(Also on Kelowna Now)
What if we obsessed over the things we love about our bodies, instead of the things we desperately want to change? What would happen?
Would it be so bad to shift our focus away from what we think are our flaws, and onto the fact that we are all completely amazing right this second?
We obsess over our love handles, our cellulite, and our muffin tops. We obsess over our diet and our training schedule and every inch of our body to the extent that, yes, we might actually lose body fat and look like a bikini model.
But is obsessing over our flaws an effective way to change how we look? I don't think so.
Loving and accepting your body doesn't mean you give up. Choosing to focus on the things you love about your body is not, in any way, giving up on your fitness efforts.
Instead, I have found in my 10 years as a fitness professional, that approaching your fitness endeavors with gratitude and self-acceptance is actually a much more sustainable, and far less miserable experience.
Standing in front of the mirror and saying “I love my shoulders” or “I have killer quads” is not going to make you stop exercising, is it? Calling your attention to your strengths won’t make you decide to just give up and stop evolving. Shifting your focus towards what you love about your body won’t suddenly make you abandon your healthy lifestyle.
Shifting your mind-set will come with many benefits:
1) You will allow yourself to treat your body with love and respect.
2) Give you the energy you need to be present in your life and approach fitness and nutrition with gratitude and enthusiasm.
3) Consistently improve in a sustainable manner that doesn’t question your self-worth.
Obsessing over your “flaws” in an effort to change them will typically cause you to:
1) Yo-yo diet, rebound and binge eat.
2) Never feel good enough.
3) Miss out on the beauty and magic of the process.
4) Regard fitness and nutrition as punishment rather than a way of life.
5) Encourage destructive perfectionist tendencies.
6) Make the entire fat loss process miserable.
While obsessing over the things you want to change about your body might give you the focus to do so, how is that going to affect your quality of life and your sense of self-worth?
Do you want to feel energized, inspired, and grateful? Do you want to love food AND the way food makes you feel? Do you want to crave exercise because of it’s many emotional and physical benefits? Do you want to feel during your transformation, you aren’t constantly obsessing over your body, and as a result, missing out on the rest of your life?
That’s what shifting your focus will allow you to do. That’s what it means to find self-love. It doesn’t mean you become complacent and stop living a healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t mean you say screw it and start eating donuts every day for breakfast and stop working out.
It means that when you look in the mirror, instead of thinking “I hate how I look, I need to lose fat", you think, “Damn, my butt is looking good in these jeans and my arms look tighter”. Positive thinking creates positive results.