Tis the season for food guilt, health shaming and misinformation memes! Here’s a few tips to deal with the influx of “1 serving of mashed potatoes = 30 minutes of running, 1 piece of pie = 300 burpees” crap you’re seeing today (or will see this weekend).
1. Let it sink in: these memes are total bullshizz, based on averages and guesstimates that are unlikely to represent you. Unless you’re hooked up to a machine, NO ONE can tell you how many calories you’re burning.
2. They promote a potentially dangerous and disordered way to think about food and exercise (very similar to the calculation process observed in those who suffer from eating disorders). A system of checks and balances might work in terms of overall consumption over a period of time, but not for individual choices and one-off days.
3. They are over-simplified and don’t tell the whole story: your metabolism increases when you overeat meaning you’re burning more calories for awhile (the body takes care of itself amazingly). You also burn calories through daily activity: more so than just your workouts. In fact, most of us burn far more calories OUT of the gym than in. (did you know your brains use approx 20-25% of your caloric intake a day?)
Calories in and calories out is a tricky matter and not as simple as the “experts” make it out to be.
4. Unless you’re eating 10,000+ calories in one sitting (AND continue to do so for days on end), you’re unlikely to gain any “real” weight this weekend. The bloat, poop and water will take care of itself in a day or so, and if you go back to your normal habits (NOTE: YOUR EVERY DAY NORMAL HABITS. No extremes), any weight gain will take care of itself too. Believe it or not, a few days “over” on the scale won’t kill you, break you, or even be noticeable to ANYONE but you.
Weight gain AND weight loss is about consistently engaging in activities that promote either over time. It NEVER boils down to one meal, one overeating session or one holiday. Thinking this way can throw an otherwise AWESOME program WAY off track: two extremes do not equal balance.
And if you DO end up gaining an additional 1-3lbs due to Thanksgiving business, good times and yum yums? SO THE EFF WHAT, lol. It’s not a big deal, EVEN if you’re on a weight loss mission. Just go back to what you were doing that feels good and supports your goals. Bam: you’ll be right back where you were. And loving yourself - not hating yourself - along the way can be mega beneficial to your overall success.
But stressing about it? Going extreme? Getting frustrated? Overthinking it? ALL things that zap the energy you need to get back to doing YOU. And the more you allow yourself to fester in these emotions & thoughts, the less likely you are to get back “on track”.
So ditch the infographics, misinformation, food shaming and guilt promoting pics and quotes. They don’t serve you, don’t help you in the long run and aren’t necessary. Plus, as stated, total bullshizz.
Bonus? All those extra treats mean hella full glycogen stores. Use them to power your workouts, have more fun and enjoy life like the bad ass you are.
NO GUILT. NO SHAME. NO JUDGEMENT. These things are not required to get where you want to go, nor do they cater to your greatness.
And you are GREAT.
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Thinking about things differently…
Let’s say you have a client who desperately wants to be lean but seems unable/unwilling to do everything possible to get to their goal.
A popular way to deal with this: blame the client. Point out their lack of willpower. Get frustrated with them. Remind them that they can do it, but that they’re getting in their own way. Provide them with mantras to motivate them. Etc.
This works for some people.
An alternative approach, however, could be slowly starting to get to the bottom of their leanness goals. It could be reminding them that there’s more to life than body fat percentage. It could be focusing more heavily on fitness goals and less on aesthetics. It could be asking them to look at the life they WANT to live rather than the life they HAVE to live to look a certain way. It could be focusing on self-esteem boosting and confidence building in the body they’re in. And more.
Weight loss obsession and distorted body ideals absolutely affect clients negatively. Sometimes the solution to “helping” them is less about getting them closer to aesthetic perfection and more about moving towards bad-assery and acceptance. Working what they got.
Weigh in! Trainers and clients: anything you can recommend that has worked for you to promote body peace and fitness over aesthetics?
