Do’s and Don’ts of a Successful Fitness Plan
- Write down your fitness goals. You’re more likely to stick with a program once you have set some specific goals.
- Always strive to eat a well balanced diet that includes ample servings of vegetables and fruit.
- Break down your meals so you are eating several mini meals per day.
- Assess your current fitness level before starting an exercise program. By doing so, you’ll be able to establish goals that meet your specific fitness needs.
- Consider talking with your health care provider before embarking on a fitness program, particularly if you are struggling with a health condition such as diabetes or obesity.
- Supplement your diet with essential fatty acids. You can do this by eating two servings of fish per week.
- Choose alternatives to satisfy your cravings when possible. Consider frozen fruit over ice cream or opt for a mini chocolate instead of the whole candy bar.
- Always warm up before and stretch after your exercise routine.
- Don’t overdo it! Try doing too much at once and you’ll burn out swiftly. Slowly increase the intensity of your workouts.
- Diversify your workout routine. If you do the same exercises day after day, you’ll quickly tire and are more likely to skip workouts.
- Work out with a friend. You’ll help motivate each other.
- Keep healthy snacks available at all times. You’re less likely to grab junk food if something good for you is readily available.
- Over-train. Your body needs time to recover in between workouts.
- Skip breakfast. Eating breakfast will jump start your metabolism and provide you with the energy you need to get through the day.
- Skip stretching.
- Skimp on sleep.
- Set unrealistic goals. A healthy rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. If you have 50 pounds to lose, don’t expect it to come off overnight, you’ll set yourself up for disappointment.
- Compare your successes and failures to others. Everyone is unique, and what works for some may not work for others.
- Work out randomly. Work out regularly to maximize the benefits you’ll reap from a consistent fitness routine.
- Give up. Consider talking with a friend in times of discouragement.
- Forget to reward yourself on occasion.
If you’ve hit a giant anti-motivational wall or you’re trying to recover from a string of rubbish days, try this two week programme. Do it cumulatively so by Day 14 you’ll be doing everything everyday and the aim is to have yourself ready to get back into your usual routine by the end of the two weeks.
Bless you for making this. It is exactly what I need. <3
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF DURING A BAD BODY IMAGE DAY:
1. Recognize that fat isn’t a feeling.
There are always underlying emotions that we attach to feeling fat. When the “I feel fat” thoughts start up, try to identify what you’re feeling underneath the body dissatisfaction. Are you feeling lonely? Anxious? Invisible? Scared? Ashamed? Inadequate? Whatever the feelings are recognize that they are separate from your body.
2. Treat yourself as you would a friend.
Because it’s difficult to be kind to ourselves in the moment when the body hating thoughts take over, try responding to your thoughts as if you were supporting a friend. What would you say to someone you loved who was battling your same struggle with body image?
You wouldn’t tell them to not eat for the day in order to compensate for what they ate the previous night. You wouldn’t tell them to punish themselves for their body size through over-exercise, self-harm, or abusive eating habits. You wouldn’t tell them they were worthless or unloveable because of their weight. So why do you tell yourself these things? Break the cycle and start treating yourself like a friend—you deserve that kindness and love from everyone, especially yourself.
3. Recognize that you are so much more than the size of your body.
What you look like does not define you. It doesn’t discount your worth as a human being. You are so much more than a number on the scale. As a living, breathing, feeling human being you have inherent value. You are special and important and loved. You exist and therefore you matter.
Your appearance is such a small part of who you are, and it certainly doesn’t warrant enough power to discount the person you are inside. You aren’t your body or your weight—you are your goals and dreams and passions and values. You are your strengths and talents and insight. You are a soul and a spirit and a force of nature. Your body does not define you.
4. Shift your focus from the external to the internal.
Make a list of all the people you look up to and are inspired by—not because of their weight or appearance, but because of who they are and what they do. Write out all the qualities they have that make you appreciate and value them.
Use the list as a reminder that it’s the internal things—our dreams and passions and goals and morals and insight and character—that truly define who we are and draw people to us; not how we look.
You are no exception to this. Try making your own list of things you like about yourself that have nothing to do with appearance or body size. If you have a difficult time creating one, ask some friends and family to help you.
5. Think about what you want to be remembered for after you die.
I don’t want people to remember me for what I looked like, what size jeans I wore, or what I weighed. I want to be remembered for the person I am. I want to be remembered as someone who brought about positive change in the world. I want to be remembered as loving friend, partner, and family member. I want to be remembered for my passions and my creativity and my strength. I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference. What do you want your legacy to be? Chances are, it doesn’t have to do with weight.
6. Instead of focusing on the size of your body, start focusing on what your body allows you to do.
The human body is an incredible force. When we get caught up in the number on the scale and size of clothes however, we forget just how lucky we are to have a fully functioning vehicle to engage in life with. So stop hating your body for the way it looks and start acknowledging and appreciating your body for all that it allows you to do.
Make a list of each activity and feat your body helps you to partake in and accomplish. If you want to be even more specific, list out each body part and describe all the things you wouldn’t be able to do without it. Your body is strong, powerful, and beautiful, regardless of it’s size. Choose to treat it with love, compassion, and gratitude instead of hate and judgement.
7. Challenge your negative thoughts.
You may not be able to change the way you feel about your body today, tomorrow, or a month from now, but you can begin the process by challenging the thoughts in the moment. Write out a dialogue between your negative voice and a healthy voice. If you have a hard time coming up with positive counters to the negative thoughts, pretend that you are speaking positively about a friend or loved one.
Even if you don’t believe the things you say to counter the voice, it’s still important to speak out against it, because each time you argue with the thoughts, you are taking away some of their power and reclaiming your own. The more you challenge the thoughts, the less you will believe them. The more you argue back, the easier fighting the voice will become.
