About a month ago, I asked everyone on my facebook if the motivation for them to eat healthy came from those that want to improve their body or to improve their health.
The results weren't THAT shocking, but I did ask people to be honest with themselves. I think that there are many different reasons across the board and paths that people have taken that have landed them where they are, and it's very interesting. Once someone makes a habit of something, it becomes much more natural for them to be able to do and while I'm sure they enjoy that it keeps their body in check and that it keeps them healthy, it really might not even be something that they actively think about. That's honestly probably me at this point. It's just the life that I live and the things that make me feel good, so that's what I do.
I loved the honesty of some women who said, "YEP! Totally 100% because of my body!" I find that mostly in my home town to be honest. Health is not really a priority here and most of the time when I hold seminars, I will ask the group if people are interested in learning about how to get healthier or about weight loss because they are not the same, and most of the time people openly state, "weight loss". Sometimes, as I'm sure everyone knows, some women have to go to extremes to get their body's to respond to much of anything and I wouldn't say this is healthy, but it would get weight loss which people would equate to healthy. It's an interesting world that we live in...
I think if you were to ask anyone which one is "better", people would tell you that if someone is focused on their health and not their body then they are going to be more successful long term and they are going to be happier while doing it. I think that is true to a degree but I think that because of culture, we have associated changing our body's with this loathsome thing. You can want change for yourself while not hating yourself. I'm hopeful that more HEALTHY minded fitness individuals will continue to preach that message. There's 47 sides to every story. It is however interesting that the women (there was ONE man that said he did it for body image) that say that they do it for their image are ashamed to say so. They say things like "I hate to admit it but..." I think that IMMEDIATELY sets someone up to have an unhealthy mindset. I think that we have created an atmosphere that if anyone no matter if they need to lose weight or not, we have created it to be a taboo thing that you aren't allowed to do. If you are ashamed to be doing something, you are going to keep it in the dark and do unhealthy habits. I don't like that. I think that we need to encourage people in their positive life changes no matter the reasoning. If they have a negative or unhealthy way that they are going about this, then of course we need to lovingly speak truth to them the best that we can that this is NOT the way that you should do things.
I also think that it's pretty interesting/obvious that it matters with age. You become less concerned with your image as you age and more concerned about your health. I saw a meme once that describes this so well. It says...
HOW TRUE IS THAT? If we could just harness that at age 20, then we would have a much happier life I believe. It IS OKAY to change yourself but it's not okay to loathe yourself, be concerned about what everyone around you thinks of you, and not care at all about your health as long as you are getting the desired reward of whatever you want your body to look like. That's the grey line that we don't talk about in fitness enough or maybe so much now that the pendulum has swung.
I think the most interesting group is the group that didn't really respond on my facebook status just because I'm well aware that status didn't reach THAT many people across all backgrounds. It just happens to be the people that are active on facebook and that are mostly interested in my stuff that facebook puts my status as something of importance on their newsfeed with their algorithm. I wish I could get a more comprehensive view from the world. I believe the most interesting group is the ones in their late 40's to early 50's. I'm not saying this is all inclusive either and that if you are in this age group, you are going to tell me this isn't you. LOL. But.... they talk about weight loss like it's going out of style and they do THE MOST EXTREME things to get to the result that they want, but they legit don't have a mentally unstable mindset about it.
Not to pick on here, but my aunt will be like.... "I've only had a protein shake this morning" and it will be like 6pm. I'm over there like WTH WHY HAVE YOU NOT ATE? THAT IS NOT OKAY!!! If someone in the fitness world were to post that to instagram that they were just slashing their calories to lose some quick weight, people would lose.their.minds. hahaha! But in that time, it was just what was normal. I've seen women in this age group tell me of programs that they have done that make them have diarrhea, eat only 500 calories per day and do some injections or something and they are telling me this as in "THIS PROGRAM WORKS! I LOST FIFTY POUNDS!" It cracks me up. I'm like OF COURSE YOU DID YOU LOONEY TUNE!! lol!
My age group is obsessed with image, but we aren't just obsessed with body image. We are obsessed with telling everyone how we got to our desired goal while eating SO MUCH. People all over talk about how they eat 2000, 3000, 3500 calories. We have eating challenges to eat 10,000 calories in a day and it's ALWAYS fitness people that do those challenges. ALWAYS. People in my mom's age group don't do that. Like, literally not at all. When my grandmother was alive, I remember telling her one night about this in my age group (she ate very little her whole life). I would tell her how some girls ate like 3000-4000 calories per day, and they were still in shape. She would scowl her nose. She was feisty but I find it so interesting. She said that it was wasteful and she couldn't understand and fathom why anyone would need to/want to do something like that. She was born in a different time and went through the Great Depression. Trying to eat as much as possible or doing some 10,000 calorie challenge was something that offended her. CRAZY RIGHT?
I got off on a tangent, but I think that the focus of your decision to lose weight depends on a variety of factors. It depends on how you were raised, the relationships that you had with people, whether you are emotionally connected to food, what generation you were born in, what internet access that you have, and so many other things. I think that the biggest lesson and take away from this tiny little survey that I did and thinking through all of this is just simply that we are all different. You cannot put someone in a box and tell them that THIS is the way that they should do things for their physical and mental health. They aren't going to do it. They have to find what makes THEM click and what makes them happy. There are some women who no matter how much I try to convince them otherwise, they would rather eat NOTHING for like 2 weeks, lose weight SUPER fast (even if it's muscle and water) and then not eat healthy anymore. The cycle will continue their whole lives, but THAT'S THEIR CHOICE. We can't make others choices for them just like my grandmother can't for all these "younguns" she thought were gluttonous. haha!
So, why do you eat healthy? I think it's okay to be a mixture of both or maybe even start out for looks but get interested in the healthy side of things. We need a healthier world so whatever works for you is what you should do! :)