Gotta love IG, Tik Tok, Facebook, and the rest of social media….
We live in an image conscious society where there is a lot of pressure on both men and women to look and behave a certain way.
This pressure we feel from others and the almighty social media that bombards us with images all day comes with a cost. Negative, potentially life-threatening mental, emotional, and psychological consequences often go hidden from the limelight but are very, very real.
Women often feel the need to maintain a certain curvature or be as skinny as possible, whereas men are expected to have six-packs with big muscles. Depending on one’s genetics this may be completely impossible and certainly does not bring about a slew of money, sex, and freedom that seems to go hand-in-hand with what we see on TV or on the ‘gram.
These images and videos we see perpetuated by advertisements and the media are not realistic for everyone nor are they a healthy or effective way to navigate your life-long health & wellness journey.
Being skinny or big and bulky does not necessarily mean a person is healthy or in-shape. I have seen plenty of normal looking people with terrible nutrition and exercise habits. It may not appear to impact them now, but these kind of habits will undoubtedly catch up with them in the future.
Instead of constantly being concerned with your appearance and training for aesthetics, below are several ways to change your approach to fitness:
Train movement patterns and not individual body parts.
The human body is designed to lift, run, push, pull, squat, lunge, rotate, and engage in specific movement patterns that help us get strong, lean, and maximize our results. Rather than only doing bicep curls for bigger arms, focus on functional compound movements like chin-ups and push-ups that utilize multiple muscle groups.
Do not hyper-focus on weight.
Your weight is not the only indicator of your health and fitness. In fact, muscle mass (meaning more weight) is correlated with longevity and enhanced immunity, making it harder for you to get sick or injured. When you engage in resistance or body-weight training you may find your weight holding steady or even increasing—but this can be due to added muscle you are building through these workouts. Keep track of your overall body composition, energy level, and improvements in your exercises.
Focus on performance and progression in workouts.
Training for aesthetic purposes often results a constant state of unhappiness with one’s physique. You can never look good enough. A mindset shift that is performance-driven creates a healthy mental state that takes pressure of how you look to how you function and feel. You only have one body to work with—treat it with respect and love not constant shame.
Counting calories *can* work…but the same is true for eating more healthy food.
It is very useful to know about how many calories your body needs to gain, lose, or maintain weight. But the actual act of counting calories itself tends to be highly inaccurate and can cause further issues surrounding food for some people. Structuring meals to include more healthy foods tends to work just as well due to an increase in fiber, micronutrients, protein, and healthy fat that all aid in fat loss and overall health.
When you engage in physical activity your body compensates for this increased energy expenditure by up-regulating your appetite.
This means that you will naturally feel hungrier. This is when people try to use willpower to control their cravings.
It will fail. The research on willpower, motivation and appetite control is very clear.
Focus on improving your food quality, choosing nutrient-dense foods that nourish and repair your body. This quality of calories you eat will help satisfy your hunger and are for more satiating than “empty calories” such as sodas, candy, and highly processed snacks.
When you begin to add in a few more servings of fruits and vegetables (especially dark greens) you will see and feel the desired changes in your body over time. Swap some whole grains like oats and quinoa for white rice and bread and you will definitely notice a difference. Don’t believe me?
I challenge you to do the following for the next two weeks:
- Don’t drink your calories. Most soda/juice/’healthy drinks’ are garbage.
- Eat a fistful of vegetables with each meal. Salad, asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, brussel sprouts, sweet potato, etc.
- Cut out the 3 C’s: Crackers, Cookies, and Chips.
If your weight does not change I will coach you for free for as long as you want!