As a female fitness professional, I notice a subtle yet damaging script behind a lot of mainstream fitness advice to women. We're in a society that stresses to women, “slim down in 7 days!” or, “drop 2 dress sizes this month!” or, “get skinny and get sexy!”
In general, the messages we are sent are to eat LESS and weigh LESS. We get a whole lot of messages to BE less. To be smaller. To shrink. To diet. To restrict.
Think about how women are typically told how to workout. Pound yourself into the ground with lots of cardio, restrict most foods, reduce your calories, and prepare to give up all your favorite foods. Looking sexy is more important than your mental sanity, right? If you're not getting the promised slim and sexy results, the answer is usually more cardio and more dieting.
Restricting, reducing, and sacrificing. We're told that this is the way to the lean, sexy body we've always wanted.
I know, because I was there. I’ve tried to make myself healthier and leaner with this “less” mentality. I exercised for 4-6 times a week, mostly cardio and very light resistance training, I ate “low” everything, and I restricted meat, sugar, and processed foods. Sure, I lost weight (even though I realistically didn’t need to,) but I was losing out on a lot more as well. I was losing out on building myself to my best potential.
Even worse, most women jump on this path of restriction out of disgust, hate or general dissatisfaction with their bodies. When we're motivated to do something out of disgust and hate, how can we expect that we're going to making the absolute best choices for a better, stronger, healthier version of ourselves?
That sort of lifestyle, one of restriction and sacrifice, is downright exhausting. In my personal example, I was very lean (bordering on underweight,) but it took a large physical and mental commitment to sustain. I did everything that mainstream media told me to do, but I intuitively felt like something was missing.
I searched the internet for an alternative, ended up finding an amazing mentor, and started to change my mindset around fitness and nutrition. I learned how to lift heavy weights, especially compound movements like the squat, deadlift, chin-up, and row. I started to research nutrition (not just following the “cookie cutter” advice,) and learned how to eat to be stronger rather than how to eat to be smaller. I stopped doing long periods of cardio, and completely gave up running (which I never really enjoyed anyway.) I was eating exponentially more, exercising way less, and ended up reaching a much healthier weight that's easily sustainable. My new lifestyle emphasized “building up” rather than “breaking down.”
When your exercise and nutrition builds you up, you do physical activities that focus on making you stronger, both physically and mentally. You begin to feel empowered more from your abilities, and not just from your appearance. The physical strength you build begins to transcend into an inner strength that positively affects the way you move and act in daily life. How can we find that inner empowerment when we're constantly pounding, reducing, and restricting to be smaller versions of ourselves? How can we find that empowerment when we're always “breaking down” instead of “building up”?
I currently eat almost twice as much as I used to when I was Miss Cardio Queen, I lift weights for about two hours a week, and I engage in regular movement like yoga, hiking, biking, or kayaking simply for the pleasure of it (not because I'm trying to burn calories.) I now feel well-fed, balanced, and strong.
If you stopped doing exercise for the sole purpose of fat loss, what would happen?
What would happen if you focused on your performance in the gym instead? What would it feel and look like if you focused on your body's abilities rather than it's appearance? What would it feel like to be a well-fed, stronger, and more capable version of yourself?
If you want to change the way you approach your body, fitness & health, you have to start from within.
If you're looking how to start, you're welcome to join me December 5th, at 6:30PM EST for a free webinar on The 3-Step Formula for Sustainable Fat Loss, A Strong Body, & A Healthy Mind.
I'm going to be delivering simple, digestible information to help YOU achieve the body & health that you know you deserve, in a way that actually feels good. If you can't make it at the appointed time, a recording will be emailed out the day after for viewing pleasure for up to 48 hours. Sign up below to register, and I'll meet you there!