Some days it seems impossible to feel good enough. Just when you think you're having a good day, you catch a glimpse of a magazine cover that instantly deflates you. With so many platforms available we are overwhelmed with images, opinions and information (most of which is misinformation).
If you're skinny, you're too skinny. If you're overweight, your value is less. If you're a muscular woman, you're unfeminine. If you're a muscular man, remember that you can't compete with the "dad bod". In the midst of this overwhelming mess of messages, we are missing the most important point: your health.
The Hard Facts.
Did you know skinny people are still at risk for heart attacks? Or that it's possible to be overweight and fit?
Did you know that on average 221 Canadians die every day from cancer?
Or that 60% of Canadians have at least one chronic disease?
And that Canada has one of the highest rates of Type II Diabetes out of 24 countries in the OECD?
Perhaps more importantly, did you know that chronic diseases (type II diabetes, cancer, heart disease) are largely preventable with physical activity?
Physical activity and exercise is considered the primary intervention for chronic disease prevention.
Yet Canada ranks worst in OECD countries for adult obesity rates, and more than 90% of Canadian children are not achieving their physical activity guidelines.
In 2012 it was estimated that the total cost of physical inactivity on our health care system was 6.8 billion dollars. That's 6.8 billion dollars spent on preventable illness.
Canada, we have gotten ourselves into a scary mess.
The Perspective We're Missing
So how can we possibly be motivated to take care of ourselves when we are constantly bombarded with messages that tell us we are not good enough? If you don't like yourself, you're probably not going to take care of yourself. Sure, that picture of Pink on the cover of Cosmo, or of Ryan Reynolds on the cover of Men's Health might motivate you to hit the gym for a minute; but ultimately your reason for exercising in this situation is shallow and coming from a place of self-hate. Not many people stick to habits when they start from such negative places.
If you want to create a physical activity or exercise program you can maintain, your motivations need to be meaningful. "I want to be skinny" might seem meaningful to you, but how many times have you stopped and started your healthy habits?
We need to change our perspective. Instead of being upset that you're not a certain size, be happy that you are disease free. Be happy that you still have your health, and that you are still in a position to create habits that can help ensure you live a disease free, independent life filled with energy and adventure. Be grateful for the healthy body you have and love yourself enough to take care of it; there are millions of Canadians who would give anything to be in your position.
If you are not disease free,
let's focus on what you
want for the future. You can either continue with your usual habits that expedite how fast your disease worsens, or you can choose to exercise and hang on to your independence as long as possible. You still have control. If you do not feel comfortable or safe beginning an exercise routine on your own, find a qualified CSEP-CPT or CSEP-CEP who has been educated on how to train people just like you safely and effectively. You do not have to resign yourself to your diagnosis. There are people available who want to help you.
You Can Start Now
Creating healthy habits is something you can do right now, on your own. Check out the Canadian Guidelines for the maintenance of health. You will notice that one of the recommendations is 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week. That's about 20 minutes per day. And guess what? That 20 minutes can be broken down into 10 minute bouts. We can all spare 10 minutes twice a day for our health.
As always, if you don't know where to start, how to start, or you just need some accountability we are here to help.
Have enough perspective to be grateful for the body you have; love yourself enough to create the changes that will save your life.