Kick off New Year’s fitness goals for yourself and clients with a healthy body image in mind. Many people set new years goals like, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds, I’m going to get six pack abs, I’m going to fit into a Size 2 etc.”
While setting goals that lead to better physical health aren’t necessarily bad, they can be detrimental to mental health and body image if there isn’t a balance.
Integrate some of these intentions into incoming new year resolutions to cultivate balance.
Clean Up Your Social Media Feed
Social Media is full of edited photos of women in bikinis, shirtless men, side-by-side before and after photos of unrealistic and likely unhealthy weight loss stories, celebrities claiming they lost drastic amounts of weight thanks to a detox tea, and so on.
Scrolling past these posts multiple times per day is sending silent messages that encourage unhealthy body comparisons, body shame, and unhealthy dieting practices. Start the year by unfollowing any individual or brand that encourages negative body image or makes you feel bad about your body.
Practice a Gratitude Meditation for Your Body
In order to combat any negative self-talk, incorporate a daily gratitude practice. Gratitude is a great way to start having compassion toward your body and to stop comparing yourself to others.
Gratitude practices could include:
Gratitude Meditation – Find a quiet place where you can sit in a relaxed posture. Take deep breaths and focus your attention to your immediate environment, then people in life you who are close to, then yourself, then the gift of life. After focusing on each thing individually, state aloud or in your mind, “For this, I am grateful.
Gratitude Journaling – Each day record 5-10 things that you are grateful for. If you happen to be struggling with negative body image, try to focus specifically on parts of your body that you can be grateful for. Try to be specific and work on a “because” statement.
Find a Workout That You Love
Exercise can be a great way to start experiencing body positivity, especially if a person is performing exercises that you love and make you feel confident. Running on the treadmill for 60 minutes every single day doesn’t make every person feel confident and good about their body.
Perhaps in trying Yoga, Barre, Olympic Weight Lifting, calisthenics, or even dancing a client might find greater confidence and appreciation for what the body can do.
Practice Mindful Eating
Just like you can learn to appreciate your body through gratitude, you can learn to enjoy and appreciate your food through mindful eating.
Try adding this practice to mealtime:
- Think about the amazing places your food comes from
- Engage all five senses while eating to notice what you taste, feel, hear, smell, and see
- Serve your food in modest portions
- Take small bites and savor the taste
- Eat slowly and notice the signals your body gives when it is full
- Don’t skip meals but notice the hunger signals your body gives
Get yourself and clients off to a fresh start this year by looking past the usual new years’ resolutions that surface every January. Looking at fitness through a body image lens makes goals more meaningful for everyone involved.