Don’t go crazy… The first steps towards diet and exercise
I don’t think there is anyone, who was always happy with their body. Everyone considered diet or exercise at least once in an attempt to get closer to this ideal body that we see in every next celebrity. But how do we go about it in a way that won’t leave us hurt or disappointed? Well, there are a few things we can consider before we take a shot at our New Year resolutions.
“Am I fat?!” – how to measure your weight?
Most of us learned about BMI in school and many people still use it to make sure their weight is right. It isn’t exactly bad, but it’s worth to remember that BMI is a very general indicator that can be very misleading, especially with people with a lot of muscle mass. It’s a very simple tool that can’t accurately summarize our health. It becomes clear when we decide to calculate the BMI of an athlete – the result often indicates obesity. Which is why it’s good to supplement it with other methods, like WHR (Waist-Hip Ratio) or ABSI (A Body Shape Index), which is considered to be one of the most trustworthy tools. Comparing these three should give us a fair idea of whether our weight and fat percentage are ok, or should we start to worry and seriously start considering a diet change.
How your weight can affect your mood
No one likes to feel unattractive and unhappy with their body. There are many researches that prove the link between obesity and the probability of depression, but barely any doctor or researcher dares to try and point which causes the other. But it is evident that bad mood or even depression are tied to our looks and how we perceive our own body, and weight is, unfortunately, a big part of that.
Sometimes bad mood and self-loathing are caused by the way our surroundings react to us, which in turn affects how we perceive our bodies. Especially overweight people can often be met with unsolicited “advice” from other people, even strangers, that quickly become depressing and simply unpleasant. Which is why tackling extra weight should follow two tracks: not only diet and exercise, but also building up confidence and trying to accept our body, even if think it’s not perfect. This approach will help us to not only reach our goal weight, but also the perfect state of mind, better mental health and more satisfaction in life. And, of course, self-love.
Well, then… how to break through and start?
First of all, we should prepare ourselves by:
- Assessing our capabilities, not only physical, but also money- and schedule-wise
- Preparing a varied exercise plan
- Mentally preparing for any obstacles or temptations that we may have to face
You have to approach the topic carefully, as to not fall into either extreme and get hurt trying to lose all the extra weight at once. It’s best to establish small and concrete goals that won’t be too hard to achieve, but will help us to stay motivated. A kilo or a half per week is a perfectly achievable aim that won’t cause too much disturbance in our body, while also letting us clearly see our progress.
It’s good to start with introducing small changes in your everyday routine. Things like, for example, eating a fruit or a vegetable with every meal, taking a walk a few times a week, or getting into the habit of carrying a water bottle with you. After successfully introducing these small changes it will be easier to move on to the bigger stuff in the next stages of our plan. Of course, not everything will always go smoothly. It might happen that we’ll forget something or have a moment of weakness. That’s when we have to remind ourselves why we do it, shake it off and keep going. You can also use the help of a specialist if your plan fails. Consulting a dietician, doctor or a trainer can aid you in reaching your goal in a healthy and effective way.
Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy attitude
While chasing the perfect body, it’s also important to not neglect your psyche. We shouldn’t treat the exercise like a punishment and we shouldn’t push ourselves when we simply can’t do an exercise or if it makes us feel very bad. Sure, intense trainings can be draining and even painful at times, but that doesn’t mean we should butcher ourselves while the body sends a clear signal it can’t keep it up.
We have to remember that a workout or a diet aren’t a toy brick tower and won’t be ruined by just one slip-up – if you fail one day, you can always catch up next time. Cheat meal or even a cheat day won’t make all our progress disappear, and it might even help us stick us to the plan by taking some of the stress off our shoulders and providing us with a way to reward ourselves for our hard work. You shouldn’t also be afraid to deviate from your plan sometimes and look for replacements or compromises that will suit you better at this time. Maybe your arm hurts and you’d rather do sit-ups than push-ups or go for a walk instead of swimming. After all, an exercise plan is just a tool, not a sentence! It’s also good to look for strength in external support. It can come from your family, friends, a trainer or even a dedicated app. While trying to lose weight it’s important to not only have a stick at the ready, but also a carrot to reward ourselves and not lose the motivation. It will make it easier to stick to our resolution.
Matters surrounding diet, sport or weight are very complex, multi-layered and often very sensitive for many people. Which is why we should take on a holistic approach, so that we will neither get discouraged with a lack of effects, nor get hurt while chasing some imagined ideal of a perfect human body. Every one of us is a little different and there isn’t just one method that would work for anyone.
Even more so… there isn’t even a one body type that would be good for anyone, as being too thin also has its risks and downsides, and everyone’s “too” on this scale can vary wildly. That’s why it’s not worth it to work yourself to the bone, trying to maintain that “perfect” weight. If you feel good, despite still being a few kg away from your goal weight, your weight already is perfect – for you!