Working out and eating well because you love your body and not because you hate it is a saying by which I live every day. Some may interpret it as though you must love your body as it is and not feel the want or need to better yourself or change the way you look, or that you shouldn’t have strength or body goals. However, I believe it means you absolutely SHOULD want to do these things, but not because you hate what you see in the mirror, but because you love it…more importantly, you love YOU. You love yourself enough to care for yourself…to want to give your body the nourishment it needs to function, to work it out to be healthy, and perhaps to look and feel good naked, in your favorite clothes, or in clothes you have wanted to wear, or just to feel good in your skin. Loving your body means that you should want to have a body that will give you the strength and energy to get through your day and activities, to nourish and fuel yourself properly, and try to become a better version of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. However, most importantly, to allow you to do all the things you love to do, now, but also well into your later years. Having a good quality of life now and as you get older is important. You love your body enough to give it the attention it needs so that you can live a long and active lifestyle. You only get one body, so it is important to take good care of it.
I know that sometimes loving your body can be hard…it can be a process. Especially if it isn’t where you want it to be or you have areas that you deem flawed. I get that completely. It is normal to want to improve your body and your health for various reasons, including not loving what you see in the mirror. However, battling that reflection is hard and it ultimately doesn’t serve you well in the long run. If you are consumed with solely “fixing your flaws,” you may never get to a point where you are content. You may just continue to find new flaws. It helps to make it less about focusing on getting rid of things you don’t like but instead working towards improving your body’s physical abilities and striving to do your best and get better, stronger, etc. every day. Focus on increasing your strength, endurance, stamina, performance. Focus on getting enough sleep and drinking lots of water. Make sure you’re fueling yourself with the proper amount of protein, carbs, and fats. Notice your body increase in energy and decrease in fatigue. Working out will improve all of these things and you may find that you start to love and appreciate your body more than you ever have before. The self-care you implement should be about becoming the best version of yourself.
Here are some helpful reminders for you as you go through your health and fitness journey and practice self-care and loving your body:
- Remember that attaining health goals is a process that takes time. It won’t happen in a week or two…it may take months or years to get to your ultimate goal. Don’t forget to celebrate the small wins and be proud of yourself for the progress you make along the way.
- Some days will be better than others. Don’t quit on your bad days, just get up and move forward the very next day.
- Focus on your health and not the scale. Weight can fluctuate on a daily basis depending on water retention, your muscles being sore, you are building muscle, it is that time of the month, you consumed a little bit more salt that day, you are stressed, you are having digestive issues. Try not to let the scale be your only measure of success. Focus on how you feel!
- Try and simplify your health and fitness regimen so that it is sustainable. Don’t try and do everything all at once, so many changes can be too overwhelming and are usually overkill. It is better to take small consistent actions every day… over time they lead to big changes!
- Your workouts and nutrition should enhance your life not get in the way of it!
- Rest and recovery is essential. Your body needs it.
- Drink your water!
- Protein is important for building muscle and muscle recovery…. Eat your protein!
- Fruits and veggies are necessary and are packed with crucial nutrients that your body needs.
- Carbs will not make you fat. A caloric surplus over time is what causes weight gain. Healthy carbohydrates are good for you; they are your main source of energy.
- Gut health is key. Eat foods that maintain or support your gut. Reduce or eliminate foods that cause inflammation. Your body will thank you for it!
- Keep focused on yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy and won’t allow you to see all that you have accomplished.
- This is a journey and not a destination… there is no end, it lasts forever!