Finding your Inner Strength through Body Transformation
Everyone who embarks on a health/lifestyle transformation has one common goal; to become a healthier, happier and stronger version of themselves. There are many choices you need to make along the way when it comes to nutrition, training and mindset that can either make it a journey full of strength and empowerment, or one that can be filled with feelings of disappointment and self-defeat. Here are some tips I learned along my journey, and through other womens journeys, that may help you stay on the path of true strength and empowerment…
1/ Assess whether your goals are realistic or not
This one is make-or-break. Behaviours such as believing everything you see on social media, expecting someone to have the ‘secret’, or using crash-diets as solutions to long-term weight struggles, are health and fitness myths that can lead you down a negative path. Empowered approach: Understand that the world is out to make money! Companies will say anything to get you to buy their products. Your goals however (no matter how big or small), are achievable, if approached in the right way. There are many amazing people in the health and fitness industry that are experienced, realistic and honest. My suggestion is to find a professional, talk to anyone you know and TRUST that has transformed and inspired you, and ask them for their personal perspective on their own journey. Realistic expectations will always serve you in the long run
2/ Focus on the inner wins, not just the physical
Thinking that changing your body is going to make you happier is a disillusion like no other. If your happiness is compromised you tend to want to blame something, and in a world fueled by media’s idea of a ‘perfect woman’, we can often get caught up in thinking its our body that is the culprit. I can tell you from experience that getting ‘hot’ will not make you happy all by itself. Empowered approach: Understand that the way your body looks is quite often a mixture of your genetics and your emotional state. Personally I think body transformation is one of the most empowering things you can do, but its not the end resulting ‘body’ that brings you happiness, but rather the improved nutrition, regular exercise, nervous system adaptations, improved sleep, and your newly-refined rubbish-behaviour-in-your-friends detector (a.k.a your ability to see who wants to see you happy and who wants to see you fail), that gives you this feeling of inner happiness. Buying smaller clothes is great, but it’s truly an afterthought once you have made these changes in your life.
3/ Approach the switch from unhealthy to healthy gradually, and be patient!
Thinking that you can go from an unhealthy lifestyle to one full of nourishment can be unrealistic and disempowering. It can often leave you putting too many restraints on yourself and as saying goes ‘what you resist, persists.’ Once the persistence becomes too much and you ‘cave’, you are likely to be left feeling as if you cannot achieve your goal, and that you are not good enough. Empowered approach: You can, however, change it gradually and even the smallest of changes will lead to positive outcomes. Most often if your lifestyle isn’t optimal then it’s because either you were never taught it, or something has happened in your life that sent you down a less-healthy path. The trick here is not to judge yourself. The first part of lifestyle change is deciding to change, and you have to give yourself the respect you deserve to change it slowly. Think something along the lines of; ‘in 12 months I will be eating healthy at least 90% of the time and exercising 4 days a week’. Then come up with a realistic path to follow that will lead you there. If you ‘slip up’, laugh at yourself, recognize that it’s a part of you that you are ready and willing to let go of – IN TIME – and keep moving forward.
4/ Try to avoid focusing on the scales
Getting caught up in your weight will have you feeling you aren’t getting anywhere. You can gain 5kgs of muscle and lose 5kgs of fat, but you’re still going to weigh the same, so relying on that can take away your power and leave you feeling like you’re not achieving what you want. Empowered approach: If your goal is body transformation or weight-loss, use measurements and photos and appreciate all the little changes along the way. Also remember (as mentioned above) that most of the changes will be ones that have NOTHING to do with your physical appearance, so don’t overlook them.
5/ Avoid comparing yourself to others
Self-comparison is a self-growth killer. Aiming to transform into a replica of your favorite fitness model feels empowering to begin with, but becomes disempowering in the long-run when reality hits and you realise what it takes to achieve the look you’re after. Empowered approach: Keep in mind that you are unique and beautiful in every way before you even begin, and you are just embarking on a journey to a stronger, fitter and healthier you. We all have a unique physical structure which cannot be changed. Sure, someone can inspire you, but at the end of the day your power comes from owning your own space in the world. Use the CONCEPT of an image to inspire you but not the exact ‘look’. This way you will feel like you have ownership of your personal journey to improve on YOURSELF, rather than feeling like your unrealistic attempts – to look like another person – aren’t working.
6/ Be mindful of social media
In terms of business, social media can be deceiving, for many it’s a marketing tool and far from honest and trustworthy. Phone editing is easy to do now and no-one mentions what is really going on behind-the-scenes to achieve the bodies that they are using in exchange for money. You also never really know what, or who, is behind each account. In terms of your personal use, relying on likes or followers to validate you can be disempowering and leave you questioning weather your efforts (which you were pleased with before you posted them) are anything special. Empowered approach: I definitely see nothing wrong with social media if you focus on its positives, being that it’s a place of sharing and inspiration. But you have to see through the crap and be realistic. Some people have thousands of followers and have no idea what they are doing, and some have next-to-no followers and are AMAZING at what they do. I have had clients who have had abs since childhood and some that are meticulous with diet and exercise who have never had them. Abs don’t always equal expertise. So, use social media to inspire you to change and if your are detached from the outcome then go ahead and share, but don’t allow the result to leave you feeling doubtful about your own journey, and keep in mind that if something seems to good to be true, it usually is.
The biggest take-away here really is just to always keep in mind that transformation takes time in ANY discipline. There is much to be gained from changing your lifestyle for the better, but true empowerment comes from a healthy and realistic attitude, respecting yourself and your individual journey, having integrity, and staying true to yourself!