fit Thinker if I am struggling with sticking to my healthy diet and I ask a friend of mine to support me through it, the typical response would be for them to encourage me to indulge because of how hard I have been working. However, my personal trainer will talk me through the issue and encourage me to just keep working hard and remind me of how hard I have worked to get to the point I am at and to not throw it all away for a temporary high.
Although Fit Think is a constant mental struggle, the human body longs to be healthy and in shape, and Fit Thinkers are the people who are actually motivated enough to keep their bodies in tip top condition. There are days when you just absolutely do not want to get out of bed to work out, or when you just want to indulge in some unhealthy food, but being able to stay strong and committed are the most important traits of a Fit Thinker. To strive to be the best and as healthy as you can be is the definition of a Fit Thinker, and it is not easy to earn this title, but those who do are fully deserving of it. Appendix A: “Observation Report”
On February 15, 2013, I went to the gym at the East Carolina University campus gym by Menden Hall at 3:13 p.m. for an hour and 15 minutes to observe people who exercise and their routines. I noticed that more girls were around the track near cardio equipment and on the second floor while more guys were on the first floor of the gym near the weights. More athletic looking girls were on the treadmills while the non-athletic looking girls were walking around the track or jogging while socializing with friends. The more athletic girls had nice under armor or Nike gear specifically for working out and look like more experienced with working out. While others that don’t look that experienced had t-shirts and Sophie shorts on and looked like the every-day attire. It looked like the more experienced girls had more than one routine, for example, arm exercises, cardio, abs, etc. while the people that didn’t look experienced just ran around the track or walked around the track the whole time. The experienced girls didn’t take as many water breaks as the non-experienced girls. There were not many non-experienced guys at the gym, the guys all looked pretty fit, but there was about half of the athletic girls at the gym and half of them that were not as athletic. I also noticed that after working out, the people who knew what they were doing got smoothies with protein in them while the other inexperienced students did not get a smoothie after working out at all or did not add protein. I also observed on February 16, 2013 at 360 in Menden Hall at lunch time at 12:00 p.m. to record and observe eating and nutrition. The fit and in shape girls mostly ate at Bleeker Street and had carrots and ranch and some kind of healthy sandwich and had the Dasani water drinks while the un-athletic people were eating Chick-fil-a or the other unhealthy place in 360 and getting soda as their drinks. There were some athletic people who got Chick-fil-a but instead of the chicken nuggets and chicken sandwiches, they got the wraps and salads. Most people had ranch or Chick-Fil-A sauce as their sauces. I also noticed that in line at Bleeker Street that there were hardly any guys and it was all girls. The guys ate everywhere else other than the one healthy place and the guys usually had more than one portion of what they were suppose to eat. For example, two chicken sandwiches instead of one. The guys ate more rapidly than the girls did and at a much faster pace while the girls took their time and socialized.