Still trying to reach the weight you were when you were 21?
I have worked with countless women who, in my opinion, are holding on to a totally outdated idea of what their “ideal” weight is.
These women are so attached to a number they saw on the scales ten years ago (or longer) and often from a time when their lifestyle was far less healthy then the one they current live.
When I ask them what they were doing back when they were at this “ideal” weight, very often they were skipping meals, drinking or partying a lot, and not paying any attention to the nutritional value of what they were eating.
Us women can put a painful amount of pressure and emphasis on our physical appearance, attaching our whole self worth to how we think others want us to look. I very rarely meet a woman who is content with her current body, there is always something she is discontent with, from her cellulite right down to the bone structure she was born with.
In our most vulnerable moments, we feel if we weighed (insert weight), we would be more lovable and desirable… As a result, we live from this constant state of feeling not good enough, and all of our motivations and actions come from a place that doesn’t respect or care for our body. You can not care for something you do not respect! When we don’t respect ourselves, we exercise out of guilt, eat out of fear, and our mind, if there is no awareness, can set us up on a perpetual self sabotage loop.
If you suffer from this familiar inner turmoil, it may be time to throw out your scales all together and look at new ways of valuing your body and your health.
My “ideal” weight was 54kg for years! The last time I weighed this much was eight years ago, and not only was I younger, my lifestyle was completely different to what it is currently. I now weigh between 58-60kg and for a long time I constantly focused on getting back to the weight I was when I was 21, focusing on a number, rather then how healthy I felt. I never stopped to ask myself, was I healthier back then to now?
The reality between now and then? I was a strict vegetarian for years (twelve to be exact), my energy levels were far lower and more erratic then they are now. I was anemic and bruised at the touch of a feather and my digestion was trashed. I didn’t do any cross training (no weights), and was much weaker then what I am today.
I now eat meat and have a much more varied diet. I resistance train twice a week, run three times a week and allow myself to enjoy food rather then feeling guilty when I do indulge. As a result, I have more energy, my metabolism is more efficient, and my body gets used in a much more dynamic way due to the nature of my profession. I do carry more muscle mass, which I am ok with, and frankly most of us women need more of for healthy bone density as we age.
A healthy body starts in our mind. We need to release the idea that the number we see on the scales is the sole indication of our health and our worth as a being!
I now assess my health + fitness on the basis of:
How I feel when I wake up + how well I have slept…
My digestion – am I eating well (bloated is a sign I am not).
How consistent my energy levels are during the day + how strong my sex drive is.
How clear my skin is. I get eczema which is my bodies way of telling me to clean things up.
How clear the whites of my eyes are!
How far I can run for without feeling tired + how quickly I recover!
How capable I am when I get to do the “occasional activities” like surfing and hiking.
What my inner dialogue is telling me moment to moment… am I being kind or self critical?
For me to get back to my 21 year old weight, I would have to be incredibly strict, compromising a lot of things I currently allow myself to enjoy, like a couple of glasses of wine on the weekend, a cheese plate from time to time, and one coffee per day (I always carry a little more body fat when I drink coffee), basically my social life would deteriorate, which isn’t good for my mind or my body!
There are so many variables that come in to play for us women, from what time of the month it is, to how long it’s been between going to the toilet. I know some women that don’t change anything and see a 2kg fluctuation in their weight from before their period to after.
If you are that person who steps on the scales before you do anything else every morning, you may want to ask yourself, is this the way I want to start my day? I feel it’s a heart breaking and often inaccurate way to track your success… and not the best use of your time, or energy!
If you have some excess body fat you wish to release, don’t make it at the compromise of good nutrition, or from a place of self loathing! Do your body measurements using a tape measure, use the list above as a guide, and pay attention to how your clothes are fitting! When it comes to food, if you comfort eat, you may want to start asking the question, “am I having this because I love myself, or because I hate myself?” Move your body more, or join a group fitness class you enjoy, and ditch the stuff you hate… life is too short!!
When we approach goals from a place of “not enough” and when we strive for unhealthy or unrealistic ideals, we are often setting ourselves up to live in constant disappointment and live from a highly critical standard. Our attention stays on what we are lacking, rather then what we have going for us! This approach often leads to obsessive eating regimes (which always leads to binging and blow outs, usually by the weekend), and we get around feeling self conscious, separate, closed off, and unable to see the goodness that is before our eyes!
Some ways of building self acceptance and a healthy body…
Remember that we are so much more then the size of our jeans. When we are self accepting, we treat ourselves better (and therefore we treat others better) and we naturally eat better, which ironically leads to us looking better!!! It’s a win win!
When we feel good about ourselves and sense our own goodness (no matter what weight we are) we attract positive people in to our life. We find we can be more present in our day instead of running that old story on loop of feeling like a constant failure. We approach exercise from a place of care, rather then punishment, and life is truly happier and more peaceful… sounds good huh?
Is it time you let go of a number you have outgrown?