Excuses, Excuses, Excuses…. What’s yours?
Here’s mine: I’m not as lean as I could be because I don’t WANT to do the things I’d have to do to get there.
No other reason. That’s my truth and it feels amazing to me.
Don’t get me wrong: I’d be fine with a leaner bod. I have the time, the expertise & know how and ALL the tools I’d need. And even on the genetics front, I could do it - with effort. I’m one of “those” people, lol. I even have the nutty, fit freakin’ passion for it that not everyone has. In fact, the only thing keeping me from having a leaner body is the desire to commit to the lifestyle I’d need to work towards one.
I JUST DON’T WANNA BE THAT DILIGENT. Don’t wanna.
Been there. Done that. Moved on. To me, the additional sacrifices and monitoring aren’t worth it. That’s personal, based on my own history, priorities and my own preferences.
I don’t want to count every calorie. That sucked. I don’t want to weigh myself everyday. That sucked. I don’t want to feel as though my success as a person depends on my ability to maintain my weight or body fat percentage. THAT SUCKED! One of the greatest joys IN MY LIFE when it comes to my fitness has been feeling like it’s a perk and not an obligation. I value my feelings, my moods and my excuses, because they are all feedback. I don’t bully myself for them, but work with them. Every excuse I have is a valid one, at least in the sense of I validate the feeling. It’s feedback, a starting point and a place from which I can evaluate my options and make a call.
It’s not because I’m lazy, not dedicated or because I am delusional. I work hard yo. I’m bad ass. I listen to my body. I know what it would take for me to get to a leaner, fitness model bod. I looked at my history and decided I didn’t want to live like that anymore. I decided I have other priorities that take precedence. I’ve made a very informed and calculated choice to live my life the way I like, which includes burpees, spinach, wine, chocolate, flexibility and sometimes gaining/losing a little weight.
And the moment I made peace with this, everything changed on a fundamental level. There was no more beating myself up. I actually got stronger. It was easier to eat healthy most of the time (nothing to rebel against and no sense of deprivation LITERALLY equaled more veggies and cleaner choices). I learned to listen to the feedback my body was giving me.
So what do I think of my “I don’t wanna” excuse? Valid. Totally. I’ll defend her to the end. Healthier, happier me.
Changing your body vs. changing how you feel about your body.
TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.
They can happen separately or simultaneously, but working on the ‘feelings’ bit is the only way to truly feel at peace in the body you have. There are tons of women who get to their goal weights, fit into the jean size they’ve decided is ‘good’ or hit other aesthetic related goals who love their bods no better than before they started. Many simply go from being obsessed about losing weight to being obsessed about maintaining it. Others find new flaws to focus on, other things to fix. And many find that promises like “OMG, weight loss gets rid of ALL your problems and brings on nothing but HAPPY SUNSHINE TIMES” were nothing but a bunch of lies.
Life doesn’t suddenly get perfect when you lose weight. Your issues are still your issues, your problems are still your problems, and some find themselves disappointed that the magic wand of weight loss didn’t magically fix everything.
Everyone deserves to feel at home in their own skin. Which is why working towards body acceptance - even if you’re working on changing some things - is SOOOO beneficial for both your progress and your overall happiness. If what you want is to be happier in your body, you need to confront the reasons you aren’t with a bit more ferociousness and more depth.
Most people find that those reasons are a bit deeper than simply reducing cellulite.
Being just a little kinder to your body is a step in the right direction, whether you still want to change it or not. Maybe start today?
If you could thank your body for ONE thing, what would it be? If you could give your body a high five for something, what would it be? If your body was more of a best friend to you, instead of an enemy, what would you say to cheer it up? How can you change your language and inner dialogue to make your body more of a valuable vessel instead of an obstacle?
Few people learn to love their bodies overnight, but all people who do end up loving their bodies start small. With a change in thinking, a tweak in language, positive peeps surrounding them etc.
