5 Body Image Lessons from Fitness Experts

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Fitness experts see a variety of body image issues in their classes and gyms every day. They have important lessons about how people perceive their own bodies and the bodies of others.

The way you view your body is important for overall health and fitness.

Use these strategies to develop a positive body image and gain the advantage of stronger mental and physical health:

1. Understand why body image matters.

How do you feel after you look in the mirror? Do you love your body, or are you constantly searching for new flaws?

  • It’s easy to become preoccupied with external appearances. Do you see every flaw and feel imperfect? Do you worry about how others perceive you? Your mind forms your opinions of body images.

  • Body image issues are tied to self-esteem and confidence. They’re also part of overall emotional health, so unhealthy opinions can have a strong negative impact on your life.

2. Challenge stereotypes.

Fitness experts see a huge variety of body shapes and sizes. The human body is not restricted to a specific mold. Everyone isn’t the same height or weight. Accepting this variety will help you to challenge stereotypes related to body image.

  • It’s important to understand that one body type isn’t the correct way to exist. There is no ideal weight, height, or shape on the planet. The universe has created a variety of shapes and sizes for a reason. Diversity makes things more fun and avoids boredom.

  • It’s also crucial to understand that exercise doesn’t produce the same results in each person. One person may lose weight faster, and another may gain muscle slower.

  • The stereotype of a stick-thin model or muscular man has to change. Fitness experts recommend avoiding these stereotypes and focusing on your own body. What do you think is your ideal shape?
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3. Find positive role models.

A good role model can help guide you to better health.

  • Your fitness instructor could make a good role model, but there are also other options. Do you watch in awe as 90-year old women exercise in the park? Do you admire your disabled neighbor for still finding a way to stay in shape?

  • Positive role models don’t have to come out of magazines, television shows, or gyms. They can be normal people who stay in shape and love their bodies. They don’t have to be triathletes to inspire you.

  • A positive role model can help you to see how a good body image can help make life better.

4. Focus on healthy eating.

A negative body image can lead to eating disorders and other concerns. Fitness experts report seeing these issues often in their classes.

  • Obsessive calorie counting and worrying can be a serious issue. In addition, they see punishments for messing up a diet or eating something sweet. All of these issues are linked to a poor body image.

  • With healthy eating, flexibility is at the heart of the meal plans.

  • Experts recommend consulting dieticians and nutritionists to work on eating disorders.

  • It’s important to allow yourself to have cheat days or cheat foods, so your body isn’t constantly craving certain foods. Eating these items in moderation can help you stick to a healthy diet.

5. Avoid judging others.

The judgment you pass on others often transfers to yourself.

  • Instead of criticizing others, focus on positive aspects of their body. This will help you see positive points in your own body image.

A positive body image is essential to overall health. If your body image is suffering, then consider these tips from the fitness experts.

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, 5 Body Image Lessons from Fitness Experts, Dr. Nicolle

 

I really wanted to talk about this topic today because the overweight and obesity epidemic is at an all-time high! We are a fat society and it’s killing us prematurely. Not only do I truly believe that you have the power to lose weight to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of obesity so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.

 

I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you lose weight, and maybe reverse some of your chronic diseases. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.

 

Weight Monitoring

Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices).

 

Physical Activity

Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.

 

I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.

 

Yoga

Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.

 

Resistance Training

Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Check out some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.

 

Another alternative for dumbbells/free weights are resistance bands. They are great for physical therapy, yoga, strength training, and excellent for traveling.

 

Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, and reducing stress are the best ways to maintain a healthy weight. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

 

Stay healthy,

 

Dr. Nicolle

 

PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.

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