The narrative around women in health and fitness is one of loss. Everything in the health and fitness sphere is presented to us as, you need to be less, have less, take up less space. Women are fed the idea (pardon the pun) that they take up too much space and that health and fitness is a tool reduce the space they do take up.
This creates the idea that health and fitness is to look a certain way. This is not the case. It forces the conversation to being one of aesthetics, when in reality, that is not true and it’s important that we move the conversation away from that.
Health isn’t defined by just the way you look. It’s much deeper than that. It’s the way you move, the way you sleep, the way you connect with others, and the way you eat. For me, these are the fundamentals of health.
All of these are interconnected. Having very good movement habits is a fantastic start. However, if this isn’t met with sufficient nutrition, adequate sleep, and overall positive connection with others and yourself, your movement will start to suffer. In terms of meeting goals, it’s much harder to achieve them if you’re only supporting them in 25% of what you do.
Taking a health focused approach to achieving your goals is actually more of a realistic task. Having weight based goals or aesthetic based goals is not necessarily a bad thing. They should just be secondary to your health goals. So how do you set this up?
When you first set yourself a goal, think long term. Look into the future and ask, ‘if I achieve this goal, what will my life look like?’. For me this looked like ‘if I achieve my goal of lowering my body weight (I was 13 stone at the time), what will my life look like?’.
In my case, this was:
· I am taking better care of my body
· I am able to walk up the stairs without getting out of breath
· I am able to challenge my body to do new things to what it currently does right now
· I have a solid exercise routine.
· I am feeding my body the foods it needs to feel nourished.
· I am more confident in my body and my habits.
When I realised this, I figured my weight loss goal was actually secondary to what I wanted. What I wanted was a better quality of life. I wanted more movement, better nutrition, an improved connection with myself and others, and a consistent routine. I wanted my health. These are the things that I would gain.
So for me, health was the goal. Weight loss was something that would happen on my way to achieving that goal.
In changing the conversation from one of loss to one of gain, I realised that my health was more than the way my body looked. I wasn’t choosing to be less, I was choosing to be more. Something that felt alien in a world where that had never been presented as an option to me before.
When you take the long-term perspective and look into the future you can use this to decide your plan of action. When you’ve achieved your goal, what do you do every day? What is your routine like? What do you eat? How many times a week do you exercise? How do you see yourself? What are non-negotiable parts of your life? Is this someone you’re proud to be?
Once you’ve figure it out you need to work backwards, how do you start implementing changes so that those things are possible? For the odd person, going from 0 to 100 and changing your life overnight may be possible and it sticks around for the long term. For most people, this is going to take a while. And that’s alright.
It’s important here to track your changes. So that you can look back in a year’s time and say, what does my life look like now? How has that changed over the year? Small changes in the every day make big differences in the future. Their effects compound. But sometimes, it’s hard to see when you’re in it.
When you make changes that are not focused on you losing something it can actually help you to achieve your goals. Everyone wants to add things to their life, the idea of losing things is not something we want to do.
When you focus on making changes that will last and make your life better in the long term, they will actually stick. Any changes you make need to be there for the long run.
Unfortunately, quick fixes don’t get long term results. They’re not sustainable in the long run.
Changing the narrative from one of losing, to one of health, is something that I am implementing into my business and social media (@hollymillsfitness on Instagram).
When women think about who they want to be, being less of themselves for the sake of taking up less space is often their goal. It’s important that we work together and change this narrative in the long run. We need to start asking ourselves, how can we be more?