A lean, fit physique and a healthy body may sound as if they are one and the same. But this might be far from the truth, at least from your body’s perspective. I am going to speak in terms of:
1. You – as in your brain, your perspective
2. Your Body – as if it were a completely separate entity from you (I know, it really does feel that way at times 😁)
Attaining a fit physique (your ideals) without sacrificing your health (your body’s ideals) can be a tricky feat. And one of the biggest factors in your struggle to achieve your goals could be that your body just doesn’t want to “go there” because it’s not a comfortable or healthy place to be.
You may want to have a super low body fat percentage, rippling lean muscles and look amazing in every outfit you own (or look amazing wearing nothing at all,😉).
Your body on the other hand, could care less how it looks (it has no concept of body image, clothes sizes or numbers on a scale). The only thing your body cares about is maintaining a healthy balance (homeostasis) for the purpose of survival. Thank goodness for that, right? You may not think so, and be frustrated that your body stubbornly won’t let go of fat pockets in certain areas, but maintaining a healthy body fat percentage helps keep all of your biological processes functioning properly, such as hormone and metabolic balance and regulating body temperature.
THE PROBLEM WITH THE “IDEAL PHYSIQUE”
If you look back in history, or even look at other cultures today, the “ideal body type” varies greatly. In the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, an hour glass figure was sought after. Then in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, a thin physique was “in style” because of icons like Twiggy, Cher, and Kate Moss. Now, curves (bigger, rounder glutes) and toned muscles are attractive. As ideal physiques go in and out of style, your body only knows its state of health. And it will fight your ideal physique if it goes against your body’s ideal state of health. For example, let’s say you have a goal of losing 20 pounds. Through healthy nutrition, resistance training and cardio, you gain muscle and lose fat. You tone and tighten and feel good about how you look. But when you step on the scale, you see you’ve only lost 10 pounds of total weight. You fit great in all your clothes, you’ve gained lean muscle and you’ve never felt better, but you can’t seem to lose those last 10. So you decrease your calories and increase your cardio for three months. At the end of three months, you feel fatigued, exhausted, depleted and stressed. You step on the scale and have lost five pounds. You end up frustrated because you didn’t meet your goal. 😠
MORAL OF THE STORY
1. Try to work WITH your body, not against it. All your body knows is that it wants to be healthy, and it will do anything it possibly can in the face of a threat (caloric deficit, overtraining, lack of sleep, fatigue, metabolic damage, etc.) to try and maintain health and homeostasis.
2. Learn your body’s happy place. Learn what a comfortable weight is for you, and know that this may not be the ideal number you’ve been latching onto for the last 15 years. Also know that as you get healthier and more fit, this number may change! My healthy weight has increased by about 5-8 pounds over the last 10 years.
3. Love your body, don’t punish it. Your body is not trying to make your life difficult, it is merely trying to keep you alive! It is reacting on survival instincts and doing everything it can to keep you in a healthy place. While you may be trying to lose body fat by any means necessary, if you punish your body by inflicting harsh methods through steep caloric deficits and intense, fatiguing overtraining, no one wins in the end of that scenario.
4. Don’t sacrifice health for appearance. I cannot stress this enough. You CAN have both a fit and healthy physique, it just may take longer for you to get there and your “perfect picture” may not end up being what you initially imagined. It will be what is right for YOU and YOUR body. 😊
ABOUT NAOMI RABON
One of the trainers on Nicole’s elite NW Fitness Training Team, Naomi is a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a NPC Figure competitor who has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years.