18 Mar 2017

My personal gripe with the fitness industry.

An industry that is worth millions upon millions of dollars, there is some parts to it that I can’t stand. Yes, I work in alignment with the industry and for most part of it I am ashamed at what it focuses on. This little fish is swimming upstream is not going to change the world, but maybe for my little girl.

The industry is far too focused on how you look, your image and weight loss. All around the developed world we are struggling with obesity and weight related illnesses. I think its contributing to the problem! This promise that you get to the goal weight, you’ll be happy, your kids will be better behaved, you’ll be more attractive, you’ll be more successful and *BAM* perfect life to match your perfect body! Looking good is not a determinant of health!

The main focus needs to be your entire health, rather than the number between your toes on the bathroom floor. I’ve never struggled with my weight, it doesn’t mean I’ve always had this attitude towards myself. I have loved my body in all its glory for a number of years. It took me a while to get to this point of self love and its not something I sprinkle on my breakfast in the morning. AND No! I don’t have a dream figure but I do have stretches marks from pregnancy and puberty, rolls, weird cellulite patterns, my boobs seem to have a mind of their own, spider veins, wobbly bits that seem to shake at awkward times. But HEY! I jiggle because I am moving! I focus on what I love about my body, I love when my arms have a little muscle definition to them, my curvy hips, when my booty has a nice perk to it and when my waist is an actual waist.

Its never encouraging when you turn up to a gym and one of the first questions or comments is ‘how much weight do you want to lose?‘ ‘whats your goal weight?‘ Already they want you to change how you look?

I remember years ago getting the hard sell from a very image conscious gym, the woman looked at me so strangely when she asked my goal weight and my response was ‘I don’t want to lose any weight’. Of course the look she gave me think …..‘should I?’

My most depressed, lowest, unhealthiest and unhappiest times in my life have been when I have been my lowest weight. Then you get comments of ‘you’ve lost weight’ in a bouncy positive tone. I knew my internal health was B-A-D, this is my personal gripe! Even worse, as a measure of a successful healthy lifestyle. Usually that first comment is, how much weight have you lost? comparing your success to numbers and image again. I definitely hate the idea of a goal weight, what do you do when you get to it? Put your heels up, relax and indulge?

Shift the focus to what a healthy lifestyle can give you, I exercise for how I feel, its helps me sleep. I love feeling strong, the socialization and connection to community. I love the break from my everyday life and my mood is better. I eat better when I feel better. After years of depression and medication, I’ve learnt a big part of managing my mental health was actively taking care of my physical health. This involved finding activities that I really enjoyed doing, Yoga classes with a friend, we’d laugh about on the way home, boxing with my boyfriend, even though I had no idea on how to fight- I actually said “you go first” to my sparring partner inviting her to punch me first. Swimming laps at a local pool has been my personal favourite. 
Thats what we all need, find what we enjoy doing. Working your ass off when you hate it is not going to keep you coming back. So if it’s wearing a uniform running onto a field/court/ground with a team or going solo in the corner of the gym on your own. If you enjoy it keep doing it! If your not doing it yet, keep looking to find what you enjoy.

If even a tiny bit more of societal focus was on, how you feel? Improving your health and lifestyle. The pinnacle ugly side of the industry is the orthorexia (unhealthy obsessions around food, eating and supplements, linked in with negative self image much like anorexia/bulmia). For both men and women, the strictest of diets and gym routines. Leaving them obsessed, stressed and miserable. The cycle of depriving yourself from ‘bad foods’, diets that promise the world to you leaving you cranky and tired. For people actually trying to improve themselves by getting to healthier weight, it will make them frustrated and disheartened each time they look between their toes on the bathroom floor.
Look at what your doing right now. Can you sustain this? Are you doing better than yesterday? Are you more active than last week? Can you keep this lifestyle going next week, months even for the 12 months and longer. We all have up and downs, good periods and bad, thats life. Healthy lifestyle is day in, day out, for rest of your life. A short term detox or cleanse will not do this. Don’t tell yourself it will!

I had a bad week last week, bad sleep, a baby teething, low mood, disorganised with groceries which meant not the best dinners, but I knew this new week I had to kick it back into gear.
I don’t have all the answers because every person is different. If I could break it down I would to these points.

  1. Stop focusing what you look like but how your feel about yourself. Focus on how you feel differently after some exercise.
  2. Look at yourself in the mirror, find something you love about it. Do it DAILY!
  3. Ditch the scales, If you must, weigh yourself maybe once a week maybe even less. Put your energy towards where can you fit in exercise, can you improve what your doing.
  4. When someone close to you changes their life for the better don’t just ask, how much weight they lost. Ask them about the bigger picture. How you feeling? Are you getting enough sleep?
  5. If somebody is selling you a product a book, program, shakes, supplements. FORGET IT! Unless you have been recommended by a Doctor or Dietician. 
Basic good nutrition is all we need this quiz will give you an idea on areas you can improve http://www.healthyeatingquiz.com.au/ – This quiz give you a score and shows were you can make improvements.
    Your health is day in day out, you’re making decisions every day that contribute to your health. Start right now, do something in the next 30mins that is a positive step for your.
    Organise a activity, drink a glass of water or organise a healthy tasty dinner.

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