8. Allow yourself to feel your feelings.
There is a lot of built up energy and emotion underlying the way we feel about our bodies. Holding in how we feel or engaging in behaviors to numb out may make us feel better in the moment, but in the long run, it doesn’t remedy the pain we feel. It doesn’t make us feel better and it keeps us stuck.
Releasing the energy and painful emotions underlying our body shame requires us to feel our feelings. Whether that means throwing a tantrum on the floor, venting to a friend on the phone, punching a pillow, screaming in your car, or crying in bed, you need to allow yourself to feel your feelings. Let go of the judgement you have about what you feel and recognize that you are feeling these things for a reason. Give yourself permission to release your emotions and let everything out.
9. Do self care.
When you’re struggling with body image, distract yourself with healthy coping mechanisms. Take a bubble bath, get a message, ask for a back scratch, cuddle with a pet, make plans with a supportive friend, watch your favorite movie, get a manicure, listening to calming music, do deep breathing—whatever it is, make sure it’s something self-soothing and helps you get out of your head.
10. Be kind with yourself.
You may not be able to control the way you feel about your body, but you can control what you do in response to how you feel.
Instead of beating yourself up, you can choose to treat yourself with compassion. Instead of engaging in unhealthy and abusive behaviors, you can choose to do self-care. Instead of treating your body as an enemy, you can choose to treat it as a friend. Instead of isolating yourself, you can choose to reach out for support and surround yourself with positive people who make you feel loved and accepted. Instead of agreeing with the negative thoughts, you can choose to challenge them.
***You have more power than you think—don’t let the way you feel about your body keep you from living.
Coping with bad body image days may not be easy, but it is possible.
Don’t give up.
You aren’t alone.
Things can and will get better.
REASONS TO STOP MAKING COMPARISONS
1. External things aren’t an accurate measure of self-worth.
Because we can most easily compare the things that we can objectively measure, we live in a world that is great at measuring and comparing externals. Somewhere along the way, we decided that we could determine who is living a more valuable life by comparing our clothes, cars, body size, weight income, beauty and occupation. The reality however is that external things do not define your self worth. The person you are inside—your character, your attitude, your goals and dreams, your morals and values, the way in which you treat others—these are truly self-defining. The external things don’t have the power to discount who you are as a person.
2. You always compare our worst with their best.
Comparing your life with others is always a losing proposition because there will always be people who “appear” to be better off than you and seemingly live the perfect life. We always compare the worst of what we know about ourselves to the best assumptions that we make about others. The truth is that other people’s lives are never as perfect as your mind make them out to be. Everyone struggles. Everyone feels insecure. No one’s live is easy. People tend to put their best face on in public. Know that what you see is not usually the whole picture.
3. There is no end to the comparison game.
There are an infinite number of categories upon which you can compare yourself, and an almost infinite number of people to compare yourself to. Once you start down that road, you will never, ever find an end.
4. Life isn’t a competition.
How you measure up against others holds absolutely no importance in your life. Other people’s strengths, talents, and successes don’t discount your own. They don’t define who you are as a person. Your goal in life isn’t to be better than everyone else. The goal is to be the best you that you can possibly be.
4. Comparison puts your focus on the wrong person.
You can control one life – yours. When you consistently compare yourself to others, you’re wasting precious energy and time by focusing on other peoples’ lives rather than your own.
5. Comparison robs you of joy.
Comparing yourself to others will always cause you to regret what you aren’t, rather than allow you to enjoy and celebrate who you are. It will always steal the joy and happiness that is within your reach. It keeps you from recognizing and appreciating all the wonderful things that make you, you. And ultimately, comparing prevents you from fully living your life. It causes you to envy and fixate on other people’s lives rather than experiencing and engaging in your own.
Making comparisons doesn’t make us feel any better. It makes us feel inadequate and worthless, and in many ways, it keeps us stuck. While the temptation to compare may never be completely eliminated, there are definitely some practical steps that you can take to challenge the comparison thoughts.
1. Recognize the inherent problems in comparing yourself to others.
You are a unique human being with an individual set of strengths, struggles, talents, insight, and characteristics. You can’t make comparisons, because as a unique person, you have a unique life. You can’t possibly expect your life to look like anyone else’s because there is no one else exactly like you.
2. Celebrate who you are.
Instead of focusing on all the things that other people have, start focusing on all the things make you special. You have so many wonderful things that make you who you are. These things that make you different are the things that make you beautiful. Don’t forget them.
3. Challenge the voice telling you that you aren’t good enough.
Your tendency to make comparisons isn’t a result of inadequacy. It stems from your insecurity and the belief that you aren’t good enough. When you can challenge these thoughts and counter them with truths. When you accept yourself for the person you are, and recognize all that you have to offer, the need to make comparisons will fade, because you’ll realize that other people’s lives and successes don’t have to take away from or discount all the things that make you wonderful.
4. Remember that nobody is perfect.
We live in a society that strives for perfection. The reality however, is that perfection is unrealistic and unobtainable. Everyone has flaws and imperfections. Everyone has made mistakes and messed up. No one’s life is perfect. You are no exception to that. Know that happiness doesn’t come from having the perfect life. It comes from looking past the imperfections and struggles and holding onto the good things. The sooner you stop striving for perfection, the sooner you can start enjoying your life.
5. Try something different.
Chances are that you’ve been comparing yourself to others for a long time. You know how awful it feels, and you know that it hasn’t really gotten you anywhere. So why not try something new? You have absolutely nothing to lose. So instead of shaming yourself for being different, try celebrating what makes you unique. Instead of beating yourself up for making a mistake, try accepting and loving yourself for who you are without conditions. Instead of striving for perfection, try to be the best you that you can be. Instead of making comparisons, try to remind yourself of all the things that make you special.