With a new year come new expectations and goals. You may have even heard, “new year, new me!” or “now is the time to get my ‘bikini bod’ on for the summer!”. Many people enter the new year with certain expectations which hinder their progress towards achieving their goal. These unrealistic expectations are often accompanied by certain views of what their body should look like and how they should feel about it. Instead, to succeed and reach your goals, change your mindset a bit. Instead of body image being your goal, make the new goal to accept your body and to strive to be the best possible version of yourself while being as healthy as can be.
I know it can be hard to change our mindset just like that to allow ourselves to really accept our body. I know, because I’ve been there. I’ve struggled with self acceptance and I acknowledge that. Once I realized that I lacked self-confidence and self-love, I knew things needed to change. That change began with ME. I knew that there was no one in the world who was exactly like me. Why should I try to be like anyone else?! I was unique, different, and most importantly, I was ME! Just like you reading this, you are YOU. There is no one out there in the world who is a 100% copy of you. Why should you try to be anyone else? There are ~7,477,000,000 people on this earth. No one person is precisely like the next. Every minuscule difference between us is beautiful, something to be celebrated, not hidden! Why are we so keen to change ourselves to more resemble the next person?
You don’t need to lose 20 pounds this year to look more like Candice Swanepoel! She is her own person and you are your own just like I am my own. Everyone has their own beauty which makes them one of a kind. The goal is not to resemble someone else’s body, personality, and life. The goal is to work on our own body to live as happy and as healthy as we can be!
To achieve this new and attainable goal, we can start off with fitness. Choose an exercise or sport which interests you! Boxing, swimming, weights, soccer, baseball, dancing, pilates, basketball, yoga, cycling, just to name a few. When exercising, endorphins and serotonin are released into the bloodstream which makes you feel happier and more awake! This helps us feel our best and perform at our optimum level.
Next up is nutrition. To feel great it is important you fuel your body with the right food to keep it functioning at it’s best. Try to include lots of fruits and vegetables in your daily food intake. Raw fruits and vegetables contain the most nutrients and are the best for your body! Fruits and vegetables have lots of vitamins and fiber packed into them so they help move along everything in the digestive tract. Also make sure you include healthy fats like avocados, nuts, nut butters, etc. I personally love almond butter with a banana! Find something that you enjoy that is good for you! It is also important that you eat lots of whole grains like oatmeal, whole wheat bread, etc. They are a great source of energy and fiber for the body! Protein is also important to refuel our body after workouts and in general for repair of tissues and muscles. Good sources of protein include tofu, kale, nuts and seeds, and lentils. There are loads of recipes online and on pumpup via all of the users who post recipes on the app; it’s super easy to find a recipe tailored to your likes and dislikes!
And the last part, in my opinion – the hardest part: accepting your body. I had a tough time with this one, myself. It is hard to love everything about ourselves. You are your harshest critic and will easily find a flaw within yourself. Let me just tell you this: your body is your home! It is unique and it is the only body / “home” that you will ever get, so why not nourish it and love it unconditionally?! Be happy with the beautiful body that you’ve been blessed with and your confidence will begin to radiate. It will be apparent to everyone around you!
So, just remember, love your body! Be content with all that you have in life, and strive to improve yourself and your mindset everyday! This is a self-help journey, one that will not happen overnight! So each day, continue pursuing your goals . Put the effort in for YOU because you are worth it. Eventually, you’ll see progress and will see how far you’ve come. One day you will reach your goal- you will be truly happy with how far you’ve come and how much you’ve accomplished.
This feature was written by #TeamPumpUp member Emily K! Follow her on the PumpUp app @veganincollege and on Instagram @vegan_in_college!