As the season changed into a much hotter weather, most of our summer clothes got into our sights again. Plus, we can see more and more “gym bros” on social media pushing motivating content about achieving a bikini body. For many people, the change that their body has undergone over the past year is becoming more and more noticeable. Many complain of losing their strength, while others complain about the extra kilos.
The pandemic has turned most people’s lives upside down in the past year and among many others this has affected our emotions, eating habits and physical activity too. So it should come as no surprise that because of the mental storms we’ve been through and lifestyle changes that have happened, our bodies and weights have also changed.
We already know from studies that it is not our body weight that determines our overall health. It’s possible that our weight is the result of our daily habits, but if I would only encourage you to focus on your weight, your health status would not necessarily improve.
With this writing, I would like to help you change your perspective about the change that happened in your body as well as about your weight. Self-care and health promoting behaviors don’t always have to be about your weight. You don’t have to revolve everything around the number that the scale shows. Rather think about your overall well-being and long-term health, what’s that you really enjoy and what feels good for your body.
Several studies report that dieting is not really successful in the long run and that in 95% of cases, people regain the lost weight within 1-2 years. In addition to weight fluctuations, there are a number of other negative consequences that, although society has so far considered “normal,” there is growing evidence of their negative impact on our mental health. These include preoccupation and obsessive thought around food and eating, poorer concentration due to this, a negative body image, or binge eating as a result of restriction.
Here are some tips that can help you take the focus off your weight and focus on long-term health instead.
- The first and perhaps the most difficult one - for those whom this is part of the daily routine - is not to step on the scales every day. You don’t have to know how many kilos you weigh in order to know that you’re looking after yourself. Plus, you can incorporate health-promoting habits into your daily routine without knowing what that number is on the scale.
- ocus on what you could add to your diet instead of looking at what else to ban yourself from. This type of restriction on your diet can be mentally stressful and can cause various problems such as binge eating or post-meal guilt.
- Feel free to buy new clothes if the old ones no longer fit. It can be very frustrating to face this, but it can also be incredibly liberating to buy a new outfit of a different size that you can wear confidently.
- Choose a form of exercise that you actually enjoy. In today’s culture, it’s easy to fall into the mistake of seeing exercise as a calorie-burning machine. There are countless beneficial effects on our body, whether we think of its effects on the cardiovascular system, mental health, or cognitive functions.
You can read even more tips in this article on what other lifestyle changes you can make instead of focusing on body weight in order to improve your long-term health.