If you’ve clicked to read this article you’re not completely happy with yourself. You want to change parts of your reflection, and my guesses are this isn’t the first time you’ve tried. Hell, you clicked on an article that seemingly proposed you would get your dream body by the time you’ve read it – a bit of baloney if you ask me. However, despite me depicting my title apart, I do have an answer for you, and in the theme of valentines day it’s all about self-love.
I spent most of my early teenage years trying to change my body to conform to this one ideal. My reflection wasn’t something I appreciated but something I needed to change. I had this unattainable food plan that hovered over me as I had a slice of chocolate cake at a friends birthday, silently cursing to myself that I’d messed up my diet. My mental chatter was always negative, I talked myself down at every opportunity. The more I wanted to loose weight, the easier it was for me to fall of the ‘healthy eating’ bandwagon and hang my gym shoes up for a few weeks. Why would it be that the more I wanted it, the harder it was for me to reach?
Before you look to change your body, stop. Is this coming from a place of self-hate and body shaming? Before you can successfully re-shape (and I use this term re-shape carefully as you are not changing or creating a new you) you must first accept, embrace and respect yourself. Without this vital ingredient our unconscious “I’m not good enough” mantra intercepts our quest and stops us from achieving our goal.
We often separate our bodies from our person, but we are all one. Our bodies deserve all the care and love in the world, they carry us through our lives. If you want to reshape your body, a diet, or new regime will only get you one step closer; to really transform your health you need to first start by connecting with yourself.
Say goodbye to the Food Diary
Instead of tracking your calorie intake or writing down your every bite, focus on how you are feeling. Crazy I know, but bare with me. If you can really concentrate on tracking your energy levels and mood swings during the day you can help keep yourself on the best mental path. Doing the things that make you feel good more. The happier you are within yourself, the happier you will be with your body. A huge factor in the way we see ourselves is the way we feel, and if we feel good and comfortable in our own skin, we naturally make better diet and fitness choices.
Something you can do right now: Make a list of all the things or people you encounter during your week that make you feel negative, that make you doubt yourself or feel less than your best. On another page write all the moments of your week you feel confident, happy and content. Work on getting rid of everything on that first list, or finding a solution to turn it around.
Find a deeper connection
Re-shaping your body appears to have very little to do with mindfulness and meditation, but the best results come from a place of calm. Stress and anxiety lead to more restrictive and extreme choices; I’m picturing eating a tub of ice cream and then guilt tripping yourself for the rest of the day. There are so many pressures we face on a day to day basis, and these are easily transferred into your kitchen. Instead of feeling like your emotions overpower your will, take a step back and breathe. Connect with your body, and find a place of calm.
Something you can do right now: Download the app headspace and practice a simple meditation for 10 minutes in the morning and evening.
It’s true that a large part of your aesthetic is down to what you eat, but exercise does far more than simply build strength. It helps to give your that crisp clarity that not only acts as a natural energy booster and anti-depressant but gives you the endorphins that drive you to have a better, healthier day. Everyday whether it’s an hour yoga class, a 30 minute HIIT session or a 15 minute power walk. Get out of your house and move that beautiful body of yours.
Something you can do right now: Plan out your calendar for the week and add in a time to get your booty moving every day.
Re-set your goal
Get rid of that picture perfect body you are striving for and re-set your goal. Don’t see yourself in a bikini walking down the beach, but instead imagine your body running the London marathon, deadlifting a 100kg weight or reaching the splits. Be ambitious with your body, and set your goal in strength.
Something you can do right now: Buy a notepad and write down 5 things you want to achieve with your body that are set in strength not around aesthetic. Give yourself a timeline and a challenge to accomplish those things.
Your dream body is the one you feel happiest and healthiest in, it’s not a look, it’s a feeling. The greatest thing you can do for your health is to appreciate it more, give it credit where credits due and invest more time in your happiness. If you’re mindset is right, the rest falls into place.