Training and eating for health over aesthetics
How often is a healthy lifestyle prompted by trying to be a certain weight or a certain dress size? These are common incentives for most women to get started, and while they usually work initially, how often do people (myself included) get discouraged and give up when we don’t get the desired rate of progress, or our progress starts to stall? This leads to a stop-start approach to exercise and dieting, which is inconsistent from month to month and year to year.
When it comes to fitness, performance and nutrition, the quote “jack of all trades, master of none” is very relevant. You can be extremely lean and have a 6 pack but may not necessarily be the strongest or healthiest you could be. In the same way, you could outperform everyone in your chosen sport (field, court, platform) but the chances are you won’t be the most shredded (not the goal) or necessarily healthiest (performing at a high level can be very stressful for the body). You could also be extremely healthy but not look like the cover of a magazine, or be the strongest, fastest person in your gym (balanced lifestyle of work, training, family/friends).
Whilst we all want to be look good, perform well in and out of the gym and be ‘healthy’, the reality is that they don’t all necessarily coincide with one another (most of the time at least). So, what should we be focusing on?
For the general population, the focus should be on exercising consistently and eating well for their health! My reason for this, is so that we are trying to be healthier for ourselves and for the rest of our lives; not for a short period of time in order to be a certain dress size.
By eating well and exercising consistently, not only will your body composition most likely improve, but the chances are, you will be less “drastic” in you approach and therefore manage to sustain it for a longer period of time.
I want women to think:
“I am eating nutritiously and exercising because I want to be healthy. I want to age well, ward off osteoporosis and other age-related illnesses. I want my body to feel good from the inside. I want to keep up with my kids or grandkids and if I lose weight along the way then great, but that is not the primary goal. Happiness, health and feeling pretty darn fantastic is the goal!”
Once you establish this mindset you won’t feel like giving up because the motivation is not purely a number, but a feeling - and I can pretty much guarantee that if you exercise and eat well consistently month to month, the aesthetic benefits will appear!
You may think, “but if I am not a healthy weight surely I need to focus on weight loss”, and while this is somewhat true, it’s not the be all and end all. Eating better, moving more and more consistently and looking after your health will lead to weight loss in the long-term as we cause a shift in the overall energy balance equation. We simply deprioritize the weight loss aspect as there is no single weight which means you are ‘healthy’ or not. Focus on overall health, and the rest will come – trust me!