Does having goals to lose weight and get fitter mean you don’t love yourself or that you can’t accept your flaws? Finding the balance between self-improvement, self-loathing, and self-love has become a tight rope walk – especially in the health and fitness realm.
Though it may be a difficult thing to do well all the time, balance can be struck between satisfaction and striving. A lot of that has to do with your motivation for change.
What drives you?
Improvements to the habits that make you healthier should also drive you toward greater happiness. Sleeping, eating, moving, and managing your stress better are ways to feel more peaceful, grateful, and satisfied. If, however, you are eating a salad to punish yourself for the doughnut you ate earlier in the day – are you happy? When you lose your work-life balance and become overwhelming stressed, are you satisfied? When your body aches due to lack of movement and care, are you thankful for that body and its’ abilities? Or do you resent it?
Better choices that drive you toward greater health are a celebration of who you are, what you can have through hard work, and the extra time and experiences you’ll get to have with people you love.
Here’s what we know. Good health and a happy life aren’t a guarantee. Nothing in life is. But you give yourself more opportunities for positive feelings, relationships, and experiences when you can:
– move pain free
– catch your breath
– enjoy free time
– appreciate good food with self-control
– avoid food-related discomfort
– stay awake
– remain focused on the moment
When have I gone too far?
Disordered thoughts and eating are not irrelevant to this discussion. Their prevalence is why so many voices in the fitness world have become wary of their message – as they should be.
Punishing workouts, hollering trainers, tears, and loathing were the fitness main-stream for many years. The focus was weight loss – and fast – with little discussion of habits, lifestyle, long-term changes, and even consequences related to rapid change. The message was loud and clear: lose the weight, get a makeover, be happy.
Did it work? Perhaps for some. But for many both on and off of prime time TV, we saw that when the motivator for change wasn’t a lifetime of loving who you are (and who you love) enough to take great care of yourself, a makeover simply wasn’t enough to cause real change.
The self-love extreme
In a similarly unfortunate extreme, some voices of the self-love movement have prompted a complete indifference to healthy choices and caring for both physical and emotional health. The very real and devastating health risks of obesity and metabolic syndromes aren’t taken into account or are overlooked in the name of acceptance, peace-making, and self-contentment.
Bodies of every size are valuable and worthy of deep love and care. Of that there is no question. And there is a balance to be struck in terms of loving oneself and striving for the healthiest body you can have – no matter its’ shape. The foundation of it all is this: seeing exercise and healthy eating as self-care, and an expression of love, rather than as a punishment or as diminishing your value.
Maybe you don’t think too much on self-love, but you do want to lose weight, tone up, get stronger, or ensure that you can do more with less physical discomfort. Those goals are fantastic and there is nothing wrong with striving to make your body stronger and more resilient! Self-improvement for the right reasons is noble and necessary to keep being a person you can be proud of.
A supportive team around you while you make those changes certainly helps, and we are here for that. Click here to learn more about our Online Training program, which gives you personalized training and coaching right from the comfort of your home. Book a time for a free intro call to make a plan with a coach for how to move toward better health.