white flower growing to represent positivity

Positivity: Why It’s Important in Your Fitness Journey

We live in a world full of clutter where positivity is downplayed for the attention-grabbing negative. The overwhelming wealth of information that seeps into our lives has us questioning and doubting everything we do–especially when it comes to weight loss and fitness.

“Don’t eat high fructose corn syrup, it’s bad for you.”
“Don’t let your kids play on ipads, they’ll develop addictions.”
“Don’t use _____ for cleaning, the chemicals you inhale will make you sick.”

It’s like every media outlet is using the scare tactic to persuade us to buy their product. There are a lot of “don’ts” out there. And I don’t know about you, but when we concentrate so much on the “don’ts” we find it harder to be successful. Case in point:

When Tatiana decided to cut out processed sugars from her diet completely, she was convinced from all the articles on her Facebook newsfeed that sugar consumption was the main reason she wasn’t losing any weight.

When it came down to it, she lasted one week before Tatiana caved. And she caved hard. She binged on everything that had sugar in it: Oreos, potato chips. gummy worms, crackers. You name it. She’ll be the first to tell you- because she was focusing so much on the “don’t,” that’s ALL I could ever think about: sugar. In the end, she admits to completely sabotaging all her efforts.

Granted, we’re not saying that trying to eliminate my sugar was a bad thing. It doesn’t take a genius for anyone to know that too much of anything has its downside. But sometimes we get so focused on the “don’ts” that we lose sight of the positives we’ve accomplished. We need to embrace and celebrate our triumphs!

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Positivity Feels Better, So Why Do We Resort to Negativity?

Because it’s easy. We are our own worst critics. It’s easy to get mad at ourselves. How often have you done so well with your nutrition throughout the day, only to snack on a piece of chocolate at night and immediately assume you’ve just undone everything you accomplished earlier that day? You get down on yourself, throw in the towel, and think to yourself, “Well, I’ve already messed up, I may as well eat the rest of the bag and just start back over tomorrow.” If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.

You focus on the ONE negative thing that happened that day–that ONE small piece of candy–versus all the hard work you did the rest of the hours of the day. It becomes a domino effect–When you succumb to these negative thoughts, you are powerless and depressed. You’re more likely to skip your next workout, and more likely to eat that bag of chips. But what if, instead, you celebrated the fact that you replaced an unhealthy snack with a vegetable, or your skipped adding a second helping. It’s important to acknowledge how you feel and change them into something positive.

Positivity: Change Your Mindset!

The first step is setting up a list of “Do’s” (rather than a list of “don’ts.”)

  • DO be proud of your efforts, even if small mishaps occur.
  • DO reward yourself for progress.
  • DO enjoy a snack (a healthier one…)
  • DO set realistic, measurable goals you can achieve.

Thinking positively can increase motivation, drive, desire, and energy levels. Positive thinking has even been linked to greater immunity to illnesses, lower rates of depression, living longer, better coping during stressful times, lower risk of heart disease, and overall better mental and physical health.

Now what about those negative people in our lives? You know, the ones who are never pleased, are pessimistic, and make comments like:

“You’ll never be able to eat like that. That’s just not realistic.”

Positivity 101: Ignore the Naysayers.

Focus on the positives. It IS realistic. Thousands have done it. In fact, after the first couple of weeks, you’ll have no problem turning down the stuff you used to crave. 

“Oh, man. My friend, ‘Bob’ did a fitness program, and then he just gained everything back again.”

You aren’t ‘him.’ You aren’t everyone else. You’re you. YOU make the decisions for you. So ‘Bob’ failed. You’re not ‘Bob.’ And you WON’T fail.

“I’m not reaching my goals. I’m working so hard and I don’t look like ‘Jane’.”

Every person is different, and every person will respond differently. But your body– if you’re truly eating well and doing the work– WILL respond. The first month may be the toughest, but focusing on the end will help you get through it. Stop comparing your body to ‘Jane’s,’ and instead compare it to yours when you first started.

The list of negative comments you hear from yourself and others could go on and on, but ultimately, they’re just excuses used to bring others to a level of comfortable mediocrity.

You’re NOT Mediocre.

Your positive commitment to changing your body and getting fit shows that. Quit underestimating yourself and selling yourself short. Get others on board with you and think positively.

Positivity 101: Flip Your Perspective

Flipping your perspective does wonders for being positive. Instead of resorting to negativity, flip the situation from another perspective.

Example 1: It’s easy to get down on yourself for not being able to get that last pull-up– but what about that one you did that you couldn’t do last week?

Example 2: You missed a meal, or came up short in your nutritional goals. But what did you learn? Where can you improve next time? (And guess what? Tomorrow allows for being perfect…)

Flipping perspective and allowing yourself to see the POSITIVE side of things will not only help you through a fitness program but through life as well.

Recite Positive Affirmations

Did you ever see the movie, The Help? One of the main characters would always recite to the little girl she took care of, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” These positive affirmations left this little girl with positivity that she didn’t get from her own family. And they did wonders for her later. Positive affirmations work!

Jot down a list of qualities you know you’re awesome at, whether it’s fitness-related or not. Maybe you’re smart, organized, determined, athletic, funny, kind, or strong. Put these reminders throughout your home, and reinforce the positives about yourself. Say these positive affirmations to yourself and get those good juices flowing.

Pretty soon, you’ll be pushing through your workouts with a grin on your face. You’ll crash through negative barriers in a Mac truck called Positivity, coming out on the other side empowered in your newfound strength.

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