What Athletes can teach us? Yeah, I said it.

All this buzz about the Olympics, athletes, food, working out, and the like. It seems to be New Year Resolutions time all over again. We become inspired by the athletes with their svelte bodies, mind-boggling speeds, and obsessed with their routines. However, we also tend to become all defensive about their great attributes. We want to feel coddled about our body image and make it seem like “We are the normal ones, so it’s okay” type of mentality.

I have been doing a lot of research on Obesity and South Texas and the numbers were staggering. I was so shocked that I felt sort of disillusioned at what we have done to ourselves. Rates of diabetes among Mexican Americans in South Texas between the ages of  20 and older were 1.4 times higher than the reported national average for our communities.

I read several fitness and health related diet articles trying to figure out what works for my body but when I see a number like the one above and when I see Five of our cities in the Maxim Fattest City Lists, when do we say enough? We have an epidemic on our hands in South Texas and although we tried to have a Get Fit rally cry, it fizzled as does all usual types of things based on self motivation. Some succeed and others don’t but I read an article on Mamiverse titled Don’t let the Olympics make you feel Fat! and continued to discuss how Olympians have been training from Childhood and we should never hold ourselves to those same standards.

I say “Bullshit.”

Why do I say this?

I say this because they should inspire you. We should never compare our bodies to those of an Olympic athlete nor should we compare our bodies to those who are Victoria Secret Models but if the Olympics show us anything is that grit, determination, and a healthy lifestyle can show some amazing results.

Athletes show us how to work hard and find time everyday for a workout. Hell, if they can work out five hours a day well, can we manage 30 minutes. A friend of mine who was a former thrower ( we are not known for our running attributes) just lost an obscene amount of weight by running and is planning a half marathon.

Athletes show us to be competitive and not in the way that the media portrays competitiveness. It is an inner drive unharnessed to see if you can get to the next max squat weight, a better time, a longer distance.

I was proud I could run for one minute now. Next goal, two minutes running.

Athletes teach us that diet is a relative term and fueling your body is far more important than having that last piece of stale chocolate cake from the fridge.

Athletes teach us to push through the pain, the burn, the inner desire to give up and to stop. Our grit comes from pushing through the burn and knowing that all your training is for something. I personally was an athlete and I prefer to consider myself training.

I am training for a 5k, some sort of end result to my effort. A challenge to myself and although I may never make it to the olympics how can we say we should not be inspired to get out and get fit. An Olympian is an Elite Athlete but before they were Olympians, many of them were just Athletes…Amateur Athletes at that.

They poured every ounce of themselves into their sport so shouldn’t we pour ourselves into every aspect of our health in the same way we do in our lives. Should we conquer our nerves and our fears in the same way that the Olympians do when in London or in Competition? It is that fear that makes us great, that conquering of it. That sense of accomplishment that comes with shattering your own personal best record and a sense that I was able to conquer the world even if it is in our own backyard.

It is that drive we should admire and use as we conquer our baby steps and in the end someone will ask us or admire our progress and we will say “One step at time.”

Nothing happens overnight, why should weight-loss and getting healthy be absolved from this rule. Dedication, hardwork, and overcoming our own fears (food, body).

Why should we not look up to athletes and strive to perfect our own health? I say it is better to do that than the alternative which is a vicious cycle of binge eating, yo-yo dieting, or a combination of them all.

We can all be athletes and I for one will show my kids these heroic people who strived to be the best people they could be!




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