Setting Intentions For A Healthy Fitness Journey
By Alicia Putinski
When the calendar year shifts, many aspire to set New Year's resolutions, and one of the most prominent is weight loss.
I've been a personal trainer for 4 years and I battled orthorexia in my early days of personal training. Orthorexia is common amongst athletes, avid gym goers, personal trainers and health coaches. My own experience inspired me to become a life coach to help others overcome negative body image and make a positive difference in this industry.
You may be wondering what orthorexia is. 'Orthos' is a Greek word meaning straight/right/correct. Orthorexia is an unhealthy obsession with dieting and exercise, and this form of disordered eating is on the rise.
The diet industry is worth billions of dollars and it thrives on targeting emotions such as guilt and shame, and many are driven to become fitter from a place of fear. Often the bodies that are displayed in fitness advertising are bodybuilders at their peak posing strategically with full body makeup and professional lighting. Meaning, the models don't even look like the images in the advertising.
In my own experience with orthorexia and exercise obsession, in addition to working with others, I have examined the depths of the mindset many adopt in fitness. It is often coming from a place of making appearance the primary focus.
Many of my life coaching clients are athletes and avid gym goers. I love discussing fitness outside of body composition with them in the process of overcoming disordered eating and negative body image.
Let's look at some solid intentions and perceptions to adopt for a healthy fitness journey:
- Choose forms of exercise you enjoy. Doing activities that we like enhances our lives and allow us to see exercise as an opportunity rather than an obligation. Perhaps you enjoy team sports and joining a league would be right up your alley. If you love to dance, sign up for a class and have fun! If being outdoors is where you feel happiest, there are so many empowering outdoor activities to choose from.
Develop an exercise frequency that will suit your recovery and lifestyle long term. If you take a look at your schedule and feel that you can consistently dedicate 2 times per week to exercise, that's great! If you can manage 4 consistently, go for it. Also, it's always ok to start with less and build your way up to more as you feel you can manage. During my recovery, I took extended breaks from the gym if I felt it was best for my mental and physical health.
- Prioritize moving well. The building blocks of fitness lay in functional movement. Mobility, motor control, posture and correcting imbalances in the body are elements I focus on with personal training clients in addition to resistance training. Gait is the most functional movement of all! I encourage walking and hiking, and getting in touch with nature.
- Consider fitness benefits outside of appearance: heart health, mobility/flexibility, balance, agility, strength, improved posture, endurance, coordination. These elements are not only an important part our health, it's also so fascinating to see what the human body is capable of.
- Look at what you can gain interpersonally though a sustainable and healthy fitness program. Some of my favourites include: consistency, dedication, joyful discipline, patience, acceptance, and accomplishment. What interpersonal qualities do you value that you could enhance in your health and fitness routine?
- Approach nourishment from a place of love. Eating enough to fuel your work outs and recovery is very important. I have adopted the philosophy of eating mostly nutritious foods to take care of my physical health needs, while incorporating treats in moderation to maintain balance. I know from personal experience that it is far healthier to eat some treats in the mix than it is to live with the stress of rigid diet rules.
Health and fitness begins with our thoughts, feelings and emotions. Our physiques will not take us as far as our characters. I always tell my body confidence coaching clients that our bodies are our homes. Be kind to your home.
Alicia Putinski is the founder of Weightless Body Confidence Coaching. Alicia helps others rise above adversity in a number of ways, and she specializes in orthorexia. She is a natural athlete who advocates functional movement, eating for performance and incorporating all food in healthy moderation. To learn more about Alicia and her work visit www.youareweightless.com