By Lauren Denos: 8/31/2015 (Mindset)

Are you are stressed with the quest of losing weight? We know that losing the excess weight will be good for us and we want to fit into that hot new outfit we bought, but instead of it being a positive motivation we are stressed out about it. We count every damn calorie, we over obsess about avoiding foods we love, until we finally binge. We are also working out to death, many times doing something we hate, all to achieve the ideal body. Does this really sound healthy?

I am not saying that losing weight is a bad thing or that the goal of losing weight is a negative motivation for everyone. In fact there are plenty of people that are fitness models and competitors, that would more than likely not agree what we are about to talk about, but I am not talking to them, I am talking to the ones with weight loss goals who tend to be stressed and obsessed. There is another way. A way that you can enjoy what you are doing. A way that you can focus on what empowers you and makes you feel good instead of angry, upset or depressed.

I am talking about focusing on your health. Yes, your health. This is different than focusing on your body composition. Your health means much more, and is important to your everyday life. It is a shift on where you focus. Instead of focusing on the amount of pounds or body fat percentage you would like to lose, focus on increasing your endurance or your strength, focus on your flexibility. When you eat you can be focus on how to eat healthy to support your new health goals, you could be eating for mental clarity or energy, or you can even make it a fun game of how many different colors of vegetables you can squeeze into each meal. You may choose to still monitor your eating, but do it for the sake of your health goals, not to lose weight.

Here is the kicker, you will tone up and lose weight anyway when you focus on your health, but now you have taken the stress out of it. It will make the whole process more enjoyable and therefore easier to stick to. Find something better and more positive to focus your attention on. Your dress size or body fat percentage does not mean anything about your worth. It is more worthwhile to be able to do 50 pushups or run 10 miles. This way you are focusing on goals that are actual tests of your skills and not of your ability to just look pretty. Much of our society focuses way too much on how pretty someone is instead of the real measure of success which is their accomplishments, who they are or how they live their life. One other horrible part of this is, the people you are comparing yourself to in the magazines are airbrushed to perfection, they do not look like that in real life. You are comparing yourself to someone who does not exist. Or maybe you compare yourself to that super awesomely built person at the gym, But you do not know how much time and effort they are putting into their bodies and their diets, you do not know if that is all they have time for in their lives, and you did not see where they started. They could be someone who has just been at it for a really long time, and after you have been on your health path for a while you may be just in as good of shape. Instead of focusing on looking like some other persons version of health you should be focusing on being the best version of yourself you can be.

I have been guilty of focusing on weight loss instead of my skills at times, and it always winds up stressing me out, especially since I am in the health and fitness industry. I hold myself to a ridiculous standard even though I know better. But that is not what is needed. What is needed is for people to see that it is not just having a 6 pack showing, it is about if the blood sugar under control, how are the energy levels, how good the strength and stamina are. I myself have been one of those people that always said if I lose 10 more pounds I will be happy. Yeah, right! I was anorexic and I still thought I was too fat. I would be lying if I said that all of those feelings are completely gone forever, I still have times that it creeps up. People will say I look great, but in my mind I still want to look more ripped. I work through these moments and remember how far I have come. I remember that health is not about how thin or ripped I am, it is about so much more than that. I now focus on achieving skills and goals that have more value and that make me feel good and that value me more for the unique person I am.

I know I am not the only one who has been stressed out about fitting into some idea of what I should look like. Be honest, when you stress out about your weight, how do you feel? Do you get really good results? Do they last? If the answer is no then it is time to start putting your focus somewhere other than the superficial. Are you willing to let go of what you "should" be and the stress that comes along with it, and just be the best you, you can be? Do it for no one else but yourself. It is a happier way of being. You are worth it!



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