Do you find yourself hating your body? First of all… stop it! Your body is an instrument for awesome and incredible things, not to just be looked at. But also, hating your body doesn’t really set you up for healthy behaviors or help you lose weight in the long run. Hating your body doesn’t usually motivate people to make positive behavior changes.
Media, some fitness “professionals”, bloggers and others prey on the fact that so many of us women dislike-hate our bodies. They’ll tell us that if you hate it, change it. Cut out all those foods that you love, spend endless hours in the gym, that you can only achieve those gainzzz by PAIN. You’ll work hard, potentially be miserable, BUT you will achieve results and LOVE your body for it. WHAAAAAAAAAA? This be crazytown. But really, how many times do you see/hear this? I hear it all the time. I see it all the time. I know better, but occasionally I’m sucked in to the belief that if I hate my body enough, I’ll be motivated to change it, and that I’ll have the tools to deprive and exercise my way to a hot butt. Then I come to. Don’t for one second tell me that your trendy and halfway thought out plan will get me healthier, happier, and hotter than my 8 years of formal education in nutrition, motivation, psychology, and physiological processes can. Ok off my biased soapbox….. maybe.
So, does fitspiration, do clean eating plans, images of how you “need” to look actually motivate people to improve their health? Not if you already dislike your body or these tactics lead you to hate your body. Research, particularly in teenage boys and girls points to more unhealthy health habits, more smoking, more disordered eating in kids who dislike their bodies. For these kids surveyed (all 5000+ of them!) they were less likely to practice healthy eating and exercise practices if they disliked their bodies. Sorry fitness industry, you’ve got it wrong! Guilt, shame, and totally unrealistic ideals doesn’t -usually- motivate us to work harder, improve our eating, and be healthier. It does the opposite, which for many of the teens in that study I just mentioned, meant weight gain, not weight loss. Sorry they were at a loss with their negative body image. I’m not going to focus on how you can improve your body image, or love your body (I’ve done that), but rather pull all of this into perspective and tell you that many of the popular tactics used to “motivate” us to change simply doesn’t do that.
Think about it. You look at a magazine, you see your fave celebrity on the cover, photoshopped, and detailing her new diet and workout plan to get the pre-photoshopped body. Guess what, even her chiseled body isn’t good enough for print. That’s crap! Where have we gone here? Anyways, she works out 5x per week with a crazy expensive trainer, leaves feeling exhausted and so so sore. But all in the name of beauty right? Then she outlines her uber healthy diet that consists of pre-portioned oatmeal with a sprinkle of almonds, a green juice, lunch of 3 oz salmon on a dressing-less bed of spring greens, then her last 3 oz portion of chicken and zoodles because pasta is the devil, and a square of deep dark chocolate because she doesn’t deprive herself. She looks happy, radiant, and oh so healthy right? Right! But again, photoshop, magicians in the form of hair & make-up artists, and a talented photographer are really to thank for that happy, radiant face. Oh and 83zillion ounces of spring water.
You look at the photos, the article and think, oh salmon, that’s good. That food looks delish. I can do that. You try it, it’s awesome for a day. You feel lighter and actually radiant. You’re going to rock this diet. But then the calorie restriction gets in the way of your workouts. No….. more…… energy to kick major exercise butt. Then you think of all the other endorsed diets you’d tried…. and failed at. Why even continue? It’s hard, you have no energy, and you failed in the past. Unfortunately this ideal and your (+ almost EVERYONE elses’) reality are so so far apart. Where next? That chocolate cake? Because really, how satisfying was that one measly dark chocolate square after a few days of deprivation? Not that satisfying.
Long story short, diets don’t work. Diets fail you, fitspiration and all this “motivating” crap is failing you. NOT you failing. Because they were unintentionally set up for you to fail. I mean how can the diet/supplement industry be worth 30ish billion dollars, and yet almost ⅔ of the adult American population be overweight/obese?
Let’s get chatty!
- What motivates you to make positive behavior changes?