So we’ve noticed a trend with our blogs, when we put “fat loss,”“hormones” or “10 minutes” in the title we get lots of hits, however, when we write about body acceptance and confidence this advice gets the most shares. It made me feel a little sad as it suggests a lot of people are unhappy with their body and searching for ways to lose weight but ultimately just want to like themselves a little more. They also have ten minutes max to do this it seems! I’ve been through a similar journey and thought I would share some tips and advice that have helped me along the way.
Role Of Body Acceptance & Confidence In Health
I discuss this a lot with the awesome life coach Sarah Doyle on our podcast Fit Girls Talk and we’ll be covering it in-depth at the Fitter Food Academy. Body dysmorphia and physical insecurities are a ticking time bomb right now with the explosion of social media and ‘aspirational’ physiques being thrust in our face day in, day out. I used to be crippled by these feelings myself, particularly upon entering the fitness industry. I constantly compared myself to others and never felt my body was good enough, I made some unhealthy efforts to get “shredded” believing people would respect and listen to me more. The more I have come to understand the body and optimal health, the more I’ve been able to let go of these goals because none of them embody health for me any longer. I have developed a true passion for holistic health and that helps me successfully inspire people every single day, more than any six pack. Take yourself through the following steps and you can join me :-
1. Gain Perspective
Holistic health is a big part of your own happiness. Striving for a six pack was the most stressful, angry, miserable existence I could ever describe. It basically involved eating less, exercising more and not much else. I’ve managed to get back to a place where I can head out for a run, go for a walk with Hamish, eat dark chocolate or just sit and breathe deeply for ten minutes because all of them nourish my body in different ways and have a positive impact on me. I no longer have obsessive compulsive lists about the miles I need to clock up, how many training sessions I need to do, calories, macros, blah blah. Exercise and nutrition are just a couple tools in your giant box of health and happiness, they are helpful but if used in the wrong way they can be incredibly destructive. Take a moment to ask yourself this:
If I drop an inch from my troublesome area:
- Would my partner or family love me more?
- Would my friends like me more?
- Would I be more successful in my career?
- Would I change lives?
- Would I achieve great things without those extra inches?
Hopefully by reflecting on the above you’re realising that little about your life would really change, so ask yourself why you are investing hours, days and years focusing on this? In fact, if you spent as much time doing activities that have been proven to make us happier like helping others, dancing, singing, creative hobbies and being in nature, you would be too busy laughing to even notice the extra wobbly bits. When we’re happy we don’t need to abuse exercise or follow disordered eating habits to try and “control” our emotions.
2. Don’t Fight Your Body
I’m reading a book about dying, sounds morbid I know but I have deep rooted fear of losing loved ones and this book was recommended by my friend CJ who experienced some deep loss in his life. The book is called Enjoy Every Sandwich and it’s the story of a guy diagnosed with terminal cancer. He discusses the end of his life where he chooses not to “fight” cancer or death itself but rather to make the most of his final experiences in life. He uses the attitude of gratitude to reflect upon his time on earth and how amazing it’s been with his wonderful wife, children and the job he loves; a cardiologist who teaches nutrition, yoga and meditation to his patients. His time has been cut short but he adapts to this by knowing he made the most of life and refuses to spend his precious remaining days being miserable and depressed.
If you bring this back to yourself, could you say the same? Are you making the most of life or have you spent the last 24 hours dwelling on the size of your thighs? Maybe you’re not fighting death but you are fighting your body by wasting your one precious life on hating it when you have dreams to achieve, countries to travel to, people to love and laugh with and lives to change. You can do all of these things if you wish to but not if you’re stuck on a crosstrainer all week trying to increase the gap between your thighs. Many of us are fighting our bodies every single day, it’s time consuming, exhausting and quite frankly pointless. We’ve been given this incredible piece of kit that can do awesome things if we just work together in harmony. Your body is your best bud, so treat it like one!
3. Embrace Emotional Freedom
A big part of body acceptance involves developing an emotional freedom and letting go of some of body ideals. One thing the author of Enjoy Every Sandwich mentions is the incredible sense of emotional freedom he gained when he let go and accepted his role as a cancer patient. He could cry, laugh and experience a huge variety of feelings because his mind wasn’t in tightly regulated, stress mode any longer. When we fixate on the perfect figure we become very rigid in our thinking, our stress hormones are dominating our thought patterns, we are being driven by fear and anxiety and an overarching need to maintain control. This leads you to place huge importance on things that really aren’t significant and spend our days sweating the small stuff.
I’ve really taken this on board; we’re working hard on several projects at the moment but I do daily gratitude thoughts (especially when the negative chatter kicks in) and these daily habits have really helped me. I’m able to let go of things that would usually eat me up. Each day I prioritise balancing my body by kicking back when needed to keep the creative, happy hormones flowing. This allows you to develop a more carefree, positive attitude that helps you begin to love what you see in the mirror and truly realise how awesome you are.
4. Kick ‘Fat Days’ Out the Door
I still have these, I’d be lying if I said all the above works 24/7 and you can generally find me admiring myself all day long in the mirror 😉 Matt really highlighted the lunacy of fat days to me recently by applying some bloke logic and much needed sarcasm to the situation: “Really? You were fine yesterday, getting fat in 24 hours is nothing short of impressive!” However, I have noticed a pattern, these days tend to occur when I’m tired and run down. Even though I’m aware of the need for a balanced lifestyle, having a business is a bit like having a baby in that we could easily work around the clock to make sure it’s okay. Sleep often suffers as a result and sometimes I find myself shattered, overwhelmed and snappy and the first person I’ll often take this out on is me – enter the fat & ugly day! My experience and understanding of this now allows me to spot the early warning signs (usually a tantrum because we’ve run out teabags or something), I can then work on kicking these thoughts out the door by ditching the coffee that day, going for a long walk with Hamish and having an early night so I can get back to my happy self as soon as possible. It looks like I’m not the only one either:
5. Take A Complimentary Selfie
As part of Fitter Food I’ve really had to take myself out my comfort zone by appearing in lots of photos, videos and podcasts. The critical side of me always hated seeing and hearing myself but the more I work to help others and see the bigger picture, the less I really care. In fact the more I challenge myself in this way the more I actually like myself for it and feel proud of what I’ve achieved. On our members site, Fitter 365, we’re asking everyone to post up a complimentary selfie. They have to compliment themselves for their investment in their health and post a smiley selfie. It’s awesome to see individuals making positive changes to their lifestyle and loving themselves more as a result. You can join the fun here for just £1 ——– > www.fitter365.com.