“That’s great you’re having a lean turkey burger, but is the meat organic?”
“I’m working out to get Michelle Obama arms and Taylor Swift legs.”
“You know that half an hour on the treadmill isn’t going to burn as many calories as high intensity intervals, right?”
In today’s fitness-crazed environment, it seems that you can’t win for trying. It seems like people who try to eat healthy and exercise regularly are still not doing enough. It’s easy to move from a healthy mindset into an obsessive, harmful attitude toward body and food.
The constant flow of information and pressure to live a healthy lifestyle make it difficult to maintain balance and stay on a reasonable plan.
Luckily, it’s possible to establish a health and fitness routine that is body positive. Here’s how.
Work From the Inside Out
Many of us approach exercise with the goal of reaching a specific number on the scale or fitting into a particular dress size, but that type of thinking can easily lead to body image issues. It ties success and fulfillment with a number that, in the end, you may not have total control over.
Parents, in particular, should be aware of the danger of body image issues. One percent of women develop anorexia, with an average onset of 19 years of age. Focusing on a well-rounded, body-positive approach is important for you, and also for the young men and women in your life.
Change It Up and Keep It Interesting
Sometimes heading to the gym can leave you feeling negative, deflated or uninspired. With some people dressed in designer outfits, others focused on the mirrors more than the weights, and the side-eyes from other gym rats, many of us aren’t comfortable in the gym.
In fact, going to the gym could be antithetical to our quest for a body-positive fitness routine.
Instead of heading to the gym, try hiking or walking in your neighborhood. Check out free yoga and Pilates videos available on YouTube. If you have young kids, a dance party or a trip to the playground are fun ways to raise everyone’s heart rate. Don’t buy into the false promise that a gym is the only way to achieve your fitness goal.
Exercise must be paired with healthy eating to be successful, so trying new foods and cooking together as a family are ways to keep it interesting. If you frequently eat out — which can be the enemy of living a healthy lifestyle — visiting websites like Eat This Not That can help you navigate menus to find the best options.
Don’t Do It Alone
Many hands make light work, right? The same is true when establishing a health and fitness routine that is body-positive. Studies show that friends who exercise together burn more calories and workout for longer periods of time than those who exercise alone. Choose a reliable friend with a balanced approached toward exercise. Your loveable but perpetually unreliable, tardy friend isn’t the best fit for a workout buddy.
You probably can’t always workout with pals, so find mantras and music that will keep you moving. If that doesn’t work, you could set rewards for yourself, like a trip to visit friends or a pair of shoes. (Stay away from food-related rewards that sabotage your hard work!)
Finding balance and moderation in a fitness-crazed society can be difficult. You can establish a body-positive health and fitness routine if you look beyond the number on the scale, infuse fun in your workouts and healthy eating, and keep inspirational friends and motivators nearby.