“The tools we’ve been given are terrible and do not work,” Balance 365, Ep. 218: 3 Ways Smart Women Lose Weight

So, first things first–I know that a lot of folks are looking for fat loss, and I’m a big believer in bodily autonomy–we all get to decide what is right for us and our bodies and our lives. AND I wish they’d titled this one something like “3 Ways Smart Women Adopt Healthy Habits,” or similar, because what they’re REALLY talking about is how people develop sustainable, healthy habits and get away from the on-again-off-again rollercoaster pattern of self-care. This is true for diet, exercise, consistent sleep, whatever. If this is how you approach your lifting, your healthy eating, your me-time, or anything else related to reaching sustainable goals you maintain more-or-less on autopilot, there’s some great stuff in here to help you out.

Jen and Annie give several pieces of advice. The first is to be strategic rather than chaotic and driven by emotional triggers or jumping on bandwagon. This includes focusing on responding rather than reacting and coming from a place of self-compassion and self-awareness. The second piece of advice is to practice being insightful rather than reacting and blaming themselves. This means when things don’t go the way we want to, rather than “buckling down” or “trying harder,” we learn to see the patterns in a more objective manner and learn to troubleshoot rather than to just assume it’s our own fault. Jen also connects this with moving away from being obsessed with thinness and instead focused upon true health. Finally, they say that “smart women” pursue weight loss (or I would say any health change) from a place of reconnecting with themselves rather than disconnecting from themselves. This final point is something I argue in favor of my experience with bodybuilding–for me, it has become a tool for self-expression and self-exploration, not something to alienate myself from myself.

The goal is to live a truly healthful life, not just a smaller one. A healthy life, fully healthy in all the ways–social, emotional, spiritual and physical–is a values-based life that is responsive rather than reactive and brings us closer to our authentic selves, not further away from them. Unfortunately, lots of folks have been sold the message that the only way to be smaller, or fitter, more successful or whatever, is to deny themselves. We’re sold the message that the problem is defined by shame and self-blame and the solution is defined by punishment and denial of ourselves and our desires. Not only is this message mean and unpleasant, it’s wrong and ineffective. Habits that stick are habits built upon our values and meet our needs. It can be a life’s work to distinguish what we really want for ourselves and what we’re doing out of a sense of obligation, habit, or lack of self-awareness, but I think it’s work worth doing. A truly healthy life is an authentic and fulfilling one, and I love that Jen and Annie are able to connect this with their message.

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