Building Body Confidence and Health at Every Size

Body Confidence

There is a growing movement in the UK “Health at Every Size”, they remind us that our size is not a reflection of our health. We can be fit and healthy regardless of our body size; and that our imperfect bodies, lumps and bumps are all completely normal. Let me remind you that it is not your purpose in life to be slim and take up less space.

With lock down restrictions starting to ease, and an end in sight (fingers crossed) to us living like we have been in this last year, there has been a lot of talk about losing weight – ready for our summer holidays.

While we will start to be able to move about a bit more, gyms will reopen as heavier restrictions ease, increased movement might naturally lead to weight loss there are many diet companies rubbing their hands. They are advertising their services to remind us and encourage us that this is the time to diet and lose weight.

But let me just ask you to pause and reflect.

If you are going to invest time and effort into improving how you feel about your body, wouldn’t that effort be best spent on learning to accept how your look and releasing yourself from the diet culture rather than ANOTHER diet?

Losing weight requires planning, commitment, patience and restriction, it can be a pretty miserable time for many. While we are still in the midst of the pandemic and at busy and stressful times in our lives, these are resources that we don’t always have in abundance and all for a relatively short-term fix. There are very few of us that have only ever been on one weight loss scheme, many of us yo-yo diet and end up wishing away the restriction, willing for a quick result so that we can return to our pre restrictive social lives with drinks and lovely food only to find ourselves back where we started, pre-diet.

Improving our body image is a journey

There are things we can do to help how we feel about how we look; we can exercise for the fun of it, using our bodies and enjoying them, we can start to challenge the diet culture around us, or at least starting to notice it. Learning to eat for pleasure and challenging guilty feelings.

Can you learn to challenge the negative thoughts that come when you look in the mirror? When we have these thoughts, try thinking about how it feels when we use the body we have for, things like swimming, dancing, hiking, kayaking, cycling, skiing or surfing. Focusing on the positive feelings we experience when we are using our body rather than analysing how it looks from every angle, can help bring us back into ourselves. Our goal is to be in a place of respect for our body, as an instrument to be used, not an object to be looked at. Gratitude journaling and meditation can help draw us into a more positive way of thinking. For more information click HERE The Benefits of Gratitude and How to Get Started (healthline.com)

Some of us are lucky enough to be able to get kitted up and go and do some of these exciting activities, but sometime we need to invest a bit of time strengthening key areas like knees or core to help us move freely and easily. Returning to these fun activities post childbirth can also be challenging and require an investment in developing core strength again.

Working on our strength in our legs or our core shouldn’t feel like a chore, you can do this in a way that is fun and enjoyable too and that is where working with a trainer can help. A good trainer should learn what you enjoy doing and find ways to strengthen the specific areas in a way that you enjoy at the same time.  

Picking strength as a metric to focus on

There are so many benefits to building strength eg: reduced risk of osteoporosis, improved balance, increased cardiovascular strength and improved endurance levels.  Any form of exercise or lifting heavy things, can also be a great stress management tool, enabling you to get a better night’s sleep – helping us to reduce our focus on weight as a measure of health.   

If you are not sure where to start with building more strength it’s a good idea to start with some body weight based moves, click HERE for core moves to get you started and HERE for some great leg strengthening exercises. You can play about the frequency of these moves, as well as the weight bearing element and timing of the repetitions and sets.

If you have any specific events or goals that involve feeling fitter and stronger and you want to work on body confidence and acceptance, get in touch for your free no obligation discovery call – I am only an email away.

Sara McDonnell

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