How do you look to you?

How do you look to you?

Getting your attitude in shape, so you can get in shape

Public opinion about the human body, especially the female human body, can be brutal. All we see in magazines, movies and on TV is women with supposedly perfect bodies. While it’s fun to look at these lean, tan bodies with completely smooth faces and not a hair out of place, that image of perfection can make you incredibly critical about yourself.

It’s great to want to improve yourself, to get healthier and stronger. But you’re going to sabotage your fitness before you even get started if this comes from a critical feeling. When you look in the mirror, do you see yourself whole? Or do you dissect your person into parts – your butt, your arms – and feel a disgust? Do you see features of yourself that you really like? Or are you obsessed with what you don’t like?

When you’re trying to get in shape, it’s so important to make changes because of inspiration, because you really like yourself, rather than negative self image. I’ve trained hundreds of people, and I can tell you from experience, that it’s extremely hard to get to a new place in your life with a critical attitude that suppresses inspiration.

This destructive criticism is one of the first things I have to work through with my clients. Because when clients are negative about themselves, it’s very hard for them to realize that they can actually design the body they want to have. Their critical attitude separates them from their own bodies and is very de-energizing. And even when they start making changes, they can’t see the changes, because they are so busy seeing what isn’t happening. This kills any momentum they could be creating.

The key is, don’t focus on trying to look like someone else; focus on feeling who you are and how excited you are about your body.

Public opinion about how your body should look isn’t just in the media, it may even be in the gym where you go to work out. If you’re intimidated and uncomfortable when you walk into a gym, don’t waste your money on a membership. You won’t use it. You need an environment you’re excited to come to. Which exercises you do or don’t do hardly matter compared to feeling comfortable with the people you work out with. Because it’s that comfort level that leads to consistency, and that’s what being in shape is all about.

When you really make the lifestyle change into being consistent about your fitness, you know you’re free from public opinion. That’s when exercising isn’t just about getting to look “a certain way”, it’s about how you want to feel every single day. When you get to that point, you know you’re going to get results, because you are no longer trying to live some image that is outside of yourself. You’re motivated from the inside out, and it shows, in the mirror and everywhere else. That’s also the key to being able to work out forever. When you really feel yourself, you never have to experience burnout, because you’re no longer a slave to the mirror, and you’re in touch with what your body really needs.

Five Steps to Tone Up Your Self Image

1 Look in the mirror. Stop any negative thoughts that might come up, and replace them with thoughts of the changes that are to come.
2 Give significance to who you are and how you actually feel, not just the image in the mirror.
3 Practice liking something about your body every day, even if you just start with your eyebrows.
4 Be inspired by others, but without making yourself lesser by comparison.
5 Move your body at least 15 minutes every day.

Ilana Arzt, is the founder of Enerjoy Fitness. She holds a BA in physical education, and certification in weight training and fitness instruction, physical fitness in combat, aerobics and gymnastics. A former National Aerobics Champion of Israel, she has also won the NABA Ms. Figure National Championship, among numerous other events in her 15 years of competing. Find Ilana at Enerjoy Fitness. Find out more about living unlimited at People Unlimited.

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