If you’re not ready to scream “I love my body”, maybe work on “I’m kind to my body” instead.
Baby steps. :)
"One reason I used to weigh myself so much was to “keep myself on track.” I no longer need to do that, and probably haven’t for quite some time.
You see, I don’t eat the way I do or exercise to keep my weight at a certain number. I do those things because they are part of my life. I like to do them. They benefit me. They keep me healthy and physically fit. Whether I weigh more or less, this will not change. If anything, now that I’ve finally decided to just DO this and trust myself, I’ve become so much more in tune with how I feel about certain foods or exercises and I’ve found a renewed love of the healthful activities. I have given up the stranglehold on my weight.
I have eyes and pants though, and I know what’s happening with my body. But I’ve become selfish. My body is mine alone, and the only person who needs to love it is me (and my boyfriend) My weight is not all that interesting, nor is my size. Everything I have to say is more interesting than whether I got bigger or smaller. So I’m keeping it to myself. I don’t need to be congratulated or consoled about my weight anymore. I’m good.
4 years ago, I was very embarrassed about my weight and size. Sharing with people helped me let it go. I have let it go. Sharing my weight or size serves no purpose for me anymore.”
I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen this list, or others like it. Everytime they appear in my dashboard or newsfeed, I get a little sad. I remember a time when I would have connected with this list: it wasn’t that long ago. But in the last few years I have put in a lot of time and effort to work on my headspace when it comes to body image, fitness, weight loss and more. This list reminds me of how disordered my relationship was with my body… and how many girls out there are still struggling.
The thing is, weight loss will bring you none of these things. Nor are any of these things actually important. Weight loss will not make you happy or make you love yourself. There’s more to it than that.
This image has been floating around (with an astonishing amount of ‘likes’, reblogs and shares. Mostly by teens). What that tells me is there are a lot of young girls out there that connect with it.
My first thoughts are about messages being internalized about weight loss, being thin and more. Fitspo, fitness marketing and weight loss marketing often conveys these very things as “by products” of weight loss. “You’ll be happy when you lose the weight, are a size 2, when your thighs don’t touch (another issue) or _______. “. While this list bothers me, it doesn’t, however, SURPRISE me: these are sentiments that I see often in the messages I receive on a daily basis. It’s also the reason I focus so heavily on body image, health, body love and self-esteem boosting.
What are your thoughts on this list? Does this concern you or do you relate?
Do you “fat talk” or have friends that “fat talk”?
We tend to engage in fat talk (or ANY body shame talkin) to voice dissatisfaction, connect with other women, receive praise (which we tend not to believe anyways) and many other reasons. It’s so normal, that many women feel pressured to engage in this back and forth body shame dance whether or not they are ACTUALLY dissatisfied with their bodies. It can also normalize distorted thoughts, making body hate seem much more acceptable (and pronounced) than it should be. The shame game also becomes a sort of social currency: women who are confident and love their bodies often experience shunning from women who don’t. (generalizations, does NOT apply to everyone). It becomes a weird sort of social “advantage” to hate SOMETHING about your body. Weird.
Of course, the DISADVANTAGES are more numerous and dangerous. From physical health to mental health, hating our bodies does more harm than good.
I’ve been the girl who engaged in fat talk AND the girl who refuses. From my own experience, I’ve found more acceptance from other women when I’m dissatisfied with my body than when I’m proud of it. Despite claims that we love confident women, confidence isn’t always appreciated and/or comes off as arrogance. While I certainly won’t dull my own shine to make others feel better, it’s something I pay attention to and am more careful with. That said, when I hated my body, I made poor decisions, experienced more stress, had lower confidence and had a more negative attitude towards my place in the world.
The way we talk about our bodies (our own bodies and each other’s bodies) has a powerful impact on our self-esteem. Check out this interesting study showing the connection between fat talk and self-image. http://pwq.sagepub.com/content/35/1/18.full