If you are obese, you are 25% more likely to experience symptoms of depression. Obesity can lead to poor self-image and a low self-esteem. This can be a vicious circle. It can demotivate you to exercise, and consuming foods high in sugar and fat becomes the coping mechanism for most people.
Sadly, a positive body image nowadays is a rarity. With buff movie stars and Instagram models being shoved in our faces, a negative body image has become the norm. We are made to portray an image of constant perfectionism whilst our lives are being played out daily on social media. We have to present this image of happy, healthy, funny, popular and attractive all at the same time. If we don’t, then we feel as if we are failing. Safe to say, it can be bloody exhausting.
The body positive movement is taking the internet by storm. No matter how you feel about this movement, coming to terms with the way your body looks and thinking about yourself in a positive light plays a key role in both our mental and physical well-being.
I would be lying if I said that the way we look didn’t matter to anyone and of course one of the reasons we exercise is so our bodies look better. But fuck the physical. You are more than the way you look. The sooner you realise you are incredible no matter how your body looks and no matter what the scale says when you step on it, the easier your weight loss journey will become.
“You’re getting fat.”
“You need to lose weight”.
“Just eat less.”
These may be some of the most UNHELPFUL motivators going. Someone you love may be putting on weight and you might be worried about his or her health. This person might even be you. The issue here is, until this person is in the right headspace and they are ready to make the change, nothing you or anyone else can say will make a difference. Commenting on a person’s weight or physical appearance will do nothing but harm them mentally (whether they show it or not).
So how do we prepare ourselves for change? Shifting the ‘mental fat’ is necessary before getting started and one of the best ways to do this is by establishing your reason ‘why’. Sometimes ‘improving my health’ isn’t a strong enough motivator. An emotional connection is needed. It could be that you have a family member who depends on you. Surely you want to be fighting fit to look after them as best you can. You have children? Your lifestyle habits are shaping the way that they will grow up. Did you know that if you are overweight, your child has a greater chance of growing up to be overweight? Lead by example. Focus on your reason ‘why’ so that it becomes ‘why wouldn’t I?’
Once you’re ready, you need to establish a foundation of external motivators. Gain the support of family members or close friends and explain your reason why and how important their support is to you. Their support will hugely impact your chances of success. If you can’t get their support, join sports clubs, find online support groups or hire yourself a trainer.
Lastly, have a social media cleanse. Do you find certain accounts you follow are negatively impacting your mood in any way? Cut them off. Be ruthless and unfollow every single account that does anything but motivate you and that makes you feel better.
Hating yourself won’t make you healthy. Okay, loving yourself won’t necessarily make you healthy, but it sets a strong foundation for moving forward to an active and healthier lifestyle.
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