Build a healthier relationship with your body to get better results
When you go on a diet, you do it to lose weight, right? Twenty pounds please and in time for your cousin’s wedding would be the icing on the cake. We’re all for setting clear goals, but ‘getting skinny’ shouldn’t be at the top of the list. This week is Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Take this time to build a healthier relationship with your body with our 7 tips. By focusing on healthy rather than thin, you’ll get more satisfaction from your results!
After all that diet deprivation, you step on the scale and with one look down the scale ruins your day. Sound familiar? If so, you’re not the only one. Most of us measure our success by the numbers on the scale. Not only can this be demotivational, it’s also a recipe for disaster.
Going on a diet is temporary by nature. You may see the numbers dropping on the scale, but you’ll probably regain the weight and then some when you go back to normal eating. Losing weight often isn’t the problem; it’s keeping it off that poses the real issue. You can’t maintain a diet that revolves around soups, salads and meal replacement shakes. A mindset of deprivation will only lead to desire for the foods you deprive yourself of! The only way to control your weight over the long run is to make changes you can stick to. That means a sensible diet with room for the occassional treat.
Switch your goal from skinny to healthy! Use our 7 tips to improve the relationship with your body and stop obsessing over the scale:
- Focus on how you feel
When the scale’s hasn’t budged for weeks, it’s easy to lose motivation and reach for the nearest candy bar. Next time you feel frustrated, close your eyes, take a deep breath and connect with your body for a minute. How are you feeling these days? Do you have more energy? Are you more productive at work? Happier? These are all signs of your body and mind responding well to the changes you’ve made. Don’t underestimate these signs of success!
- Step away from the scale
By obsessively weighing yourself, you give the scale too much power. Your weight can fluctuate wildly from day to day and even from morning to evening, and it can drive you to frustration. How much you eat and drink, time since your last meal, hormones, fluid retention and constipation all influence your weight. Take the focus away from the numbers by measuring your progress in other ways. Ditch the scale completely, use a tape measure to track your progress or weigh yourself weekly at a designated time.
- How’s your sleep?
An unhealthy diet can influence sleep quality and quantity. Eating certain foods near bedtime, too much sugar and drinking alcohol can cause trouble falling or staying asleep. Eating sensible portions of healthy meals can help you get that quality sleep we all yearn for. So even when the pounds aren’t flying off, take note of how you feel when you wake up. If you feel more refreshed these days, rejoice!
- Do exercises you enjoy
Exercise that feels like a chore isn’t going to keep you motivated and definitely won’t make you feel good. Find an activity you enjoy. Regular, enjoyable exercise is a much better way to control your body shape than an overly restrictive diet. Just imagine how proud you’ll be of yourself when you run or swim that first mile without stopping!
- Don’t make burning calories the goal of exercise
You pound that treadmill for half an hour, check the display and it says you burned… only 200 calories?! Recognize this frustrating feeling? Burning calories is only part of the benefit of exercise. Exercise is good for your heart, releases happiness-helping endorphins and improves muscle tone. Those are the benefits you want to focus on. It doesn’t hurt to know how many calories you are burning, just don’t make it the be-all and end-all.
- Enjoy the ‘health halo’
Your grilled salmon and steamed broccoli dinner is good for you and you know it. The healthy fats in the salmon are good for your heart, the broccoli is good for just about everything. To top it all off, you feel proud of yourself for choosing the healthier option over that greasy takeaway. Enjoy the look & feel of that ‘health halo’!
- Get regular check-ups
It’s a good idea to do regular check-ups with your health provider to see how your ‘inner you’ is doing. Your blood pressure, iron, B12, blood glucose, vitamin D etc. levels are all good health markers. They might show health improvements even when the scale doesn’t.
If you feel like disordered eating behaviors affect you or someone close to you, take this opportunity to get support. Talk to a health provider or someone you trust to get help. You can find more information on the Eating Disorder Awareness Week website.