Looking and feeling your best is a journey that should be embraced – embrace all your ups and downs along the way, all your lessons learned and successes, all your personal records and rest days, and all those cheat meals that make you happy.
For most people who decide to work on their fitness, every day is a challenge. Every day, we challenge ourselves to be a little bit better than we were yesterday, and I think that’s a beautiful thing!
However, there are two sides to every coin. As we become more aware of our bodies and the way we look and feel, we tend to get more critical of ourselves. The better we get and the more time we spend in the gym, the more insecure we get. We start to lose sight of what our bodies actually look like.
As we spend more time surrounded by mirrors and other people who are hyper-focused on their bodies, we start to focus on the things we do not like – the things we hope to change with diet and exercise. Most humans are dispositioned to think that they aren’t good enough, so they focus on things they hate.
We continue to push ourselves in the gym because, oftentimes, we reach that goal, see what it actually looks like, and then say, “It’s not good enough. I want to be better.”
While it’s good to want to continuously improve, it’s dangerous to think that perfection is always right around the corner.
Ryan Read’s Mental Health Tips
You can work to resist body dysmorphia and a negative body image by strengthening your mental health. Exercise your mind as much as you exercise your body to become more resilient inside and out.
- Repeat affirmations in between sets. Before and after each set, remind yourself that you are KILLIN’ IT in the gym! You’re strong. You’re capable. You’re thankful for your incredible body. You’re good enough exactly as you are.
- Reevaluate your stance on “cheat meals.” Here at Thrive Specialized Training, there is no such thing as a cheat meal! There are high-calorie meals. Viewing your food as what it is (fuel for your body) and taking away the emotion attached to it will help you have a healthier relationship with what you eat.
- Utilize rest days and weeks. That “no days off” mentality is dangerous! Our bodies NEED rest days – rest weeks, sometimes! Take advantage of this time off and practice self-care in ways that are relaxing and restorative. Schedule a deep tissue massage. Map out a new meal plan. Deep-clean your apartment. Whatever feels good to you – you deserve it!