It's fair to say I've been in this industry a while now. And through continued education to develop me both personally and professionally over that time I have certainly evolved my learnings, wisdom, and beliefs around health, fitness and wellness.
With this natural evolution comes a shift in the tactics with which I look after myself and my own health, as well as how I coach my clients to look after themselves. It's a case of "know better, do better".
Once upon a time I was motivated by what the scales said, by my butt girth, by how much fat I could lose in six weeks, and trying to relocate my six pack, or even better my eight pack!
But I've come to realise that is an entirely superficial and naïve way to view what health actually is. Having a six pack isn't going to make me live a longer or more energised life. And I'm pretty sure there's no statistic that says a certain percentage of bodyfat can guarantee a better life either.
My focus has done an almighty swing around – a complete 180 degree turn. I am now motivated by feeling strong and energetic, experiencing greater levels of joy and calm, listening and responding to my body's needs, and honouring myself via the care that my body and mind deserves.
I am now motivated to improve my health because I simply want to feel better. And by making small and subtle steps every day to honour these priorities. This requires no scales, or tape measure, nor any photo evidence of anything. This is me tuning in to my body, and all it's little vibrations, every single day, and doing what I can to enhance a greater subjective sense of well-being.
It's a mindset change, a shift in how we think, and a modification to what we thought we needed to be, or should be, motivated by. It's a matter of shifting away from quantifying our level of health via mathematical measures, and instead qualifying our level of health by our own subjective measures.
It's a matter of acknowledging and kicking to the curb the endless bombardment that we've had about our cosmetics and aesthetics from the media for far too long, and choosing to love what we already have by nurturing it with the greatest level of consistent care that we can throw upon ourselves.
And the shift in mindset that this requires is mighty hard. The weight loss industry is insufferable and I have no doubt that marketing gurus associated with the next quick fix weight loss programme or supplement will continue to parade our media screens. And with them in our faces using brainwashing tactics to help us be attracted to the remarkable results they offer, it's hard to escape their psychological manipulation.
So we just do what we can to alter how we think and redefine what we are actually seeking. It's essential we try to outsmart them, and bring it back to us and the little actions and processes that we can integrate daily that'll help us boost our health and vitality. Because deep down all we really want is to experience greater levels of energy and happiness – and both of those end goals say a whole lot more about our health than weight loss does.
So how might this look then? How might our focus change?
Well, it's about understanding that although exercising hard and counting calories may help you lose weight, it may not be in a safe or healthy way. And neither of these is necessarily wrong in the right circumstances. But it's knowing that focusing on these two points alone is not going to allow you to reach greater levels of health and vitality.
We must realise that we've been conditioned to think that weight loss is our ultimate goal, that weight loss equals health, and that weight loss guarantees greater happiness and exciting new horizons. It's like the ultimate prize! But more than anything it's actually greater health we are seeking. Because due to the biochemical and physiological processes that happen without our body, weight loss on its own can not guarantee enhanced mood, emotions or happiness, but greater health can. And that's the shift we need to make.
Instead we need to consider a comprehensive spectrum of other factors in our crusade for boosted health. These include checking in on our stress levels, assessing our sleep quality and patterns, tuning in to our gut and digestive health, considering what actions we are taking to reduce our toxic load, honouring ourself with self-care routines, planning holidays, aligning ourself with our values, reflecting on our menstrual cycles, assessing our levels of pain or fatigue, and maintaining solid friendships that empower us. And the list could go on!
And I'm being serious – every one of the elements above can and does have a relationship with your overall health, and by addressing and enhancing every one of these is the only way our bodies know to create more effective weight management, and better wellness within us.