The first time I ever thought about losing weight I was 12 years old.
It was in a swimming class, when I realized that I was always paired with the only boy in the class because I was the strongest girl there, not as waif-like as the others. I’ve always been a strong person, and I’ve never been “skinny” like other girls. I was slender, but more athletic when I was 12-14. Then I discovered the internet and the athletic thing wore off, too. ;)
But since then, for years there was something in my New Year’s Resolutions about losing weight. Get more toned. Lose 5 pounds. Stop eating so much chocolate (yeah I never stood a chance on that one).
The last few years, though, have been different. I made a video about this topic a while ago (watch it here!), but somewhere, my focus shifted from fighting against my body to working with it to help it become more healthy.
Right now, everyone’s making resolutions. And I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference in resolutions to lose weight versus resolutions about embracing a healthier lifestyle, and I wanted to write about it. So when I was approached by Fit4Less to talk about healthy lifestyle goals it was a perfect fit!
So here are 7 reasons that I focus more on working out more, and less on losing weight this year.
1. Working out gets you in the habit of being consciously aware of your body
I’ve found that I can get so obsessed with work or just used to sitting around on the couch that after a while I stop noticing if I haven’t been active. And that’s not good. I start having trouble falling asleep, I feel constantly restless, and I start craving junk foods more and more. When I’m not in the habit of working out, falling into these ruts is so much easier. PLUS there’s the added issue of having a harder time understanding what my body is trying to tell me.
Maybe it’s just me, but I find that when I eat healthy foods and am in the habit of going to the gym regularly I can understand my body better. I notice when things are off, and can figure out what it’s trying to tell me I need. After a few weeks (or even days!) of being inactive, though, I find that much more difficult to do.
2. Exercising regularly helps combat apathy
We live in a culture of Netflix and chill. We sit around, spending the majority of our times on the couch in front of a screen. I work from home as a blogger and virtual assistant–I live this. And something that happens all too easily when you’re in the habit of sitting all the time is you start feeling lethargic, and then you start getting lazy.
Working out is the #1 way to combat that laziness in our daily lives. I’m not just talking about the whole getting up off your butt part, either–I’ve found that when I work out, even if only for an hour three times a week, I’m more productive, motivated, and I feel more alive.
3. Exercise gives you opportunities to be proud of your accomplishments
I am a goals junkie. I’m constantly starting new projects, calculating my progress, and straining to reach that next step. What’s so great about working out is that you have your progress right in front of you.
This is one of the main reasons I prefer lifting over any other type of workout–it’s so obvious that you’re getting stronger. You can’t deny progress when you’re using a weight that’s 5 lbs heavier than the one you were using a month ago. Sure, progress may be slow, but it’s definitely there.
One of the biggest hindrances for me in the past when it comes to working out, though, is the prices of gym memberships. Some of them are crazy expensive, people! Especially here in Canada. Which is why Fit4Less is honestly so amazing. All it costs is $44 as a joining fee when you purchase a year-long membership and after that it’s only $4.99 every 2 weeks! That’s like half a Starbucks a week.
And their gyms are great, too–they’ve got a 30-Minute Express Circuit ™which is fantastic if you’re new to the whole gym thing. I worked at a pool gym for 2 years before I even stepped foot in the workout rooms because I was so scared to try the machines, but Fit4Less has made that a much less scary experience by simply explaining what to do, for how long, and what to do next. After using the express training circuits for a few weeks, too, you’re bound to see that goal achievement we’ve been talking about!
Fit4Less has great equipment, free weights, and cardio machines which is really everything you need in a gym. And the affordable price means that achieving your goals this year doesn’t need to break the bank.
4. Being in shape allows you to experience life the way you were created to
We were never created to just sit around and let our muscles atrophy from disuse. If you look at the human body and how it was created, it’s an amazing thing. Did you know that our ancestors would just follow animals at a light jog for hours until the animal collapsed from pure exhaustion?! And we’d just jog up and there’s dinner! We’re able to swim, climb, run, dance, jump–and that’s just the start of what our bodies are able to do.
Challenging yourself physically is a part of being human. We have sports for a reason–it’s fun to see how far your body can go! I’m not saying we all need to be Olympians–but what about just going hiking? What about playing tennis? Those are all much more enjoyable if you’re in the habit of exercising.
5. Exercising regularly helps you gain self-discipline and self-control
We are in a gimme-gimme culture–everything is available and fast. We’re annoyed if our fast food order takes longer than 5 minutes from start to finish. Everyone’s focus is pursuing happiness at any cost. The ideas of self-discipline and self-control have become relatively foreign as we’re becoming more and more entitled.
Whenever self-discipline and self-control are talked about in the church, we usually talk about spiritual disciplines. But I don’t think that the spiritual disciplines are the only way we can foster spiritual fruit in our lives. Struggle with self-control and impulsivity? Making the decision to use exercise to teach yourself discipline is actually a great idea. And, with Fit4Less, it doesn’t have to be expensive at all to work out in a great facility!
6. Losing weight is about outward appearance; exercising deals with the root problem
Whenever we talk about losing weight, it’s often about getting a number down on a scale. And yes, obesity is a problem and being overweight is unhealthy. Completely. But being overweight wasn’t the problem–it was the outcome of a preexisting problem. Such as overeating mixed with a sedentary lifestyle and genetics.
I’ve had so many friends go through the yo-yo dieting phase or have hundreds of “fitspo” images on their walls, and I’ve tried it myself and it is really miserable–mostly because it doesn’t change anything! It’s a Band-Aid on a symptom of an underlying problem.
By focusing more on exercise for health’s sake, and less on simply losing weight by any means necessary, you are creating a much healthier future than the yo-yo dieting and crying over fitspo boards that usually follows New Years.
(Note: I recognize there are multiple reasons for obesity and am not limiting it to this. Just the majority of cases are at least somewhat exacerbated by lifestyle factors that can be remedied by changes to one’s diet and exercise habits.)
7. Losing weight is about copying someone else’s look; exercising is about YOUR look
I’ve really hated how I looked at times, thought I was fat, and all of that. I’ve been there. And a lot of it was because I was comparing myself to my friends, or to celebrities. Whenever I was trying to lose weight it was because I didn’t like my body. It was a fight against myself.
In university I changed my mindset. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but one day I just decided I wasn’t going to be my own enemy anymore and just wanted to be healthy. And if that meant getting bigger, great. If it meant getting smaller, great. Although I’m still not sure what exactly changed my mindset, I attribute a great deal of it to my shift in focus from losing weight to simply becoming a healthier version of myself.
When you work out just for the sake of getting healthier, your body becomes stronger in its own way. Your progress is often less about how you look compared to other people and more about how much stronger you’ve become, how much farther you can run, or how much faster you get through that HIIT circuit. And to me, that’s the difference between resolving to lose weight and resolving to work out more.
What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions this year? Let me know in the comments below!
FTC Disclaimer: this is a sponsored conversation by Fit4Less. All opinions are my own.