Staying Body-Positive While Losing Weight
Ms. Susan Treadway, an addict in recovery, authored the following guest post. She uses a holistic approach to sobriety to stay on a successful path and believes adopting even a few holistic methods can help anyone struggling with addiction.
Susan wants everyone to know that you don’t have to be a hippie to embrace holistic wellness – this concept is simply about focusing on your entire sense of well-being rather than just one part. She hopes her website, rehabholistics.com, will inspire anyone who has struggled with addiction to incorporate holistic practices into their own self-care routine.
You feel happy and confident in your own skin, but you still want to lose weight. Is that hypocritical or can you still be body positive while trying to change your body? I think you can, and I’ll explain why.
Carrying extra weight is hard on your body. According to Stanford Health Care, obesity contributes to joint, respiratory, and cardiovascular problems, increases your risk for serious conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and even puts you at risk of developing certain cancers. It can also affect your day-to-day life if it’s hard to get around or you have low energy, which leaves your social and emotional life suffering.
There’s no point in being body-negative when you’re overweight, because it doesn’t get you anywhere. Self-loathing is a poor motivator for self-change. Rather, people change their habits and get healthier when they love their body. Wanting to prevent the serious health problems that obesity can cause isn’t body-negative — in fact, working toward a healthier body is one of the most body-positive things you can do.
So, what does body positivity during weight loss actually look like?
- Focus on Body-Positive Motivations: It’s easy to get discouraged by numbers on the scale. This is especially true if you’re losing weight and gaining strength at the same time; even though you’re getting leaner, your weight might not change much. Instead of focusing on how many pounds you have to lose, set body-positive goals like running 10 percent further each week or having the energy to go out dancing with friends.
- Exercise Where You’re Comfortable: If the thought of going to a gym terrifies you, you don’t need to do it. You can achieve a full-body workout at home by building a simple home gym instead. That way, you get comfortable moving your body and using equipment without worrying about who’s watching or rushing to the gym before it closes. And although fitness equipment can be expensive, you can still save money over a gym membership (especially one you don’t use). When you start with basic equipment like a weight bench, dumbbells, gym ball, and stationary bike, you can easily fit your home gym into a guest bedroom, garage, or just the corner of your living room.
- Don’t Sacrifice Good Sleep: There’s no substitute for a good night’s rest. According to sleep.org, most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you’re waking up early to exercise but you’re not going to bed earlier, it won’t be long before you crash. Sustaining change means giving yourself the energy to make good choices day after day.
- Fuel Your Body: A poor diet won’t only sabotage your weight-loss goals, it will also leave you lacking the energy for an effective workout. Proper nutrition is essential for a healthy body and mind, so start making the switch to a diet based on whole, unprocessed foods. If you can’t sustain a complete diet change, that’s ok. If you change your habits gradually, eventually it all adds up to a significant shift in your eating patterns.
- Address Your Mental Health: If you have negative feelings about your body and self-worth, a fitness regimen won’t change that. The best way to unpack negative self-think is with the guidance of a mental health professional. If you’re holding onto stigma about therapy, this is the time to let go of your misconceptions and see if a therapist can help.
From more energy to face the day with, to reduced risk of serious illnesses, there are a lot of positive reasons to lose weight. However, how you treat yourself during the weight loss journey is just as important as your motivations for it. When you’re kind to yourself in body and mind, you’ll be amazed at what you’re capable of.
Best to you!