Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Making the journey your own

If there's one thing that almost every person fights with in his or her life, it's the constant battle to compare oneself with others. Some use that force to fuel a competitive nature within themselves, others may use that force to tear themselves down and lose self-respect. Either way, it can end up being the wrong way to approach your life!

It's not an easy thing to overcome, because we are actually inundated with comparison messages throughout our early childhood as we are pushed to be "the best" in sports, academics, popularity, etc. This means that by the time we are adults, we are so used to being compared to others that we automatically think of just about everything in terms of comparisons. Our minds have a need to line every bit of data up and make sense of it, and that often means thinking of things in a linear way that leaves us with "more than" or "less than" others around us.

When it comes to your fitness journey, however, this type of thinking often does more harm than good. There is one exception to this - comparing yourself to YESTERDAY'S VERSION OF YOU. While it may be true that you don't have legs like a celebrity or the stamina of your siblings or the money of your boss, that doesn't determine your actual worth. What does determine it is being aware of where you have been, and where you are going in your life.

Maybe yesterday's you would have sat on the coach, watching tv and binge eating, but today's you is at the gym and working hard. Yesterday's you was 5lbs heavier - today's you is 5lbs lighter and becoming healthier every day!

Here are some steps that you can take to help change your thinking from comparing yourself to others to comparing yourself to yourself:
1) Identify it when you start comparing yourself to others. You'll know when you are doing it, because you most likely will be feeling smug ("I'm better than Suzy") or depressed ("Why does Suzy always seem to have perfect hair? I'm so ugly compared to her!").
2) Take a step back and give yourself some love. Remind yourself of the things you have achieved, and realize that it's only fair to compare yourself to yourself and not to others.
3) Forgive and learn. We are not going to be able to stop ourselves from comparing ourselves with others completely, but we can forgive ourselves for being human and learn instead to focus on building our self worth through other means.

Our motto here at Square One is "To each their own journey," and when you stop comparing yourself to others is when you can claim the journey as your own. It will make you happier, and with that comes a multitude of other good things.
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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Yo-Yo Dieting

Yo-Yo Dieting, also know as Weight Cycling, is when you find yourself in what feels like a never ending cycle of weight loss followed by weight gain. Often this happens due to an extremely restrictive diet or fad diet that isn't sustainable in the long term. When you think about the fact that in 2012 roughly 54% of people in the US were trying to lose weight, that can mean a lot of yo-yo dieting.

Over the last couple of years, messages about yo-yo dieting have been mixed. Experts often tout that yo-yo dieting ruins your metabolism, makes you depressed, hurts your heart, messes up your immune system and makes it hard to get enough nutrition. You may also deal with muscle loss, which can hurt long-term efforts at keeping the weight off. Dr. Oz even had Kirstie Alley demonstrate the dangers of yo-yo dieting on a segment in his show at one point:

However, there are other experts that are now saying that yo-yo dieting does not actually have long term harmful effects, and is actually better for you than remaining obese. It seems it does not affect metabolism, and thus you are still able to lose weight. It also does not appear to be linked to a lack of willpower or damaging to blood pressure.

So what's the takeaway from all of this? First, it is a common theme in the diet and exercise world that even the EXPERTS don't have all the answers - and that still applies to this topic! Second, the fact is that everyone has a little bit different weight loss and health journey, so there's probably never going to be one answer to every problem.

Overall, it's probably best if you aimed for steady overall HEALTH improvement. Often when your health improves, your weight is going down as well. As the old adage goes, "slow and steady wins the race" - so take it slow if you need to in order to obtain lasting results without so much fluctuation.

Want to continue exploring this topic? Check out our latest Square One Update on YouTube. You can also contact us any time on Facebook or on our website.