Give Up Labels, Get Results

Identity Seekers
 
Can you do stuff without attaching it to your bio? Some people can't.
 
Here's an example: marijuana use is on the rise in Colorado. There are two types of users, not just here in Colorado, but everywhere.
 
The first type of user usually has a pot leaf tattoo -- often somewhere obvious, like the neck. He wears ganja garb, acts aloof, and more often than not speaks in a manner that says "unemployable." This guy is responsible for all the stereotypes you've ever heard about potheads.
 
He (and the millions like him) made it his world and identity. And it's because of him that many people think it's not possible to use marijuana without also becoming lazy and useless to society.
 
The second type of user doesn't advertise his favorite mind-altering substance on his skin, or his clothing, or in his character. His medicinal and recreational pot use is none of your damn business -- because he keeps it that way. 
 
Oftentimes this user has a successful job, a type-A personality, or he's a high level exec who uses a calculated amounts in order to relax. And maybe he’s not a smoker. But he could be a THC mint eater, using a measured dose to de-stress, not fry his brain.
 
Sure, there's a spectrum between these two, but I've met both kinds of marijuana users. And chances are, you have too without even knowing it. But if you're like half the population, you assume that the only type of user is the first guy. 
 
Do you see the distinction here? There are those who can't experience the benefits of certain things without making it their identity. And there are those who can.
 
We don't have to become the things we use or enjoy. 
 
Diet and Exercise Are No Different
 
I can go for a run without labeling myself a runner. I can have a meal without meat and not call myself a vegetarian. And yes, I can even work out at a CrossFit facility without calling myself a CrossFitter. I can do these things without becoming a stereotype.
 
In the past I've called of myself a bodybuilder because one of my biggest goals has been building my body with muscle. 
 
The label was literal, and it's been an effort to make building muscle approachable to women. I've wanted them to see that average, non-steroid using gals like me can intentionally build a muscular body. 
 
So the label served a purpose. But I realize now that "bodybuilding" is a group  with its own (often accurate) stereotypes and I no longer want to identify as a member. It might've been cool in the '70s, but it's just like any other fitness clique, cult, or club.
 
Your Message to The World
 
 
Do you introduce yourself to people by extending your hand and saying, "Hi, I count macros with an app on my phone before I eat food!"
 
Or maybe you tell the world that your identity as a human being is about avoiding grains and non-organic dairy. That's what you do if your social media bio, T-shirt, or bumper sticker lists your diet of choice. 
 
Congrats, you've become your diet; kind of like the pothead who's become a walking stereotype. But what if you chose to just let your results speak for themselves? 
 
Shouldn't they? 
 
Fit people shouldn't need to wear clothing that broadcasts their clean eating or working out like a beast. Why? Because if that's what they do, and it actually works, then the results will be obvious.
 
If your fit lifestyle is all that great, you'll either look the part or perform it. If it's all that great, then it'll inspire people and pique their curiosity. It'll make them ask questions to find out more.
 
But if you get preachy and beat them over the head with it, most people won't want to know more. (Except those needy for a cult to join.)
 
It's kind of like religion and politics. Show your beliefs through your actions, so that you can influence and teach. But become a pretentious zealot and you'll turn us away... or just attract more of your kind. 
 
Anti-People
 
You know who's often just as bad as the stereotypical pothead? 
 
Those who blindly bash pot: people who don't know the difference between the strains, haven't done any research, and know nothing about folks who've advanced their lives as a result of using it responsibly.
 
Anti-people are more determined to have strong opinions than they are to learn. They refuse to hear the opposition because their thinking is formed by absolutes. They cherry-pick the evidence that lines up with their biases.
 
Kneejerk reactions and stubborn confidence are all they need. Same can be said about fitness.
 
It's like the powerlifter who bashes CrossFit, the CrossFitter who bashes bodybuilding, and the bodybuilder who bashes running. Dieters are just as bad.
 
Psychologists call it out-group bias. You think less of people who aren't in your group. But just because you're not into running or "clean" eating (or whatever) it doesn't mean that others aren't having a better life because of it. 
 
It's harder to admit that different things work for different people when your food/exercise choices are your religion. But instead of becoming a member of a dietary Hezbollah, think in terms of results instead of labels.
 
 
Results > Labels
 
What results do you want?
 
Sure, when you're proud of your work, you may want to identify by the way you eat or train. But you can be disciplined without the label. The way your body looks and performs is due to your practices, not your cliques. 
 
Seek results and you'll have the advantage of choosing the best parts of all diet and workout strategies. 
 
You won't be confined to anyone else's set of rules. After committing to a diet or workout program for a while, you should eventually be able to take off the training wheels and make it your own.
 
Diet and exercise are just tools to improve your life. Don't become them. 
 
Don't be a tool.