It’s a story we see over and over again in the weight loss industry: A client feels ashamed of his or her body shape, aspires to look more like the images he or she sees in the media, tries a drastic diet or exercise plan, and breaks his or her resolve within a week or two. Sometimes, the client even loses a significant amount of weight, only to gain it all back within a year.
There are several different elements at play here, but there’s one thing we see in almost everyone who goes through these cycles: They don’t have a healthy relationship with their body. On top of that, they often see healthy foods and exercise as punishments for being overweight. Who would stick to a lifestyle change that involves punishing oneself?
So before you even commit to a weight loss plan or exercise regimen, take a closer look at your relationship with your body and your attitudes toward diet and exercise. You aren’t doing this to punish yourself! Eating healthy foods should be something you do to nourish yourself, and exercise should feel good and enjoyable.
Of course, it’s not as simple as reading an article and changing your mind. We know that. But the following steps have helped many people develop a more positive outlook toward their bodies, their diets, and their exercise routines.
Go to your social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc) and unfollow anyone whose images make you feel bad. You know the ones we’re talking about: Those size-zero models whose body types are completely unattainable for the average person, or those people who are so fit and toned that they don’t appear to have an ounce of fat on their bodies. For most people, those images are not inspiring; they’re depressing, and the constant mental comparisons will only bring you down.
Now, choose some people who have more realistic body types (similar to yours) who radiate health, happiness, and yes – beauty. Follow them instead. They will inspire you.
Next, change your attitude toward healthy food. Stop punishing yourself with foods you dislike, and stop reading diet articles. See us for advice on a healthy, balanced weight loss plan, and then subscribe to cooking magazines or pin healthy, delicious recipes on your Pinterest boards. Identify healthy foods you enjoy (salad, avocados, salmon, and so on), and look for recipes that include those ingredients.
Finally, experiment with different exercises that you actually enjoy. If you hate the elliptical machine at the gym, stop using it! Going for walks with a friend can be fun and social. Spend quality time with your kids by riding bikes or playing tag in the backyard. Lifting weights can make you feel strong and confident. Find activities you actually enjoy, and stop focusing on calorie burn or minutes spent in drudgery.
The point is to change your motivation. If you’re constantly striving toward an unattainable goal, while punishing yourself for every failure, it is no wonder you’re tempted to quit! Take the above steps, learn to love your body, and find ways to enjoy your new healthy lifestyle. Now that’s a change that will last!