Taking care of your body should seem to bring joy and improve your psycho-emotional state, but sometimes this is not the case. Often it happens that hatred of your body (or other bodies) only intensifies. This article is how to take care of the most important thing – mental health.
Mental health is about being healthy and living your best life. So why is it that when it comes to practice, we feel more anxious and stressed instead of invigorated and inspired?
We live in a world based on the idea that you’re constantly missing something to perfection and something has to be done about it.
If you take a closer look at the essence of top fitness and HE articles, you can see how they unscrupulously manipulate intimate concepts such as our self-esteem, comfort, peace, supplying updates on how to change what we don’t like about ourselves. The articles write, for example, about the importance of considering everything you eat and do in order to get results.
They use the terms “eating right” (as if eating differently is not the right thing to do), “cheat meals” (as if you cheat yourself when you eat what you like) and “crash meals” (as if you have to follow rigid rules all your life). The mere use of such words is a division of food and healthy activities into ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. But think about it – it’s just cruel and psychologically traumatic, and causes constant feelings of guilt or self-loathing.
Suffer in silence
Eating disorders are one result of the pressures of a world of perfect pictures and numbers. Moreover, people already suffering from psychological abnormalities such as depression, OCD and others, under the pressure of their own demands to be perfect (and when they fail to achieve their ideal figures despite their efforts) only begin to suffer more and are at risk.
Below are some negative behaviours related to healthy eating and tips on how to improve the situation. How not to wallow in guilt, hatred, compulsive overeating and dissatisfaction with your own body.
Scenario #1. Unrestrained control of calories and nutrient composition
Research has shown that there is some correlation between disordered eating and excessive use of calorie control and healthy nutrient apps. Sometimes, the more you know, the more you corner yourself and get off track.
For example, we published an article on Zohjnik titled ‘5 studies: the tougher the diet, the less chance you have of losing weight’.
Simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, saturated fats, unsaturated fats, and even trans fats, Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-9 – something to eat and something not to eat, count how much you eat and drink in grams – a bit of scientific fact mixed with a bunch of myths breed a huge number of demands that one unsuccessfully tries to take into account and in the end the psyche just can’t handle. The inevitable breakdown occurs.
By the way, pay attention to the article about the “What the hell! – that we wrote an article about – this is the behavioural pattern that excessive self-demands do a disservice.
The solution: eat more intuitively.
If you can’t remember when you just ate an apple without counting calories or sugar, maybe it’s time to just kick the habit of keeping a timeline of everything and everything.
Mental comfort is ultimately more important to your health than eating ‘properly’. Especially since the requirements for a healthy diet are much simpler: Eat a varied diet, include fruits and vegetables in your diet, an adequate amount of varied protein and don’t forget that carbohydrates are just as important as fats.
Pay attention not so much to grams and calories, but to your enjoyment of food. Eat slowly, consciously and with pleasure.
Scenario #2. “Working off calories” instead of maintaining a healthy lifestyle
It has been written many times that sports and exercise can markedly reduce stress, depression, fears and other anxieties. However, studies also say that if you exercise excessively, exercise leads to poorer physical and mental health as well.
Many people exercise to ‘work off’ what they ate the day before. And if you can’t burn off the occasional favourite treat, your anxiety levels rise. It turns out that exercise becomes a ‘punishment’ for a ‘fault’, while, after all, a healthy lifestyle should, above all, bring joy and only then is it healthy.
The solution: exercise in order to be stronger, move faster and feel better, not for burning calories.
Exercise for the long term and then it won’t be a punishment but a way of life that will make you live longer. So that you have time to see your grandchildren grow up, so that you can do interesting work, regardless of fatigue, so that you can live better, longer, not decay like a rotten tree at forty.
Just find a type of workout, an activity that you really enjoy. Whether it’s boxing, table tennis or ballroom dancing.
Scenario #3. Subscribe to all fitness bloggers on social media
The constant consumption of pictures of the world’s best bodies creates unrealistic expectations of ourselves. And while we know that more often than not these pictures are the product of not only physical labour but also the right light, posing and photoshop work, it doesn’t cancel out the expectations of ourselves. This is how one develops dissatisfaction with oneself, which spreads like mould to the wider community and the lifestyle in general.
We published the author’s column on why you should unsubscribe from fitness celebrities in the article ‘Why motivators are actually demotivating’ on this one.
The solution: be sensible about what information you consume.
When you want to subscribe to someone, ask yourself these simple questions:
- Is this person capable of bringing something of value to my life?
- Will this subscription make my life more joyful?
- What is this person’s message?
- Does this person develop ideas of health and well-being?
- Is this person consistent with the idea of common sense?
- If the ideal body image constantly popping up in your Instagram feed is fueling feelings of self-dissatisfaction, anger at yourself, envy – admit it to yourself, or better yet, unsubscribe.
But, of course, there’s nothing wrong with watching those who truly inspire you.
Scenario #4. Using negativity against yourself
Every time we speak negatively about ourselves, we are affecting ourselves negatively. Words have power and unfortunately not everyone uses them to inspire themselves, many to crush their enthusiasm.
Constant self-demotivation, banter and snide remarks gradually destroy your goodwill towards yourself, even if you do it in a half-joking manner.
The solution: treat yourself with love.
No to self-deprecation! For starters, learn to keep track of when you are demotivating yourself. Next time you want to say something about yourself, take a moment to think about it. What exactly are the words you want to say? And if those words are lexical rubbish designed to destroy your aspirations and self-esteem, start by finding a positive or at least neutral context. It’s such a game of antonyms. For example, don’t say “I’m a lazy ass – I missed my workout”, but “I’m glad I listened to myself and didn’t force myself – I’ll recover better”.
Don’t rush to berate yourself. You can always find a positive context. This is important in general to practice tracking negative self-talk and transforming it into a positive, neutral or at least gentler format. Imagine that you are talking to yourself as a small child or to your best friend.
Scenario #5. Believing that psychological health is secondary to physical health
When we talk about a healthy lifestyle, we mean physical health first and foremost, with psychological health dangling somewhere in the background. But psychological health is just as important as physical health. One without the other simply does not exist: psychological health allows you to engage in physical activities and vice versa, physical activities (with a certain attitude that we are writing about here) – have a positive effect on the psyche.
Solution: take care of your mental health as much as your physical health
The psyche is the foundation of our whole existence. Without proper attention, everything else is irrelevant. Give daily attention to personal relaxation, peace, and practice mindfulness. (And we also recommend reading what science knows about the benefits of meditation.)
If you need to, talk to a professional, a psychologist. It’s never a shame to ask someone to help you make good choices and find balance in your life. Sometimes fighting them alone is like fighting a windmill.
When we take care of our psyche, we also take care of the body at its best. One without the other is simply not possible.
You don’t need numbers to love yourself
In conclusion, I would like to say a simple truth: it’s not the numbers of circles or the number of kilos that describe you. Ignoring your mental state for the sake of torturing your body ultimately helps neither your physical nor your mental health. Total self-control and exaggerated demands on yourself will more often than not only make you worse.
Recognise where your real difficulties lie and gently restore balance.