Whether for weddings or holidays, improved health or simple vanity, most of us have tried to lose weight at one point or another in our lives. And with spring springing early this year, bathing suits and vacations will have many more of us thinking those shrinking thoughts once again.
Before you start counting calories and scheduling Pilates classes, pay some attention to the language you use to describe your fitness goals. Language is powerful and can make or break your plan. I suggest that all my fitness coaching clients avoid these three words completely.
1. Weight: It may seem odd, but the first word to avoid is the word weight itself. The only practical meaning that this word has is “the amount of force it takes for gravity to hold you on the planet.” That’s it, folks. Yet we put so much stock in this word. The success or failure of our fitness plan depends on moving that number on the scale in the right direction. Don’t obsess on an essentially meaningless number. Focus on some more practical success indicators. Are your clothes fitting better? Do you have more energy? Is your body taking on a shape that you like? While you’re at it, just toss the scale in the trash!
2. Diet: Diets are those restrictive, temporary ways of eating that rarely work long term. Eating plans are long term healthy ways of providing your body with the nutrition it needs to heal and grow. Which would you rather follow? 🙂
3. Tone: Having muscle tone is not a bad thing. However, many women associate the strength training with the bulky He-Man figures you see in bodybuilding magazines. Tone is a word many of my clients have used to mean “timid, easy strength training that will put me in no danger of building actual muscle.”
I promise you that, short of you having a severe hormonal imbalance or working out like an Olympic athlete, you will simply not “bulk up.” The female body is designed to preserve a higher percentage of fat than the male body. Further, it takes more calories to support a pound of muscle than a pound of fat. So your body will burn more calories even at rest if you have a greater percentage of lean muscle tissue. Muscle is your friend in fitness!
Dr. Janice Staab is a life coach and philosophical counselor who helps clients navigate change and transition in life. Learn more about her practice at www.lifesignscoaching.com.