One decision was all it took for me to get into the best shape of my life. After countless bouts of trial and error, making this one change was enough to send me on the path to optimal health for life. I know you’re probably dying to know what this big secret is, and I’m more than happy to share it with you. So, how did I finally become satisfied with the way I look?
By changing my perception.
I know, that probably wasn’t the answer that you were expecting. I very well could have been leading up to revealing how a “seven-day juice cleanse” or “thirty-day fat-burning fitness regimen” became my knight and shining armor in finally reaching my ultimate health goal. But the truth is, those things are only a temporary fix. I learned that first-hand after my constant focus on counting my calories and placing restrictions on my diet lead me into a two-year long struggle with compulsive binge eating. At that time, my mental focus was placed on negativity. Not only was my perception of my physical body negative, but quite literally, everything relating to my health was geared towards reducing quantity. I wanted to lose weight, subtract caloric intake, and restrict myself from eating certain foods, which impacted my entire outlook on life.
I didn’t understand why I was at such a standstill with my weight or why I felt compelled to binge-eat so frequently. All around me, I saw this outlook of negativity being glorified, so I thought I was on the right path. When I would go to certain fitness classes at the gym, the instructors would encourage us to “just get through the class” when it became more challenging so we could achieve the ultimate goal of “looking good on the beach.” I started using a calorie-counting app to ensure that everything I put into my body would be accounted for, and when I saw that I consumed less calories on one particular day, I would commend myself, because I thought that I was doing what was expected of me.
I thought that I was doing the right thing, but when I looked in the mirror, I was disgusted with myself. I wasn’t remotely happy or healthy, and I couldn’t see how I let myself fall into this state of mind. I realized that I needed to make a drastic change, but this time, it wouldn’t be a quick-fix or a perfectly calculated plan. I began to change my perception on diet and exercise from within, and that was the catalyst that allowed me to be at peace with the way that I look and feel.
If you’re looking to get into your best shape, both physically and mentally, the first thing to do is to place your focus back on health. Most advertised health and fitness regimens are solely focused on the external product, which is how “pleasing” your body will look after you lose weight. The hard-hitting truth is that you can lose all the weight in the world, but still be cripplingly unhappy inside. That’s why when the focus is shifted on becoming healthier and treating your body well, you’ll be able to not only achieve the goals you set for yourself, but also do so with genuine happiness and gratitude.
When it comes to diet, the tidbit that has changed my life is looking at food like it is fuel for your body. Instead of focusing on what you “can’t” or “shouldn’t” eat, try to pay attention to what type of foods make you feel energized. You’ll start to notice that eating more natural foods will make you feel better overall, and you’ll naturally opt to eat healthier choices. And this isn’t about restricting yourself from ever eating junk food, rather, it’s about eating a diet that is mostly nutrient-based because it makes you feel better both physically and mentally.
As far as exercise goes, you’ll want to apply the same principle. Exercise should be based on enjoyment, rather than a necessary action taken to “lose weight.” When you discover what specific form of exercise is the most enjoyable for you, it feels like you’ve hit the jackpot. For me, I feel genuinely happy when I attend yoga and Zumba classes because of the positive atmosphere I absorb when I’m there. This concept is definitely subjective, because some people would feel pure dread at the thought of attending one of those classes and would prefer to go for a long run instead. The point is that no matter what form of exercise you choose, even if it’s just taking a walk outside or dancing alone in your room, you should genuinely enjoy what you’re doing, and I promise that it will make all the difference.