Get Fit Means A Lot But So Does Body Shaming
Get fit is an important aspect of many people’s lives. It’s usually our main goal at the beginning of every year. Yet somehow the motivation to continue begins to fade. This is because we haven’t clarified our ‘why’ yet. It’s easy to start a new gym membership, buy some activewear workout clothes and download fitness apps.
But it gets harder to clarify why you’re doing it, especially without using your weight as your main source of motivation. The problem with using physical appearance as your ‘why,’ is it becomes easy to body shame which makes it easy to lose motivation when you’re not achieving the body you’d like to have.
Body shaming is never acceptable. No matter what form it shows up in. But the worst kind is when you do it to yourself, so much so, that it makes you give up on your goals. If you focus purely on your weight or physical appearance, it seems normal to crack jokes about how fat or lazy you are when you don’t work out. This attitude is never going to help you sustain a new goal like getting fit. You need to rewire your mindset.
This could be why there’s an increase in eating disorders and body dysmorphia.
So, what is a more positive approach to beginning your fitness and health journey?
Get Fit But Without The Shame
This is something we forget to address. I mean, it’s easy to head straight into your training plan and diet, without thinking twice about your mental state. What happens when you lack motivation one day? Or, when you have a random day of indulging?
Knowing ‘why’ will prevent you from giving up and feeling pangs of self-hate.
David Perkins, a psychotherapist tells Homet.Com that there are better ways to stay motivated without self-shaming.
This is what he suggests:
Step 1: Think About Your Motives
Perkins believes that there is a fine line between healthy motives to get fit and using your desire to change everything about yourself. This can be an unhealthy approach. He explains that when your desire to lose weight or increase your muscle mass starts to negatively impact your life. It is time to take a serious look at what is going on.
More importantly, stop making yourself feel ridiculously guilty for deviating off a rigid diet or missing a gym session. Experts call this the self-harming approach. They state that everyone must identify what their core beliefs are first so that we can positively influence our behavior. If you manage to do this, then you’ll base your self-worth on who you are rather than on what you eat or how frequently you train.
You need to believe that you are worthy of love, no matter what you look like. Otherwise, you will never be happy no matter how much you train or don’t train. Some people choose how much they love themselves based on whether or not they have abs. This just isn’t healthy and it’s going to make you feel very upset when you can’t achieve it. Unfortunately, society has created a perception that to be thin is better than fat, or tall is nicer than short. All of these are based on perception and are not facts.
That’s why you must know what the ‘why’ is first. This will make you more aware of how you speak to yourself. Understand that there’s a difference between wanting to get fit so that you look thinner. And getting fit because it makes you feel good. There’s zero motivation when you’re eating clean to lose weight. However, there’s much more when it is because it’s healthy for you. Be sure to clarify your motives because once they are clear, your motivations become internal and personal. Change your mindset to care less about how the rest of the world sees you.
Once you know why you want to create change, then you’ll be able to continue maintaining the changes,
Step 2: Stop Joking At Your Own Expense
It’s very easy to make jokes about yourself that are actually pretty hurtful. I often hear people degrading themselves, by joking about their overindulgences or laziness. Calling themselves useless or pigs whenever they don’t go to the gym or eat healthily. This is all negative self-talk.
Perkins explains that these kinds of comments are not always problematic, it’s only when they chip away at your self-esteem. Sometimes they can be good because they are a way of acknowledging your ‘not so good’ habits or behaviors, but you do them anyway.
I think it’s best to acknowledge our downfalls, and then to accept them. Once we are okay with them, we can then find ways to improve on them and slowly start making positive changes based on how good they make us feel. This is how you make positive, sustainable changes in your journey to make positive changes.
Step 3: Focus On Your Feelings Rather Than Your Weight
The common mistake with people is that they base their success around their physical appearance. There’s a lot of transformation pictures, calorie tracking, and self-critique. People look in the mirror or step on the scale and judge themselves immediately. Experts explain that it’s healthier to concentrate on functional improvements like whether you can lift more this month than you could last month. Or your ability to run longer or the improved ease of key yoga poses.
This is what I do. It is a much more positive way of tracking your progress. It’s also a lot more satisfying. In fact, all bodies are different because of many different factors like water intake, hormones and even how much you’ve slept. Therefore, you shouldn’t use your body as a clear measure of your progress.
It also helps to contribute to spreading love and positive energy throughout. Keep the compliments flowing.
Step 4: Cut The Diets And Eat Mindfully
Sure, if you cut some calories you’ll most likely lose weight. But chances are you will gain it all back because you’ve deprived your body of too much. Once you know about calorie tracking – it’s far too easy to get obsessed with it. Perkins suggests that people practice ‘mindful eating’ instead. This means that you will start paying extra attention to how your body feels when it’s hungry or full. Despite the food you’re eating, you stop judging yourself and listen to what your body wants and learn to respect that. If you only eat when you’re hungry and stop eating when you’re full. You’re more likely to maintain a stable weight without worrying about food. It can even help resolve an eating disorder.
Experts explain that those with eating disorders often want to feel more in control so that they can manage their stress, Park says. someone with an eating disorder can’t ‘just stop’ or ‘just eat normally.’ Of course they would if they could. However, it takes time to recover and lots of safe forms of support. Places like the National Eating Disorders Association are great institutions to start at. It helps to talk about these problems and mental illnesses.
Social media can help with motivation but it can also do the opposite. If you’re someone who needs help then it might be best to take a much-needed break from all networks. To get fit, does not mean to deprive yourself.
Step 6: Find Out What Makes You Happy
The most important factor is to find happiness in the activities you’re engaging in. That means eating and exercising too. These elements must bring you happiness and not stress.
Do what makes you feel happy! Get fit in ways that feel great and stop doing exercises that feel stressful. Stop following everything that your best friend Suzy does on Instagram. Just because she lifts the heaviest weights in town, doesn’t mean it’s for you to do as well. We’re all unique. It’s a pointless exercise trying to participate in an exercise that stresses you out. That creepy hormone called cortisol will quickly build up and cause further water retention and even weight gain! Just do what you enjoy.
Now focus the same energy towards food. Healthy eating to get fit doesn’t have to mean eating dry bowls of oats every day. It means stumbling upon new and creative recipes. This is fun! Good food should feel like fun and not work. Give it your best shot and notice the positive changes!
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