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How to Make Time for the Gym

Losing COVID Weight - The Balanced Way by Caitlin Boos

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Weight Loss- an incredibly popular topic discussed concerning women, perhaps, at an unhealthy frequency. From the tantalizing diet ads plastered in public to the near-endless social media posts glorifying the latest eating trend, our society is absurdly obsessed with projecting such a concept onto us. As an adolescent still grappling with an eating disorder, the influx of contentious advice from pseudo-celebrities and shifty sources tends to anger me more than most. So, with the winter months quickly enclosing and the post-quarantine stresses beginning to swell, I thought I would advise all of you lovely ladies on how to lose a few pounds without sacrificing your overall wellbeing.

Have a goal in mind, but don’t become transfixed by it. The modern ether surrounding weight loss is overwhelmingly dependent upon statistics like dress size and body measurements. While this can be a motivating thing at first, it can quickly become a corrosive mindset. Calculate what weights are healthy for you at your height and go from there but prioritize your sanity and stability before the number on the scale. When choosing a desired “end goal,” envision what you want your body to look like at the end of this journey- do you imagine a flatter stomach, a smaller waistline, a perkier behind? Snapshot this and consider it your premier source of inspiration (rather than some overly edited image of a model perpetuating unrealistic standards).

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Be mindful of what you eat, but don’t demonize certain foods. Diet culture, on the whole, is incredibly dangerous and unbelievably addictive, so it is vitally important you know how to safely, yet effectively, navigate the kitchen. The premier piece of advice I can provide is to pay attention to your hunger cues and eat only when your body requires sustenance- don’t eat out of boredom, opportunity, emotion, nor impulse. Make foods rich in vitamins and nutrients the staples of your “diet” (i.e., whole carbs, lean proteins, fresh produce) and reserve those higher in sugars, salts, and fats (i.e., processed carbs, trans fats, refined sugars) for special occasions. Loosely monitor your calories, so you abstain from surpassing your recommended daily intake by landslides, but do not make them the sole deciding factors in whether or not you choose to incorporate a specific ingredient within a meal.

Exercise regularly, but don’t push yourself too far. While weight loss is facilitated primarily by what you consume, maintaining a steady exercise routine is an overall healthy habit to develop. It releases endorphins in the brain, which cause happy moods and calm anxieties. Engaging in physical activities you genuinely enjoy (my personal preference is dancing) is an incredibly effective way to get closer to your goal weight while also fulfilling morale. Similarly, having diversity amongst your routines will help you stay excited about, and committed to, movement, which, in the long run, will help you see results far faster than solely relying on a change in eating habits. Honestly, unless you have a personal bias towards such, I would advise refraining from archetypal, “gym exercises” (i.e., barbells, push-ups, the elliptical), as their tense and tedious natures might deter you from physical activity altogether, and that would be a great disservice to your goal.

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Take inspiration from others, but don’t model yourself after them. One of the most imperative aspects of successfully losing weight is staying committed to the arduous and often undesirable lifestyle that drives results. For many women, that motivation comes in the form of community. I implore all of you to collaborate with your friends and family on this journey together and recommend discovering new and inspiring recipes and routines from outside sources. However, what you must keep in mind throughout this process is that everyone’s body is different: what works for someone might not work for you and, the weight that someone else is working towards might be dangerously low for you.

For someone whose been unhealthily entranced by images of toned arms, noticeable abs, and flat stomachs for over a third of their existence now, please believe me when I tell you not to take things too far with your weight loss journey. Self-love is the healthiest habit you can develop and nurture during this process because even once that “ideal goal” is met, your payoff will be fruitless if you haven’t established a stable mindset. Though difficult for many of us to realize, losing weight should not be the only parameter in which we measure our senses of self; life is to be lived with vigor and zest, not with a preoccupation with our image.

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