When I was a fitness competitor, I was the thinnest I have ever been in my life. At 12 percent body fat, I remember constantly getting compliments on my body. To the outsider looking in, I was the epitome of health. But how I felt inside was a completely different story. I was so exhausted that I had to take a nap just to make it through the day. My brain was foggy from lack of glucose because my carbs were so low. I was moody, irritable and struggled with constant headaches. I had to take caffeine pills just to have enough energy to take care of my kids. All of this was happening behind the seemingly “perfect” body.
Being “fit” and being “healthy” are two very different concepts. Just because someone is fit does not mean they are healthy and properly taking care of their body. You can be ripped and lean and look “the part”, but it doesn’t mean that your lifestyle – or your body – are necessarily healthy. This is why your intention behind setting goals can make or break your success. Beyond size and appearance, there are so many other factors to consider when setting a health goal.
“Why do you want to accomplish this goal?”
“What do you think you will gain from being leaner?”
“How do you want to feel? Is this actually going to help you become a healthier and stronger version of yourself or just make you smaller?”
Instead of focusing solely on size, try to set goals that will actually help you FEEL better. “How do you see yourself?”
“How do you value yourself?”
“How can you increase your ability to build your self worth?”
Positively, the least interesting thing about you is your body!
Here are five ways you can prioritize your health while becoming more fit.
1. Listen to Your Body
If you feel like you have no energy and you feel depleted after your workouts, that’s a sign that you are not eating enough food to nourish your muscles. It’s important to eat enough protein – and carbs – after your workout so that you do not break down the muscle you are trying to build. If you feel depleted and tired, it’s your body talking to you. Listen.
2. Maintain Balance
How much time do you spend each day worrying about what you’re going to eat next? Do you fixate on how you are going to fit into your swimsuit or jeans? Or what your next cardio session is going to be? Do you feel obsessed or overwhelmed with your workout routine or diet? Do you feel drained or overwhelmed about about doing this for a long period of time? This is your clue that you need to scale back. A program that prioritizes your health will not be all consuming.
3. Make Time for Connection with Your Higher Self
Are you taking time for self care? Do you have some sort of meditation routine or quiet time to rejuvenate your mind? What exercises are you completing for your mental health and self love? If you focus all your time and energy solely on your physical body, you will never be satisfied. Having the perfect figure forever is not a realistic goal. It will never be enough because you don’t have a solid foundation for genuine self love. You have to know your worth beyond just your physical appearance. You have to know that you are more than just your body or appearance in order to find a level of satisfaction.
4. Fuel Your Body Correctly
Is this new diet helping you to get the nutrients your body needs? Is it about restriction or is it about health? How can you incorporate foods that will help your brain function, regulate your hormones, and create healthy gut biome? How will you help to repair and regenerate cells when you aren’t eating enough nutritious foods? Try putting more of an emphasis on the quality of your foods instead of just living by restriction.
5. Give Yourself Grace
When it comes to fitness goals it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It’s even easier to fall into the all-or-nothing mindset and go into extremes. Ask yourself if your plan or your program is going to help you stay consistent. Do you feel balanced in all areas of your health? If you feel like you have to white knuckle your way through the program, it won’t stick and you are setting yourself up for failure before you even begin. Instead, start by giving yourself permission to be human. Be gracious with yourself physically and mentally. Set small goals that will build your confidence and help you feel successful. Maintaining that feeling is what will help fuel lasting change in your life.
Prioritizing health leads to a happier, more fulfilled life. It means having the energy and stamina to complete workouts and feel accomplished. It means being proud of yourself. And positively, that’s the overall goal – to feel confident, strong and happy. Let’s take a step back and prioritize our health over just being “fit”.
To learn more, check out BodybyBree.com.