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We all reserve the right to look and feel our best, regardless of our weight. While keeping a scale in your home can be helpful to track your progress, focusing solely on the number can be hugely detrimental to your mental and emotional self.
Obsessing over your weight will not lead to change; it will only harbor negative thoughts that will inevitably be counter-productive to achieving your health goals. Instead, focus on positive thoughts, such as “I can eat more greens today,” or “I will fit into those pants I love,” which is much more effective to attaining the end goal.
Here are a few ways to push out negative thoughts and allow positive sentiments to flood your mind and affect your health for the better.
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1. Hold yourself with confidence.
It’s not only about looking good but about feeling good, as well. When you feel confident in your skin, you become empowered to conquer other areas of your life. Put on clothes that make you feel good. Engage in physical activity that makes you feel energized. Make healthy food choices that won’t leave you feeling sluggish.
All these little things can add up to build momentum in the right direction and help you exude confidence, which will lead to better health. It’s cyclical!
2. Focus on how you feel.
You’ve been working out regularly, eating well, getting enough rest and you feel great. Then you step on your scale and you’re up four pounds. You think, how can this BE? Don’t sweat it: A typical scale is probably inaccurate for a few reasons. First of all, it’s slightly off because it's not calibrated correctly. There's also the fact that your weight fluctuates by a few or several pounds throughout the day. Finally, remember that muscle weighs more than fat.
If you find yourself becoming fixated on the number, take a break from using the scale and do the “jeans test," evaluating how you feel in your clothes. Feeling lean and toned is much more important than your weight.
3. Eat foods that actually make you feel good.
Exercise is important, of course, but diet is even more crucial to looking and feeling your best. The foods we put into our bodies can dictate how we feel all day long.
Processed foods riddled with saturated fat, sodium and sugar will make for a particularly sluggish day and may cause you to make poor decisions, such as skipping a workout or getting to bed later than usual. Focus on how nutrient-dense foods, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, make your body feel when you’re making a meal or snack choice.
Forget counting calories; instead, focus on fueling your body with foods that contain as few ingredients as possible. For breakfast, try making overnight oats or chia seed pudding. Lunch can be a base of spinach or kale, topped with your favorite veggies and nuts. For dinner, try to fill a majority of your plate with vegetables, the rest can be a grain or protein.
4. Have fun!
If the thought of going for one more brisk walk or running on the treadmill makes you want to ditch your workout altogether, then you need to switch it up. If you’re not having fun with it, what’s the point?
Sure, we all have days that require a little more motivation than usual, but if your workout is becoming mundane and boring to you, it’s probably also becoming stale for your body and will cause you to plateau. Exercise does not have to be a rigid 45-minute session. You can go for a walk with a friend, have a dance party in the living room with your kids or bike instead of drive to a park for a picnic.
Any activity that gets you moving and makes you happy can get your blood pumping, so if you’re just not feeling a vigorous HIIT session one day, don’t force it. Just be sure to make some form of physical activity non-negotiable each and every day.
Free yourself of the negative thoughts associated with your weight. It’s just a number. Remember that you’re working out and eating well to make yourself feel your best and maintain a strong, healthy body that can help you do amazing things.
Nikki Warren, is the co-founder of Kaia FIT, a holistic fitness and nutrition program designed for women, by women.