This is a tricky time of year in fitness.
It's kind of the best time, because suddenly everyone is very interested in what "fitness people" like me are up to.
Many people are making a new start, figuring out what they need to do to be healthier in the coming year.
Also Aldi and Lidl have what I like to call "Personal Trainer Christmas" where they suddenly have a tonne of low priced fitness equipment on the shelves. That's my favourite (do I really need another foam roller? Sure I do!).
But it all comes from a very harsh place.
For the last couple of months we have been bombarded with advertising telling us we need to buy and eat more rich food. Conform to the cultural norm of well, conforming to the sofa and none of it in moderation.
Now, the tables turn. What? You actually DID the eating and the movie-watching and you ACTUALLY overindulged? But now your body is unacceptable!
Of course all year around we are subjected to the message that our bodies are wrong. We should be smaller, and taller (but not too tall if you are a woman), and willowy and hairless and if we aren't then we need to feel bad about that and fix it before anyone sees. In the New Year, that suddenly intensifies.
So while I love to see a spotlight on fitness, moving more, eating better etc, it makes me sad to see that for the most part, this comes from a place of shame, not support.
So lets do this thing differently
I'm done with being smaller. I'm done with deprivation. I'm done with punishing myself for eating, or working out so that I "deserve" to eat.
I'm calling BS on the lot of it.
Because I refuse to engage in the frankly abusive narrative of diet culture. And no, I don't use that term lightly, what would we call a person who persistently....
- Told us we weren't good enough
- Told us we didn't deserve to eat what we choose
- Told us we didn't get to wear what we choose
- Insisted we did things we hated
- Called our bodies by derisive names
- Isolated us from our friends and family
There's a rising movement in fitness lately, about focusing on being MORE. Taking up more space, being better without being lesser. But most of all, being compassionate with ourselves.
And this is how I work when goal-setting with my coaching clients. It goes like this.
Instead of eating "less carbs", we aim to eat "more colourful vegetables".
Instead of "losing fat", we aim to add in 30 minutes walking a day.
Instead of reducing the number on the scale, we try to increase the number on the barbell.
Now is the best time
This year Meg Gallagher was appointed the Bodybuilding.com spokesmodel of the year. For the first time, this title was given to a woman who is not figure-competitor lean, but who trains for strength (she's a powerlifter, and she took this title during a bulking phase).
Meg is one of the voices right now telling us to "Be more, not less", Here's what she had to say about it...
Girls Gone Strong continue to promote the idea that women should be able to choose fitness goals that are not based on aesthetics - check out this recent piece on fat loss... and lets rewatch this clip from Erin...
Set yourself some positive resolutions
Last week I wrote about setting resolutions you can stick out. Now lets make them great resolutions. Lets make them process orientated, not goal orientated. Let's make them about us, not what other people might think about us. And let's make them about being more, bigger and better.
Some ideas for your resolutions - I might have stolen some of these from my last year's shenanigans...
Try out a new fun fitness class and stick with it for at least 6 weeks. Try another if that isn't your best fit.
Try mindfulness meditation every day for a couple of weeks (try the Headspace 10 day trial)
Find a new vegetable and a way to eat it that I actually enjoy.
Make myself a tasty packed lunch for every work day.
Explore more of my area by taking a different walk route every weekend.
Strength train 3 days a week.
Make new friends who share my positive goals and outlook
Try a new, healthy recipe once a week.
Try a strongman class. Seriously, it's hilarious fun.
Go to bed on time every night.
What are you going to try?
Still stuck for answers, or just want a little boost?
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If you want to make a strong commitment to improving your health, learning how to eat well and understanding your body - I still have some space for lovely coaching clients on Lotus Bloom.
I help awesome people like you break out of the shame orientated diet-rebound culture and get in tune with what their bodies need to be genuinely healthy, and lean, for life.