Whether you’re just beginning your fitness journey, in the mist of it, or on the path to maintaining it there’s one thing we can all agree on which is the journey to health and fitness is just as much spiritually, emotionally, and mentally tolling as it is physical. One of the biggest things I’ve learned on my fitness journey is that emotional weight loss is a thing and it can’t be shed by exercise. I’ve learned that unhappiness and depression can manifest itself into fat and that being over-weight can be a direct result of being mentally, spiritually, or emotionally unhealthy.
You are what you eat. What are you feeding yourself? It’s time you start feeding your mind, body, and soul. Here are 5 reasons for any of you that might be struggling to understand why your dieting and exercise isn’t giving you the results you want, sometimes the work that needs to be done is within:
1. You use social media as a means of validation.
Repeat after me kids, you cannot determine your self worth by the amount of likes you get on a selfie, you’re worth more than the opinion of your friends and loose acquaintances and it’s time you started to believe that too. Okay, let’s be serious for a minute, raise your hand if you’ve ever given yourself that extra ‘like’ when your Instagram selfie has a mere nine likes? Guilty. We’ve all done it and it’s not your fault.
We’ve all been programmed to be this addicted to social media but the good news is that you don’t have to be. You see, being healthy means that you view yourself in an equally healthy way. When we give in to societal pressure to determine our self worth directly with the amount of attention we receive on social media we’re literally seeing ourselves through the eyes of someone else. It’s as if you’re incapable of deciding for yourself whether or not you’re attractive, wanted, and special on your own. Believing that you are special and beautiful is crucial to your fitness journey. When in doubt just remember this: You are a one of a kind piece of art and many people will want to stare at you and voice their opinions, none of their opinions matter.
Art is art because it claims to be art and no one has the power to denounce it once it has been declared art. You are special because you believe you are and no one has the power to change that. Use social media to impact your peers not impress your peers and then see for yourself the dramatic changes that unfold in your life because you no longer look to social media to validate your self worth but instead use it for what it’s intended for and look within yourself for validation and self-love.
2. You are easily influenced.
When did we all stop thinking for ourselves? When did we all lose our child like ability to question everything? Why are so many of us letting the media infiltrate our minds and way of thinking without even putting up a fight? These are the questions I have when I see that so many of my friends absorb whatever negativity or propaganda that the tabloids are projectile vomiting and regurgitate it onto their own timelines while it becomes apparent that they’ve let that negative energy replace their own. What you feed yourself matters.
If you’re feeding yourself trash then you’re going to look and feel like trash, your mind is no exception. Think of positive energy as leafy greens and think of negative energy as fast-food. Which one should you be getting more of to give your body the right amount of fuel and nutrients to benefit and improve your overall state of well-being? I’ll wait. In the beginning of your fitness journey you probably went through a cleanse where you emptied out your pantry of all the delicious but empty foods and replaced them with healthy and diet friendly alternatives. It’s time to also do that to your life and rid yourself of all the “empty calories” of the Internet and start feeding yourself real content.
Do yourself a favor and give yourself a digital cleanse and spend your Sunday afternoon unfriending, unfollowing, and unsubscribing to all of the gossip tabloids and influences you used to love indulging in and spend more time thinking for yourself. It’s okay to disconnect with the digital world so that you can connect with yourself. Try it, you’re going to love it.
3. You frequently engage in gossip.
The power of word is not one to be taken lightly. In the words of my beloved India Arie, “speak words of beauty and you will be them. No matter what anyone says, what matters most is what you think of yourself” the secret to being beautiful is believing you are and then BEING beautiful. How do you do that?
You exhibit what it means to be beautiful, you see the good in people, you use your words to uplift and empower, and you embrace the beauty all around you. It’s like the famous saying from the man himself, Deepak Chopra; if you want to stop looking for love then you must become love. This ones a no brainer guys, gossip isn’t harmless it actually does so much more harm to you than you think. When we allow ourselves to speak into the universe empty words of criticism about others we become what we say. Even engaging in celebrity gossip is more harmful to the human psych than we think.
When we allow ourselves to participate in publicly shaming and commenting on a stranger’s life we forget in that moment that they are human beings too and we become the bully. We then later project that same kind of unforgiving criticism onto ourselves. I often wonder if every word you spoke had to be tattooed on your body, would you choose your words differently?
4. You use people as a way to escape, from yourself.
Being healthy means you have established a relationship with your body, and that your mind and body are now one. It means that you treat your body with love, commitment, and respect. All those accumulated hours of hot yoga and cross fit mean nothing if you still treat your body like a cheap motel that anyone can sleep in if they have a few bucks. If you can understand that the basic rules of dieting are to choose better things to fuel your body, exhibit moderation, and learn about what it is you’re putting into your body then why shouldn’t those rules apply to the rest of your life?
Having meaningless relationships simply because you’re lonely is the equivalent to snacking because you’re bored. If you’re inclined to maintaining friendships, relationships, or whatever you call that weird stage where you’re ‘inconsistently texting a cute boy/girl who you may or may not have already hooked up with but have no intent on seriously dating’ when neither of you contribute any type of support or value to each others lives then you should ask yourself what is it about yourself that makes you so afraid to be alone? It’s time to look into that metaphorical mirror, (just like you did when you started your fitness journey and assessed the extra bits of fat you were determined to get rid of) take a deep breath, and let all of the things you’ve suppressed rise to the surface. Are you insecure? Do you think you’re not worthy of love?
Are you afraid that if people knew the real you then they wouldn’t love you? I know this part is hard, but exhale, and let it all go. The moment you can look inwards and not outwards for validation is the moment you’ll never be lonely again and that is how healthy, loving, and meaningful relationships are born because you’re no longer using them to fill a void, instead you are fulfilled.
5. You hate your body.
It’s time to start seeing your body differently. Think of it this way, your mind, body, and soul are 3 different entities and your job is to unite them. Your body hears all of the things you say during your self-talk. Reprogramming your self-talk to be loving and accepting is much more simple than you think it might be. Start by showing yourself some love!
You can do this by drawing yourself a nice bath once a week or lathering every inch of yourself in some nice smelling lotion before bed. Just like relationships it’s the little things that count when it comes to the relationship you have with your self and your body. I like to write affirmations on my mirrors and post-its and put them everywhere. Think of affirmations as a way to sending a sweet and loving text to yourself. Write something that you want to internalize every day like “I am beautiful and confident in my own skin” and let that mantra replace the negative one currently living inside your mind.
No one ever teaches us that we’re supposed to fall in love with ourselves too. Falling in love with yourself is just like falling in love with someone else, it happens little by little than all at once. Love your body and it will love you right back.