You Don't Need to be Skinny to be Fit
Beauty standards these days have anyone believing they aren’t good enough, pretty enough, or fit enough. Unfortunately, too many people still associate being physically fit and healthy with being skinny. Being active, healthy, and taking care of your body looks different for everybody, and you don’t need to hit any number on the scale to achieve it!
Exercise for the Health Benefits
The least important benefit of exercise is your appearance— focus on how it improves cardiovascular health and mental wellbeing and helps you reach a healthy weight. This healthy weight will be different for everyone! Exercise reduces stress levels and increases endorphins, putting you in a good mood. It also reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and many other chronic illnesses, such as diabetes.
Focus on Yourself
We all know that comparison is the thief of joy. However, it’s hard to avoid when we’re constantly surrounded by "body goals" on social media and unrealistic beauty standards. Try to remember that most of what you see online isn’t real, and even if it is, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Unfollow people who make you feel bad about yourself and use social media for inspiration rather than comparison.
Set Performance Goals, Not Physical Goals
Rather than focusing on how your body looks, create performance-based goals. Try to run a little faster or longer than last week, lift heavier weights, or do one more set of push-ups. These goals actually help you improve your fitness and track progress without getting caught up with the numbers on a scale. Fitness isn't defined by weight; instead, it's the combination of endurance and strength. Find activities that you enjoy and focus on adopting a holistic fitness approach, strengthening your body rather than shrinking it.
Listen to Your Body
Give your body what it needs to be healthy and happy. Eat foods that give you energy and listen to your body for hunger and satiety cues. If you need to decrease portion sizes to reach a healthy weight, make sure you are still eating enough of all the micronutrients and macronutrients. Speak with a dietitian or physician if you need help understanding nutrition and deciding what and how much your body needs.