A couple of weeks back I posted this message on Facebook:
“I was having a chat to a girl in a store today and after finding out what I did she went into a full conversation (with herself might I add) about how she ‘really should lose weight’ but is ‘too lazy’ to do so, however in saying that ‘she has no desire to lose weight’ but thinks ‘that she really should’…
Wowsers – it must be hard in her head!
So I asked why she thinks she ‘should lose weight’ if she has no desire to do so – her reply ‘because that’s what everyone does right?’
Oh dear – have we as a society gotten so caught up in the body thing that women who have no desire to lose weight actually feel like they should because of societal expectations? WTF – that’s plain sad!!!
There are many other reasons to train other than fat loss or weight management – how about because it makes you feel better, because you get stronger or because you love the feeling of being a bad ass lifting weights!
I told the poor girl to give herself a break – seriously if she has no desire to lose weight then why the hell think about doing something that she clearly doesn’t want to do? All its doing is giving her a head fuck. I told her to pursue the activities she enjoyed and forget about the weight thing.
Honestly if we spent less time worrying about what we ‘should do’ and focused more on the things that we love to do (because we want to) the world would be a happier place (and there would be a LOT less head fucks)”
It generated a lot of buzz within social media-land and what was really astounding was how many women contacted me afterwards thanking me for the post.
I certainly wasn’t expecting to be thanked but here is why I was:
I had unintentionally given women permission to let go of the notion that they ‘have to be thinking about weight loss’ all the time.
Pretty powerful huh.
Just like the girl in the store who thought that ‘she had to lose weight because it’s the done thing’ so too do many women.
There is this horrible societal pressure for women to look a certain way, and with that comes the expectation that a) a woman must be on a weight loss quest (constantly), and b) if any woman is ‘working out’ then it MUST be because she is on a weight loss journey. God forbid any woman decides to work out for any other reasons (yes that was sarcasm at its finest).
Whilst there are many points to my initial FB post (each worthy of their own blog!), I want to focus on the following:
Even though many women are pursuing the capricious ‘weight loss’ goal there are multiple, more worthy reasons to work out.
As an aside when a woman says she wants to lose weight, it isn’t really about the weight loss per se – what she actually wants is to feel different.
Yes you read that right.
Weight loss is less about the numbers on the scale and ALL about how the weight loss will make an individual feel.
Of course this ‘feeling’ is different for each woman but some of the feelings or emotions that come to mind are ‘confident, sexy, worthy, visible, strong, beautiful, powerful, in control, loving etc…
That is what women are chasing when they embark on a weight loss journey –how achieving their dream goal will make them feel.
Can these feeling ONLY be achieved through weight loss? Hell no!
Can these feelings be cultivated through other means? Fark Yes!
But I digress…..
Exercise for women, especially as we age (ahem I say this as I nudge the 40’s), is vital for our overall health, function and wellbeing therefore is something that needs to be added into the daily routine – particularly if living a full and energetic life is something that rocks your boat (and I hope it is!).
Lifting weights; picking heavy shit up and then moving it around, running, walking, moving in different directions, yoga, dance and play are all great examples of types of exercises that add lean muscle, improve muscular strength and endurance and increase cardiovascular fitness.
The most important benefit of performing these activities is that it MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD!
And here’s the kicker – when the focus is on performance (eg learning how to squat with a Barbell or beating your previous run time), and feelings (for example how awesome you feel post workout, the confidence you gain as you improve, the pride in achieving little ‘wins’ everyday) the by-product is a change in BODY SHAPE.
When working out is conducted with a joyful mindset or a mindset that strengthens positive intrinsic motivators then it is easier to stick with the program – which, unsurprisingly, leads to physical changes (seriously who wants to ‘work out’ when it feels like an absolute punish or chore to get done? Not me!)
I could turn this blogpost into a thesis, but for the sake of both of us I will love and leave you with this:
It is completely OK, not to focus on weight loss – workout because you love how it makes you feel and how it adds overall value to your life. Drop the ‘should’s’ and ‘have to’s’ and focus your energy doing the things that you enjoy.
It is completely OK to miss a workout here and there or to try something different.
And lastly; it is 100% OK to love your body the way it is (actually it’s not Ok – it’s AMAZING to love your body the way it is!)
You can embed an email signup form here by pasting the code for one in the blank "embed" box below.
You're all signed up! Keep your eyes on your inbox for your guide.