Sunday

"I Hate My Body"

We really can be our own worst critics at times; especially when it comes to judging our own bodies.

Can you believe, a recent poll recently revealed that a massive 97% of women think “I hate my body”, at least once a day! So, why is this and what can we do to dampen those disheartening, negative thoughts.

Well, firstly there’s at least some comfort from the numbers.. If you’re sat in a room of 30 people, thinking “I hate my body” (or part of it!), the chances are that 28 other people in that room will have a similar thought about parts of their own body at some point that day too. So at least we know it’s perfectly normal we’re not alone.

But of course, we’d all prefer to be the one person in the room who doesn’t have those thoughts; so what encourages some of those bad feelings in the first place?

Well, a combined study of nearly 50 experiments, revealed that girls and women who frequently read magazines and on-line media containing images of thin, ‘idealistic’ women, reported a greater dissatisfaction with their appearance and tended to judge themselves more harshly, than those who weren’t exposed to those kinds of media images.

So, could this suggest we’re being overly harsh on ourselves, programming our minds to make our comparisons with inch-perfect, air-brushed celebrities? Well, perhaps. I’m sure you’ve seen images of these same ‘celebrities’ that have been caught off-guard and captured on camera pre air-brush (and sometimes even pre hair-brush!). We can generally take some quiet comfort from those pictures, as the people we’re seeing, don’t seem all that different from ourselves after all.

With all that said though, these thoughts will still pop in our heads whether we like it or not. So, how can we respond, to these types of thoughts and is it possible for us to develop a greater sense of self-acceptance?

Don’t Fuel It
A negative reaction to a thought like "I'm so fat", happens when we allow our minds to spiral onto other things we don't like about ourselves; "I hate my back-side", "no one would ever find me attractive", "I can't stand how I look”, etc, etc. In other words, if we’re not careful, we can ‘feed’ into the thoughts, like throwing blocks of wood onto a bonfire. So, the alternative response would be to let the thoughts just ‘burn-out’ on their own. When we don't ‘feed’ into them with more knit-picking at ourselves, our critical inner-voice quite often quietens down and fades away.

Where did that come from?
Ask yourself, "Where did that thought come from?". Typically, these types of negative thought don't just appear out of the blue. There is often something else that is bothering us that filters through our system and ends up being translated into a negative thought about our body. For example, a stressful day at work or experiencing problems in a relationship can bizarrely evolve into worry about our thighs..!

Let it go
Actively let the thought go. Imagine that negative thought sitting on a cloud and letting that cloud float by you. Your job is to let it go by, without trying to reach out, grab the thought, analyse it, wrestle with it, or whatever else. Just let it go. Remember that if someone throws you a ball, you don't have to catch it. Similarly, if an unwanted thought pops into your head, you don't have to take it and accept it as fact.

Be respectful
Make a point of consciously turning your attention to more neutral thoughts. Notice, we don’t necessarily need to go to the other end of the scale, trying to be ultra-positive. Thinking things like, "I love my amazing body", would just be too unrealistic. Instead work on more ‘self-accepting’ statements like "I accept my thighs as they are", "I’m enjoying feeling healthy", "I appreciate what I can do for myself", etc, etc. Focus on neutrality, non-judgment and respect toward yourself and your inner-relationship with your body.

Some of these ideas might not necessarily work straight away, and perhaps not every time, but with practice, it’s certainly possible to ‘train’ our minds to respond to our negative inner voice in a different way, ultimately reversing some of the unrealistic ‘conditioning’ that may have gone on before.

Go on then, why not give it try next time!

Best wishes

Tony

Friday

Do I Need To Exercise To Lose Weight?

One of the top 5 questions I get asked on a regular basis is, "Do I need to exercise to lose weight?" - And the answer they’re really hoping for is, no you don’t.

Technically speaking, of course it isn’t essential to exercise in order to lose weight; you can make some significant headway by just changing your diet alone. But if you really want to accelerate the rate at which you lose weight, as well as seriously boost your chances of maintaining your goal weight, increasing your activity level is an absolute must.

As I’ve mentioned many times in the past, losing weight is pretty much just about simple maths; all you need to do is burn off more calories than you consume (Okay, yes I know there’s a little more to it than that, but that’s the basic principle!).

With this in mind, if an 11 stone person (154 lbs) spent almost their entire day sitting and sleeping, with no exercise, they will burn about 2000 calories. Not bad for doing nothing, eh? And the heavier you are, the more calories you'll burn; a 15 stone person (210 lbs) doing nothing all day will burn about 3000 calories..!

So obviously, if you consume fewer calories than that in a day, and stick to this every single day, you will lose weight guaranteed.

However, losing weight is the easy part (comparably!). Keeping it off is the real challenge.

To keep it off, you have to adopt a healthy lifestyle; a healthy lifestyle that, of course, involves exercise. I don't need to explain why exercise is important.

As a bare minimum, all you need to do is walk (over and above anything you're already doing).

You don't need to lift heavy weights, you don't .need to join a gym, and you don't need to purchase expensive exercise equipment. Just some comfortable walking shoes will do the job… but use them. And use them REGULARLY

Make it a regular habit to spend an hour or so walking around your neighbourhood or the shops or somewhere else you’d like to walk and do this a minimum of 3 or 4 times a week. Making this a regular habit will set you on the path to creating a healthy lifestyle.

Simply being aware of this fact and taking every opportunity to walk, or at the very least move more, can make quite a dramatic difference to the amount of calories you burn. The trick is to keep a 'keep moving' message in mind.

Think about what opportunities there are for you to burn off calories by moving more; even whilst you’re sat at your desk or watching television…!!

Write the word 'MOVE' on sticky notes and put them in places you'll notice them when you're sitting still. Then, take every opportunity to move - Here are just a few ideas for burning calories:

o Tap your feet

o Swing your legs

o Drum your fingers
 
o Stand up and stretch

o Move your head from side to side

o Change position

o Wriggle and fidget

o Pace up and down

o Don't use the internal phone - go in person

o Use the upstairs loo

o Park in the furthest corner of the car park

o Stand up when you're on the phone

o Clench and release your muscles

You will find lots of opportunities for burning more calories if you remember that you're looking for them! Keep thinking 'keep moving'...!

If you're serious about slimming down and staying slim, you know what you have to do…

Go on then.. keep moving and I'll catch up with you again soon..
 
Tony