6 Ways To Work With Your Body Instead Of Against It When You're Exercising
In today's world, it can pretty f*cking hard to develop an unconditional love and appreciation for your body. TBT to Tina Fey's Golden Globe speech when she said, "If you ever start to feel too good about yourself, they have this thing called the internet." (Preach, sister.) But, at the same time, working against your natural body is exhausting as hell, and more importantly, it's not fair to you. It's beyond important to remind yourself why weight doesn't matter for a long-term healthy lifestyle, and encourage yourself to work with and celebrate the beautiful body you were given by finding ways to move that genuinely make you feel as empowered and amazing as possible.
Huffington Post recently reported that, when it comes to healthy living, people tend to focus mainly on their weight, and moreover, many choose an arbitrary number on the scale to represent the goal they're working toward. But it's almost always a given that that number doesn't actually represent a body that is thriving at its absolute happiest and healthiest.
Plus, it's just unhealthy for your overall well-being to solely focus so much on your weight anyway. Incorporating fitness into your routine as a lifestyle change, rather than as a means to achieve an unrealistic, arbitrary standard, will allow you to feel the improvements for yourself, sans the scale.
If you shift your perspective just a little, you'll realize that your "ideal" body is actually the one that allows you to live in the moment, to fully engage in life, to feel good about movement — aka the body you have right at this very moment.
All in all, working with your body will always prove to be more rewarding than working against it. So, here are five ways you can use exercise to celebrate the body you were given.
1. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
You know that saying, "Comparison is the thief of joy?" Yes, it's a bit of a cliche, but it's also totally on-point.
There's only one you in this world, and comparing yourself to others is pretty much guaranteed to make you feel like sh*t. Plus, according to Psychology Today, what other people define as "perfection" is, more often than not, just an illusion — especially when it comes to social media and the mere sliver of people's lives that it shows.
TBH, it's much more rewarding in the long run to be uniquely you. Remember, your body is strong and capable as hell, and quite honestly, pretty f*cking perfect the way it is.
2. Ditch The Scale
If there's anything I want you to do immediately after reading this article, it's to literally throw your scale in the trash.
So many body-positive bloggers, such as Kelsey Wells, are using the hashtag #ScrewTheScale to encourage people everywhere to stop equating weight with self-worth or progress.
At the end of the day, a healthy lifestyle is, above all, about how good you feel.
3. Create A List Of Exercises That Make You Feel Totally Badass
Only you know what workouts make you feel like a million bucks, so listen to your body and nourish it with the movement it craves. After all, there's really no point in wasting your time on any exercise that you dread doing.
Fitness blogger Winnie Liong emphasizes the importance of not making workouts feel like a chore in any way. She tells Elite Daily,
Shift your focus to how you feel when you exercise.
Exercise should be enjoyment and something you look forward to — never a way to punish yourself. Exercising is a way to understand your body more and to challenge your strength.
Overall, it’s a way to work with your body to be the healthiest version of yourself.
4. Make Another List, But This Time, Include Reasons Why You Love Your Body
In case you haven't noticed, you are literally a queen just the way you are, and your badass body deserves to be treated like the highest of royalty.
Wellness expert and yoga teacher Sophie Jaffe tells Elite Daily how she channels that self-love into her workouts:
I use exercise to move my body and release tensions and stress, not create more stress by punishing my body.
Movement is a time for me to let go, breathe, and connect to my truest nature, not try and be something I'm not or focus on negativities.
Jaffe explains, for her, moving her body each day means staying connected to her heart and what feels authentic to the moment and the emotions she's feeling that day — which means never overdoing it or excessively pushing herself past her limits:
Trusting that movement is an expression of my truth and essence means meeting myself exactly where I am in that moment.
5. Destroy The Mindset That You Can Only Enjoy Your Body Once You Reach Your Fitness Goals
It can be pretty easy to fall into the mindset that exercise is purely cosmetic and simply a way to work on your physical self. But there are literally countless studies out there that show how beneficial working out is for the mind.
For example, lifestyle blogger Rachel Mansfield tells Elite Daily how she loves to bask in the endorphins and positive vibes that exercise provides her with:
I attend workout classes more-so for the mental state I am in when I leave, than the physical part.
It clears my head and really allows me to do my best and clearest thinking.
#BrainGains is totally a thing. Who's with me?
6. Stop Thinking That You Aren't In The Body You're "Supposed" To Have
At the end of the day, your body is the best shelter and home that you'll ever have, so learning to work with it in and out of the gym will allow you to feel like the absolute best version of yourself. Remember that feeling good physically won't mean much in the long-run if you still feel like sh*t mentally.
Whether you love lifting weights, slaying a kickass yoga flow, or simply going for an amazing, mind-clearing walk, exercise of any kind is meant to make you glow and grow, period.