It's summer. So, no surprise that you've probably seen DOZENS of different "weight loss challenges" that focus on the seemingly common goal of LOOK GOOD NOW! For some people, this is great. The short time-frame gives them a swift kick in the ass to get going, the community's support keeps them motivated, and making their goal public holds them liable (because god forbid you publicly FAIL at something!) However, sometimes I think these "weight loss challenges" are possibly the worst idea for some individuals. Notably, this is the wrong approach for people with previous obsessive behaviors toward food, exercise, or dieting in general. It's hard not to succumb to the pressure, or even the challenge itself. But what if fitness professionals posed a different kind of challenge?....
This challenge won't necessarily be a task for your muscles, but more for your mind. Instead of forcing yourself to eat less calories or exercise more to look a certain way, I want you to challenge your mind to enjoy yourself right now and everything that you are capable of at this moment. I want you to challenge yourself to go through every one of these 30 days without a single negative thought about your body image. Instead of exercising with the sole purpose to lose weight and "look good", I want you to challenge yourself to exercise because you want to perform better, you want to feel better, and/or you want to do something healthy for yourself. I want you to challenge yourself to focus on the things you like about your body, instead of finding all of the tiny things that you don't like. I want you to challenge yourself to treat yourself like you treat your friend; if she was your size, would you think she was fat? Would you constantly tell her she is fat, or needs to eat less? I want you to challenge yourself to eat enough to nourish your body and your performance, instead of restricting calories and doing excessive exercise (if you need more help on this, check out Eat to Perform's calculator to give you a starting point.) I want you to challenge yourself to reduce the negativity in your life, whether that be releasing yourself from having unrealistic role models (like genetic "freaks",) engaging in energy-sucking relationships, or holding on to regret, remorse, guilt. I want you to challenge yourself to appreciate the body you have at this very moment, in all its unique-ness, through all its abilities, and with all its history.
So, if this is just a "mind thing", why do I guarantee "better health, better body, better sex?" How can I have a better body if I'm not eating less and exercising more?? How can I have better sex if I don't get rid of this belly flab?? How can I be in better health if I'm not doing crazy juice cleanses and super fancy metabolic workouts????
Because all you need to do is change your MIND!
Health can literally be defined as "without disease." Health is not defined by how fast you can do a Crossfit Fran workout, or how much weight you can deadlift, or even how many vegetables you eat in a day. Health is feeling your best and operating at your best. In your best health, you are operating optimally and you are literally thriving. Healthy living isn't all about eating well and exercising regularly, but it's also about taking care of your MIND. Having positive thoughts, reducing your stress, and being happy within yourself is exponentially more important to your health than even the most perfect diet and exercise plan. Now, how can I guarantee a better body? Because a "better body" is also all in mind; it's about perspective. If you think you look good and you're giving yourself positive affirmations, you're gonna look damn good! And this usually won't only come from your mind. Since you'll love the way you look and you can appreciate how good it feels to move during this challenge, you'll be exercising the right amount for you instead of forcing yourself into unrealistic or unsustainable workout plans. Nobody can give you the "perfect" workout plan, you have to adjust according to how you feel and how you fast you can recover. Now, how can I guarantee you better sex? Because you're getting right in your MIND! Whether that be from releasing yourself from negative thoughts ("oh my god, I hope he doesn't notice how fat my thighs look today") or because you've released yourself from negative or stressful thoughts ("work is going to be horrible tomorrow"), then you inevitably will just enjoy EVERYTHING better in life, sex included!
I would bet that this challenge is going to be a WAY more of a daunting task than any other "weight loss" challenge out there today, so are you up for it?
Some good reads on this topic:
Stop Setting Goals - Mother Fitness
2013 In Review - In My Skinny Genes