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Healthy Is The New Skinny: 3 Good And Not-So-Good Reasons To Get Fit

Health didn't really become a big concern for me until about my junior year of college and even then, I was horribly uneducated about it.

I didn't know what foods were good for me, how to portion anything or how to properly exercise. I never learned any of that stuff, and I never had the motivation to change myself before then.

Even after I decided health needed to be a priority, I was at a loss for where to begin and once again, my motivation originated from the wrong place entirely.

I was ashamed of how I looked, embarrassed by my abilities and anxious about dieting and the gym.

It wasn't until I sorted out my motivation that I began to see actual results from my efforts, and the process took me a few years.

Maybe if I had this straightened out earlier, I'd be a lot further along in my journey now. Here are my takeaways of what should and shouldn't be motivations for you to get healthy:

You SHOULD NOT get healthy so that you can impress other people.

Don't make it about other people because it has nothing to do with them.

It's not their bodies and it'll have no effect on their lives at all. You must do this strictly for yourself — to make yourself proud. If someone else has a problem with how you look, is that really your problem?

It's something in someone else's mind, something he or she has to carry around and something that's much more revealing of his or her poor character than anything about you.

You SHOULD NOT get healthy to make yourself happy with how you look in the mirror.

I realize this will always be part of it, but what most people don't take into account is that no one is fully and truly happy with how he or she looks.

We all harbor things about ourselves that don't satisfy us and that we'd like to change. This isn't a physical problem, it's a mental thing. That's how you have to tackle those issues.

Don't wait to become happy with yourself after you reach your goal weight — work on accepting yourself right now.

Being happy with yourself has nothing to do with losing 15 pounds and everything to do with inner self-confidence. That's not something avocados and squats will bring into your life.

You SHOULD NOT get healthy because you feel guilty, ashamed or pressured into it.

That's where I started, and it got me nowhere. It made me afraid of trying new workouts because I worried I would look stupid.

It made me fearful of asking for help because I might get judged. In short, it made my efforts almost pointless because I was getting nowhere with them.

When I decided to let go of the shame, the fear and the guilt, I started to see results because what I was doing became a lot more effective.

I asked for help, and I received it — more of it than I could have ever imagined! You don't have to do this alone and you should never feel embarrassed about going to the gym or asking that super-healthy friend for tips and tricks. They want to help and they want to see you succeed.

If someone at the gym is giving you a little side eye, doesn't it just prove he or she is a pretty awful person and you shouldn't care what he or she thinks?

You SHOULD get healthy to feel good.

I know everyone says it, but does everyone mean it? You will notice a change if you do it right. You will have more energy, your skin will be clearer and you will be, in some measure, happier. Doing good things for your body is also good for your mind, and that should be a cause for excitement!

You SHOULD get healthy so that you can simply do more things.

This past fall, I went on a trip to Vietnam with some of my best friends. We did some incredibly strenuous activities that, a year or two ago, might have caused me serious injury or incredible terror (the 70-mile bike ride and canyon repelling, specifically).

While I'm not where I need to be to really excel at these activities, I've come so far and I feel so proud of myself for participating in them at any level.

It made me realize that first and foremost, I want to improve my health and fitness because I want to be able to do amazing things like that.

I don't want to sit on the sidelines and watch; I want to be part of the action. And, I can't do that if I don't have the energy to do it.

It's so important to enjoy life and tackle everything possible when given the opportunity. That's a massive motivator for me to get into the gym and choose the right kind of meals.

Finally, you SHOULD get healthy to impress yourself.

Quit worrying about impressing and comparing stats with anyone else who is also getting fit. What would impress you?

Set goals for yourself: strict, written-down goals and then, surpass them. Do better than you did last week. Make your only competitor yourself and dazzle yourself at every turn. My only competition is me.

Examine your reasons for setting your current fitness goals. Make sure they're healthy and effective and most importantly, take good care of yourself because you absolutely deserve it.