Let's be honest, the fitness industry can be a minefield of psychological red flags. We see disordered eating masquerading as being "clean", compulsions disguised as dedication, and a façade of inclusion masking the constant judgement of those trying to participate. When lean is lauded it is easy to fall into mindset of being hyper-focused on bodyweight as the main motivator of your fitness regimen. While weight loss can be helpful to achieve a health or fitness goal, for example wanting to be better at rock climbing, in the long list of reasons to exercise weight loss is right down the bottom. In fact, research proves, exercise on it's own is a terrible strategy to try and lose weight.
If you feel stressed, anxious or concerned about weight loss when it comes to your lifestyle, this post will help you identify some tell-tale signs that you are hyper-focused on that outcome and then it will give you some simple strategies to realign you with meaningful, functional and lifelong goals.
3 SIGNS YOU ARE TOO FOCUSED ON WEIGHTLOSS
Your workout is only worthwhile if you hit your calorie count. Maybe you can't stop until you hit a certain number or you feel disappointed in yourself if you don't reach it.
You start thinking about your next workout when you are eating a meal because you have to "earn it" or burn it off.
You feel like your workouts aren't worth it if your weight doesn't change. If you get on the scales and haven't lost weight you might catch yourself thinking "why do I bother?".
Your weight loss is tied to emotional outcomes like confidence and happiness. "I would just be so much happier If I lost 5kg".
If you have some of these thoughts or notice thoughts like them as a consistent pattern, read on for some quick tips to help change your mindset to appreciate how amazing your body can be and generate some positive thoughts around your lifestyle.
Not only will you feel more comfortable about your habits but you'll be more motivated in the long run. If you are really struggling with disordered eating or exercise behaviours, or some intrusive thoughts you can reach out to these organisations for help,
3 TIPS TO CULTIVATE BODY POSITIVITY
Focus on function. Exercise has such a huge role to play in leading a healthy, happy life. Find other things to measure which are more important and more relevant to your life. Things like strength, mobility, maybe reducing pain or just having fun! This might mean you need to stop wearing your smart watch to the gym.
Educate yourself about how your body actually works to gain a greater appreciation for how amazing it is. Did you know that the heart pumps more than 7000L of blood per day? Did you know our bones get stronger when we lift weights? Understanding more about the body will improve the respect you have for your own.
Before and after journaling. This helps to prime your thoughts and reframe them if you feel a strong association between your body size and your sense of self-worth. Before you exercise, make a quick note of 2 or 3 things which define you as a person. To help this, answer the question "What would my best friends say are my best qualities as a person?" I guarantee these are not related to your body size. After your workout is a good time to reconnect with your body. If our thoughts are often negative towards our body, let's take a moment to note down 2-3 things about your body of which you are proud or grateful. e.g. I'm grateful for the strength in my legs which carry me through my day and are getting stronger every week.
It's almost impossible to avoid the crap which bombards us on social media. Just remember, you are the master of your own thoughts and your body. You won't feel perfect all the time but you will always deserve to treat yourself with kindness and respect.