STOP! And Think About It

Pop culture social media has shown to have a great impact on our lives. With the holidays approaching and a new year to celebrate, much of the media flooding may be on fitness: looking your best this holiday season and setting weight loss resolutions for the new year.

Growing up, do you remember what your mom used to say about looking good? “You need to have a nice shape and always look your best so you can find a great man!” or perhaps you have heard these ones: “Stand up straight” and “Men like women who wear skirts and dresses!” Social media and pop culture (paired with life teachings from mom) can have a strong influence on girls’ perceptions. As a result, our thinking patterns and behavioural choices around exercise and “fitness” may over cater to these pre-programmed “ideals” of what our society accepts and, at times, demands (e.g. slim figures, fashion-forward dressing, and money-hungry jobs equates to a successful life).

Crash exercising is often about as unsuccessful as crash dieting. It only provides temporary results. It may create a dangerous shock to the body and increase risk of injury. It can also provide detrimental effects when we’ve followed a strict workout regime, only to see our efforts have not produced the results we wanted for our bodies.

The moment we decide that we want to workout just to look good, we are setting ourselves up for failure. We will be so focused on the inch here and the pound there, that we neglect attending to the additional benefits of regular physical activity. We also tend to focus so much on a timeline (i.e., a weight loss to be achieved by a specific time period). Especially with physical goals, we all too often aim to “lose” something rather than generating a positive approach… “aiming to gain” (e.g. health, energy, stamina).  A negative emphasis creates stress and worry ensuring our “number-associated” results will not be up to par or “good enough”.

So why workout? If it’s not to look good, what’s the point? This mentality can all too frequently, especially for females, fuel thoughts and feelings of comparisons to others, self-judgment, hyper-criticism and scrutiny. Being in a state of constant comparison with others, with “fitter” body shapes and “better” physical attractiveness, eats away at our sense of satisfaction, happiness, self-worth and joy.

When we shift our thoughts from looking good to feeling good, the additional benefits of exercising and an active lifestyle will start to kick in. Feeling good about ourselves and our fitness accomplishments boost our moods and influences us to engage in additional positive behaviours. This feel-good-do-good phenomenon benefits not only our lives, but the people around us as well: loved ones, families, coworkers and friends.

Counselling sessions with a professional, registered therapist can help begin this cognitive shifting process; a renewing of the mind if you will, an intentional reorganizing of our thoughts, like files in folders, so that we get the results and emotional energy we’re seeking. Get support today to achieve your healthier lifestyle goals. To book your start up session for the New Year… call us today!