Embarking on a health journey, making wellness a priority and weight loss works differently for different people. However, when approached the wrong way, your journey can lead to health concerns and your body lacking necessary nutrients. A survey found that 9% of the US population will develop an eating disorder in their lifetime — that's 28.8 million Americans. Wanting to feel healthier and lose weight doesn't have to be negative, as long as you approach the change with research and self-care. Reframing your mindset is key to not overexerting yourself on your journey. In today's post, we'll discuss how empowered women can do so.
Finding a healthier motivation
Most people, especially women, are easily swayed to make the change to a healthier lifestyle for less-empowering reasons, like wanting a beach bod in time for summer or being able to fit into the perfect dress for a big night out. While those may seem like valid reasons, they can also lead to drastic and overwhelming changes in your lifestyle, resulting in unwanted physical or mental health conditions. Identifying your motivation for weight loss should be closely tied to sustainable, healthy, and positive goals. Instead of motivating yourself to lose weight for a big event, why not consider your weight loss as a journey towards self-love, where you can learn to appreciate your body for all it does? Focusing on activities that make you feel capable and strong, for example, can be healthy reminders of what your weight loss journey is doing for you instead of focusing on the negatives. Pairing weight loss with fitness and health can also help move the focus away from just dietary choices and towards a balanced healthy lifestyle. It may seem trivial, but reframing these thoughts can make weight loss more empowering rather than a controlling lifestyle change.
One of the reasons most diets don't work — or they do, but the dieter fails to maintain their new weight — is that they treat their wellness journey as a constant punishment instead of a reward system. A study on why dieters succeed and fail found that women who engage in restrictive, all-or-nothing diets are more sensitive to punishment and respond accordingly. Meanwhile, more reward-inclined women often take on lifestyle and dietary changes that facilitate things like improved fitness levels and weight loss instead of relying on drastic restrictions. For some people, the punishment-based approach may seem helpful at the start to ensure discipline and efficacy. Still, it's important to note that most restrictive diets may deprive your body of essential nutrients. There's no reason that thinking of "rewards" along your weight loss journey requires less discipline or is a less effective way of losing weight. If anything, it frames your lifestyle changes in a more positive and encouraging light, e.g., "If I reach this weight goal, I can buy that dress I wanted," rather than threatening and scaring yourself to achieve your goal, e.g., "If I eat this, I'll gain x amount of calories."
Your reasons for focusing on a healthier lifestyle may differ from those around you. What's important is that you frame your mindset to reach your fitness goals in positive and healthy ways that won't end up harming your mind and body by the end of it. Balance out your lifestyle changes — changing your dietary habits is a good start — but don't forget to complement this with getting adequate sleep and engaging in enough physical activity to keep your body active and healthy. This doesn't mean you need a gym subscription immediately, but simple things like stretching or walking around can help you maintain weight without weakening your body.