Our body does not define who we are. Much of our time is spent looking at how negative our bodies are by falling victim to scales, how we see ourselves in the mirror, and the size of our clothes. Many people workout, eat clean, maintain a positive mindset, and even though others would perceive them as looking good, they still fall into the trap of creating a poor self-image.
We have no control over our genetics but we do control our thoughts and our habits. The false perception created by how others look in magazines and in TV ads has made us fallen victim to our bodies. It’s this perception that has led us to believe to thoughts that if we’re skinny and fit, we’re healthy, and therefore happy. Being fit is just one aspect of health. It’s important to be active every day but this doesn’t necessarily mean going to a gym every day. Sitting for long periods of time can be just as bad for our bodies even if we do workout every day.
We are all blessed with something more useful than our bodies and that is our minds. Breaking away from the negative impacts of poor self-image and learning to respect our bodies and appreciate what we have until we change it, is a process. Here are ways to feel confident in your own body and own it.
1.Let Go of the Wrong Numbers
Why do numbers dictate our health so much? Measuring is a way of tracking progress, or at least we think it is. We use a scale to weigh ourselves or our food, we count calories to stay within a certain daily allowance, we go by dress sizes to we feel better about our bodies, or we count how many steps we take in a day to see if we meet our active requirements.
Ask yourself this question, how do you feel when you don’t measure up to these numbers daily or weekly? It’s exhausting, right? To let numbers dictate how our day will turn out is not really living and counter-productive. When we focus on the numbers, we lose sight of why we are truly trying to achieve optimal health.
Over time, learn to ditch the scale and focus on performance and how your body feels. This can be so empowering. If you’re going for a leisure run, just go outside and run for fun instead of measuring the distance or time. Notice how much more relaxed you are and enjoying being in the moment. As for the scale, most people don’t know what 120 lbs and 135 lbs looks like. No one is judging your body but yourself. How great would it feel to stop counting calories or measuring out your food? Learn to appreciate how the nutrients in food make your body feel instead of just focusing on taste or calories. Feed your body with progress, not the measurement of a scale.
2. Let Go of Perfection to Find Balance
Reality is we’re human, and it’s ok to have bad days. We only have so much time in a day to achieve the body we want so if you find you have reached that optimal balance of work and personal time, then accept your body for its imperfections. We all have them. It’s these imperfections that make us unique. If you are not willing to give up all the bad foods or put time into working out, then you have to make peace with your body, otherwise you will never be happy. If you are striving for the perfect body, I have news for you, it doesn’t exist. People spend hours upon hours working out or follow food patterns that make them not just unhappy bur resentful as they feel they are missing out on life.
In this busy world we live in, finding balance between work, health, and play is very difficult to achieve for many. You can have it all, but you have to decide what is more important. When you learn to let go of the numbers, diets, rigid workout schedules and using apps to track every movement, you learn to appreciate your body so much more. I call this freedom. Freedom to choose balance on your terms and what makes you happy.
It’s time that we let go of what we are told perfection is supposed to look like and decide for ourselves what it should be to find our own healthy balance.
3. Create Your Own Positive Gym
Gone are the days of purchasing gym memberships and following structured fitness programs. Mind you, gyms still provide a very positive and motivating environment (I should know, I worked in many of them for years and still do) but there are so many opportunities now to get fit and stay active. Most important, your gym should be a space where accomplishments matter. Regardless of where you choose to be active, the end result is to feel confident in your own body and feel better in a manageable way.
One thing that people don’t realize is that once you reach a certain size, body fat level, or weight, the long-term happiness will not last. It feels great to accomplish a goal but they always have end dates. Find a place to workout that makes you want to jump of bed every morning or end your day with. It’s about how that workout makes you feel that counts.
You can do this in a gym or in your own home. Owning a treadmill and running on a treadmill in a gym is the same thing. It maybe a different model or style but it still does the same job. I’ve never been a fan of gyms and to be quite honest, I don’t like working out in them. I like to think outside of the box when it comes to my workouts unless I train for something in particular. One workout doesn’t fit all. Go outside, incorporate some functional style training while hiking or rent a workout video. Ride a bike, paddle in a canoe, or workout on playground equipment. The biggest piece of advice I provide to people, is do something that you enjoy, otherwise, you will never stick with it.
It’s time to ditch the feeling of what everyone else thinks. What matters is what you think. Appreciate all aspects of your body; good and bad. We don’t walk around with airbrushed bodies as we all come in different shapes and sizes. ROCK YOUR BODY with confidence and be proud of who you have become.
Eat Well – Move Well – Live Well
Your Compassionate Coach,