Is your weight loss goal helping you to live a FULL life?
Many women have a weight loss goal in the forefront of their mind or lurking back there in their subconscious.
And it’s no surprise when you watch social media, television and magazines.
We are CONSTANTLY bombarded with images of perfect bodies.
Clothing is often designed to fit slight long and lean women.
Food is frequently presented as “good” if it makes us thin and “bad” if it could have the opposite effect.
There are plenty of subtle and overt messages out there that present and inverse relationship between size and femininity.
But let’s for a moment, mute all those messages.
You can’t really trust the opinions of folks that are CONSTANTLY trying to sell and image or a product to you, companies that benefit when you feel inferior and “unhealthy”.
So if the pressure to be smaller and lose weight isn’t necessarily a healthy thing, where does that leave all the women that have weight loss goals?
There’s absolutely NO SHAME in having physique-based goals for your body.
I help women every day work WITH their bodies to accomplish their physique and fat-loss goals.
If you know your body and life choices and have decided that you would be happier and feel more confident if you lost some fat, fit into a different clothing size or saw a smaller number on the scale, that is 100% your business.
But just in case you are someone that has long been carrying around this burden of “I need to lose weight, I need to be smaller" ...
and just in case you have been waging a war on all presence of fat or cellulite or have difficulty accepting that your body is no longer the size that it used to be, today I’m going to provide you with a checklist that you can use to determine whether the goals that you have for your body will lead you on a journey towards are more full life vs. perpetuating a cycle of feeling like you will never be enough, never be small enough, never be happy with your body.
Are the changes that you would to make to your nutrition practices in order to reach your goal intrinsically beneficial?
For example, will you chose to eat more nutritious foods, learn to recognize hunger and satiety signals?
Are you trying to eat LESS or meet your bodies daily energy requirements?
Are you looking for assistance and support in managing emotional eating tendencies?
Examples of what I would describe as nutrition practices that are not consistent with living a full life:
-cutting out entire food groups (eg. protein, fat, carbs)
-obsessing over your food choices all day long
-observing a diet full of foods that you hate
Do you believe that you were prettier, more lovable, had more value and or can only be happier at a smaller size?
This is a lie that I can personally relate to.
I had a specific physique and clothing size at which I thought I was most healthy and most attractive.
I thought my clothes looked better when I was this thin.
I thought people would consider me healthier or more fit when I was that small.
I even thought that my husband would
Often times I consult with a new client that has a very specific number they want to see on the scale, clothing size that they absolutely have to get back to because they associate those numbers with “health and fitness”.
In their mind, if they are more than that, they are too big, or unhealthy.
So I ask them straight out, “Are you open to the idea of feeling confident in your life and your body if you NEVER actually get “back” to those numbers? Why do you think that these are the benchmarks of success for you?”
And when we unpack their feelings and or discuss the life habits that they had back when they were that size, the client often discovers that while they felt “good” at that size, they weren’t necessary living a full and happy life.
They don’t ACTUALLY want to do the thing that they were doing in order to be that size again.
And I can TOTALLY relate to that as well.
When I was 5’8, 117 pounds, I was super lean, BUT I was also recovering from illness, subsisting on a super (prescribed) restrictive diet.
I liked how I looked, but that was about all the I liked.
What kind of life is that?
Appearance that isn’t the result of a balanced, full, happy life of growth and love isn’t actually going to make us feel that much better.
In fact, it can often make us feel trapped.
Like we HAVE to choose between being “pretty” and being “happy.”
And that’s SO NOT the case.
The people in our lives that love us and are worthy of remaining in our lives, their love and respect doesn’t dissipate when our physique changes.
AND if you feel like your loved ones do love you more when you are smaller, lower body fat percentage, thinner, then it’s time to have an open and honest conversation with them.
Trust them and the relationship enough to tell them how their comments and attitude makes you feel.
Do you have to adopt an obsessive and life-absorbing exercise routine in order to change your physique?
When it comes to fitness and for fat-loss, there’s many ways to “skin that cat”.
Lifting heavy things, leisure walking, gently moving your body routinely and in many different ways and finding physical activities that you actually enjoy are ALL great ways to build muscle and increase the efficiency of your metabolism.
Obsessively exercising, spending hours upon hours on the cardio machines at the gym, feeling guilty on days when you don’t exercise, feeling pressure to engage in exercise that you hate, these are ALL NOT necessary for fat loss and will ALSO not help you to live the full life that you want.
Are your fat-loss goals all consuming? Do you eat, sleep, breath weight loss? Are you constantly checking the scale for progress?
Your life is NOT supposed to be about you losing weight.
Remember, just because you are FREQUENTLY bombarded with messages that you SHOULD be thinner, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.
You an absolutely choose to accept those thoughts or denounce them.
Life is about so much more than just your appearance, so rather than focusing PURELY on making yourself “look better” as you currently define “better”, invest energy into cultivating a lifestyle that nourishes you, mind, body and soul.
If cultivating new movement habits and good nutrition practices helps you to lose fat, that’s awesome!
If managing stress, spending time caring for yourself and prioritizing your physical and mental health are helping you to lean out a bit, how great is that??!
But if your quality of life decreases and your stress and obsessive behaviors increase when you are on a mission to lose fat, I’m going to be real honest with you, your program needs some tweaking. Your results won’t last and even if you get the results that you want, they are not going to make you feel good longterm.
In fact, they MIGHT even do damage to your physical or mental health.
Plenty of women over-do it with dieting and exercise to the point that they harm themselves.
Do you feel like a failure, beat yourself up when you "slip-up"?
Think you have to eat the perfect diet?
Think that you can never skip exercise and "never miss a Monday" in order to reach your goals and feel confident?
Here's the thing, NOTHING is going to make you feel better in your body than cultivating a lifestyle that makes you feel good.
Feeling like a slave to exercise does not feel good.
Stressing and processing guilt because you didn't make it to spin class or get in a run is not the way to spend your days.
A full life that makes us feel good in our bodies and about our bodies ABSOLUTELY involves doing some hard things.
Achieving goals will ALWAYS require work, discipline and patience.
BUT, that doesn't mean that we have to carve out a journey that doesn't make us happy!
Believe it or not, there are ways to learn to eat a nourishing and nutritious diet that makes you feel good WITHOUT feeling restricted and miserable.
It is possible to enjoy daily movement practices and train your body in a way that changes your physique WITHOUT making you feel like your constantly being punished.
If the path you are taking to get these results makes you feel crappy, makes you miserable, and or is pushing you towards a life that doesn't give you joy or make you FEEL confident in yourself, then those results will be fleeting and they won't help you to accomplish what you are going for.
And what are you going for? You want to feel good, right?
Looking good makes you feel good.
But looking good only makes you feel good when the path that you take to the physical changes actually improves your life and makes you better as a person.
It only works when it makes your life MORE full and more fulfilling.