Ahh… a topic that’s so heavy on my heart to write about more often.
Everywhere you look, there are messages that target your weight, health (mental and physical), and appearance.
- Food labels: Fat-free, sugar-free, GMO-free, no hormones, no antibiotics, gluten-free, etc.
- Women’s “health” magazines: “Flat tummy in 10 days!”, “Lose 7 lbs this week!”, “Eat these fat-burning foods”, “Get rid of cellulite!”
- Commercials: Slim fast, Beach body, Hydroxycut, etc.
And that’s only naming a very small group of them.
So, what’s wrong with this?
It makes us feel like we always have to diet. Like we’re never going to be good enough. Like if we don’t eat these certain foods or do these exercises, we will never be healthy or have an attractive appearance. It creates a culture that is focused on obsession, extreme restriction, and often times, stress-inducing activities.
I feel like “balance” has become more of a popular word in the health and fitness industry, and some consumers are beginning to rightfully dismiss these guilt-trip marketing messages.
So, how do you ensure these messages don’t get to your head?
- Don’t support (buy or read) magazines that instantly make you feel guilt, shame, or insecurities from reading the headlines on the front cover
- Don’t follow people on social media who make you feel poorly about yourself
- Educate yourself on food labels
- Find what your soul truly enjoys
Realize that these messages are a marketing ploy… all in an effort to make money. Businesses in the *diet* industry don’t actually care about your health – they care about making money (as it turns out, adding guilt and shame into their marketing strategy is actually a pretty good way to make money). If they DID care about your health, they would teach you to improve your lifestyle slowly through healthy eating, exercise, stress-relief, and finding wellness and fulfillment.
Diets are typically short-term, require extreme changes, are not maintainable, and they always have an end date. If you truly want to be healthy, well, strong, and happy you need to find a routine that will work for you LONG-TERM.
- Can you see yourself eating this way for the rest of your life?
- Can you see yourself counting calories and tracking macronutrients for the rest of your life?
- Can you see yourself drinking a protein smoothie every single day for the rest of your life?
- Can you see yourself hitting the gym every single day for the rest of your life?
If you answer “no” to any version of this question that you ask yourself, re-evaluate your routine.
Once you shift your focus to being overall healthy and well, you will achieve balance and happiness. There are many nutrient-rich foods that will give you energy; sweet potatoes are just one of them. There are many ways to strengthen your legs; lunges are just one of them. There are numerous ways you can relieve stress; exercise is only one of them.
So, quit labeling foods as “good” or “bad”. Eat a variety of foods that you love. Try different forms of exercise and being active. Focus on getting quality sleep, meaningful relationships, and doing something that makes you happy every single day. When in doubt, KEEP IT SIMPLE.
Health and wellness > Fitness and dieting