Someone said something to me the other day on social media that really took me aback...Is that the right way to say that? As in, I was taken aback? Anyways, you know what I mean. This person said "Since you always talk about clean eating..."
I'm not sure how much this person actually pays attention to me, but if nothing else, I've always hoped that everyone that claims me as a "friend" or follows me on social media for fitness tips and inspiration would know that I have NEVER claimed to be a clean eater. I have friends who eat 100% clean...They are WAY more impressive than I am! Then it hit me...This person has no idea what I'm about, because she's just glanced over my posts and lumped me into the "health nut" category. There is a HUGE difference between "clean eating" and what I do. "Clean eating" is essentially ALL whole foods, nothing processed, and to be honest, I'm really not even sure of the rules on dairy and meat. As you may be able to tell by my level of ignorance on the subject, it's really not something that I have ever thought too much about. So where am I going with all of this? I want the people who trust me as a coach, and the people who may follow me for inspiration, to know, without a doubt, what my fitness philosophy and beliefs are, and even more than that, to know that I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be perfect.
Here are some random musings about my health and fitness philosophy...
I believe in balance. Diets are straight up stupid and don't work. When you go on a diet, there inevitably comes a time where you will go OFF said diet. What's important is embarking on a (mostly) healthy lifestyle that you can MAINTAIN. Do I eat perfectly all day every day? Nope. My husband is on his way home with pizza right now. But last night did I eat baked fish and steamed fucking broccoli? I sure did. I eat 80/20. Meaning 80% good food, 20% bad. Which for me means I follow the 21 Day Fix meal plan during the week, and on the weekends I eat what I want (within reason). It's what works for me and allows me to not go insane.
I STRUGGLE with food. Although I do follow 80/20, I want pizza and chicken wings almost every day. At least once a week I have to talk myself off of the ledge of calling Papa John's. It's hard, but I have learned to remember that if I am going to have goals, I have to eat according to them. Same goes for my challengers...If your goal is to lose 50lbs, you can't call Papa. You gotta call Uncle Ben and the Veggietales, nahmean?
I don't care about GMO's. Ok, that's a lie. I care about them a little, but I'm definitely not going to join a Montesano picket line anytime soon. I have a hard enough time balancing my desire for cheese fries with my desire to stay fit, that I don't obsess about what's GMO and what's not. If you eat out at traditional restaurants (which I frequently do), you are eating GMO's and a shit ton of other garbage, so I don't fool myself by making sure my Triscuits are non-GMO so that I can sleep easier at night. And yes, I eat Triscuits.
I DO care about avoiding asparthame. Ever since I was little, I've always felt like it tasted like poison. I don't know why this matters to me and GMO's don't, but it just does. This is my health, and I just don't care what anyone else thinks, and I encourage my challengers to do the same. If you wanna drink that diet coke it's all good. It's YOUR journey just like it's mine. Just know that in my head I'm doing the whole "stick your finger in your mouth and gag" mime.
I don't eat pork. Not because I care about the fat content, religious significance, or any other reason people don't eat pork. I don't eat it because I truly believe that pigs are equivalent to dogs. They can be pets and are capable of love. I wouldn't eat Morgan and Ginger (my dogs), so I don't eat pigs. That's what works for me. And please don't bring me any "mmmm...bacon" business. I don't care how good bacon is. I wouldn't eat a dog if someone told me it was the best thing on earth, so I ask that you respect my beliefs and not be an asshole. I RARELY eat beef for the same reason, though the feeling isn't as strong for cows as it is for pigs. Ergo, I eat dairy (I HAVE limited it), and will every now and then take a taste of something that has beef in it. I also don't stress about things like pectin or sugar that may or may not be tainted with the bones of pigs. Again, I can't go insane. The entire country is not going to go vegan, so I feel like I'm doing my part with what I've just listed.
I like working out, but there are many times where I have to force myself to do it. I would LOVE to just stay on the couch, but it's a means to an end, and given I've already explained that I'm not a clean eater, it's pretty much a necessity for me. There are days where it sucks. There are days where I half ass it. And then there are days where I feel like I could compete in American Ninja Warrior. But on the whole, I know that if I want my body to change, I HAVE to exercise. I TRULY believe you can lose weight without exercise, but I also believe that it is VITAL to your health to get your blood pumping several times a week, and my goal body looks more like Beyonce's than Miley Cyrus' (who's gorgeous...I just like more of a strong, athletic build than a long, lean yoga body), so for me, I gotsta work them muscles.
On that note, I have no ego when it comes to my fitness. I have tried things that have left me heaving on the ground in front of strangers, I have gone for a run in a sports bra and shorts at 195 pounds with belly fat jiggling away during rush hour traffic. I just don't care what people think and I encourage people that I work with not to either. You are SO MUCH better than anyone who might "look down" on you for not being fit enough, and in reality, the people that YOU are judging, thinking that they are judging YOU, are really probably more proud of you than your current friends who are giving you shit about your new lifestyle and not joining them for happy hour every Wednesday.
I don't care if people use Beachbody products. If you want help, and engage with me as your coach, I'll help you. You can bet that I will definitely RECOMMEND them, because I believe in them 100%, as they are what have helped me to lose 60+ pounds and completely change my life, but it's not a requirement for me to help you. If you're not supporting my business, don't expect me to be "on call" as I am with my challenge group participants, but I'll never turn someone away, especially someone who has the desire but not the money.
Speaking of money, I used to be a total cheapskate about my health. I said I "didn't have the money" to buy products or programs that I so desperately needed. One day, I finally came to the realization that I didn't get to 210 pounds by eating chicken, brown rice, and veggies every day, and that my twice monthly trip to the Olive Garden (and numerous places in between) would pay for my shakeology. I realized that my weight and money were my biggest stressors, but I was blowing money on disgusting, fattening foods. That realization changed my life, and looking back knowing what I know now, I would have paid double. Shit, some people pay 10 times the price of shakeology on weight loss surgery when they could have just as easily started a health and fitness journey for WAY less. (For those that don't know my story, shakeology is what helped me get not only my health, but my SEXY back).
I am not disappointed when people that I coach fall of the wagon...I'm disappointed when they quit. I have fallen off the wagon with my fitness more times than I can count, but I've always gotten back up. I expect others to do the same. I should mention that if you decide that you truly just don't care about your health or the way you look, then I'm not even going to be disappointed if you quit! I want people to be happy. If not caring either way and just enjoying life to the fullest without dietary restraint or exercise makes you happy, then I'm ALL for it! Honestly...DO YOU! But the majority of people that reach out to me aren't happy, and this usually has to do with feeling like crap because of their health or not being comfortable in their current body. So giving up isn't going to make them happy...it's only going to make things worse. I hope that makes sense.
So that's it. I hope that those of you who took time to read this now understand that although I am passionate about health and fitness, I don't deserve to be lumped in with the "clean eaters." I don't have a quarter of their discipline. Going forward, if you need to put me in a box, put me in the "I do what works for me" group. I should also mention that I have a lot of other things going on in my life besides health and fitness. If you want to learn more about me you can check out my "about me" page (click here!). If you wanna join me and get my support, sign up for my free coaching here!
Hi! I'm Andrea Cummings. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle that I can MAINTAIN and that still lets me feel like I'm not being deprived. I like to exercise, but I also love to eat (nachos!). My main focus is to be healthy, not skinny, and to help others do the same! I love Jesus, but I also say fuck a lot, so if you're offended, I may not be the gal for you.