It can strike anywhere. Getting ready for work in the morning. Changing in a dressing room. Laying by the pool. It knows no boundaries. It can happen in an instant, but once it happens, everything changes.
“I feel fat”.
At one time or another, this is something a lot of us have dealt with. It ruins moods, kills motivation, and perhaps worst of all, leaves you with a very negative (and often times) very unreal perception of yourself – all things I want to help you avoid. So let’s figure out how we can change that, improve your self-perception, and put you in a place where a quick glance in the mirror has you thinking, “DAMN, I look HOT!” rather than…”Ugh…another fat day”.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a 10-step plan to help curb those “I feel fat” feelings from entering your thought process AND getting you living the life and owning the body you want and deserve. Things are broken down into two groups of five. The first five steps are very much practical, physical changes you can make to your workouts and overall lifestyle. The second group of five are concerned with helping improve the functioning of that thing between your ears. In other words, I’m going to show you how to make your mind work FOR you, instead of against you. By taking a physical AND mental approach to this improving your self-perception, we’re going to instantly put you onto the track for long-term success.
1. Own your diet. If you’ve been feeling bad about your weight, your diet is the first place you need to examine. Getting yourself on a solid diet plan, or at the very least, eliminating the foods you know you shouldn’t be eating is a great first step. The impact healthy, nutritious foods can have on your mind is simply astounding. After a few weeks of eating well, your entire mindset will shift and you’ll start feeling, and looking, much better.
2. Bump the intensity. Often times, our negative thoughts are preceded by our inability to make a meaningful change in your physical appearance. To jump-start that physical transformation, consider bumping the intensity of your workouts by using finishers, timed circuits, or other techniques to push yourself harder. For specific examples, just browse around the blog for our best fat burning workouts.
3. Metabolic conditioning. Speaking from personal experience, metcon workouts have been incredibly beneficial to myself and my clients for years. It’s something I prescribe to anyone trying to increase their fat burn and slim down. If you really want to slim out and get rid of those “fat feelings”, you’ve got to start doing metabolic conditioning workouts, which will help increase your metabolism and turn you into a fat burning machine
4. End the steady state cardio. Steady state cardio isn’t going to help you burn through fat in a meaningful way. If you’re sick of the way you look, step it up by including some HIIT cardio drills 1-3 times per week. When combined with metcon workouts, the HIIT drills are going to further increase your metabolic rate and help you lean out faster than steady state cardio will ever allow.
5. Lift heavy. One of the biggest problems I see, mainly amongst females, is their avoidance of heavy weights. They think lifting heavy will make them “bulky”, when in reality, just the opposite is true. By adding lean muscle mass, you’re going to stoke that metabolic fire (see a common theme here?) and really turn up the dial on your fat burning potential. A serious weight lifting routine is going to improve your physique by adding curves and definition in all the right places…putting “fat days” in your rear view mirror.
Now we’re getting into the mental training I want you to think about. Conditioning your mind is just as important as your body when it comes to self-perception, so take these next five tips to heart and allow yourself to find acceptance for yourself along the way.
6. Stop comparing. It’s easy to fall into the game of comparing yourself to people in the gym, or pictures you see online. Remember, just because you aren’t 8% body fat with rippling abs doesn’t mean you’re fat. It just means you aren’t a fitness model…which 99.9% of us aren’t. Comparing yourself to others is a sure-fire way kill your motivating and make sure your workouts start sucking. It’s going to take mindful practice, but whenever you start comparing, just STOP…let the thought enter and exit your mind, and move on to something positive.
7. Maximize YOUR potential. Going hand-in-hand with the previous point, I want you to focus on maximizing your OWN potential. Just because someone else is blessed with great genetics that allows them to carry tons of muscle and very little fat, doesn’t mean you should expect the same. Your goal is to be the best you can personally be. Only you know what means, but if you’re putting in the effort, there’s no doubt you’re going to achieve your own personal best. Keep your mind focused on that, not some preconceived notion of what you “should” be looking like.
8. Learn what reality is. Our idea of fat/skinny has been so warped by creative ad designs over the years, that we’re not even sure what realistic is any more. Seriously, do a simple google search of “photoshoppped models” and you’ll be hit with a barrage of results showing just how much those “perfect” people are really morphed. It’s to the point that many of these models aren’t even remotely close to what their true proportions are. Keep this in the back of your mind and realize perfection is seldom what it seems.
9. The critic. Understand you often see yourself from a slanted view-point; often viewing yourself in a far more negative light than others see you in. This is common for even the most positive and self-assured among us. Things are very rarely as bad as you make them out to be in your mind. That little roll or excess pocket of fat may be very noticeable to you, but to the rest of the world, you just look normal. Understand you’re always going to be your own biggest critic and start working on cutting yourself some slack.
10. Acceptance. No matter how hard you work, and how many changes you make to your body, you will never be happy or feel fulfilled until you learn to accept yourself for who you are. Understand there are always going to be things about yourself you do not like. Even the most beautiful models in the world will complain about some aspect of their bodies if given the opportunity; this is human nature. I want you to start working to break free from this bad habit, and learn to accept yourself for who you are. When you feel good about yourself, regardless of how you look, you’ll successful eliminate those “I feel fat” thoughts and free yourself from the perpetual mood swings that come with it. You are an individual, you are unique, and you are amazing. Be good to yourself, be good to others, and without a doubt, good things will come back to you.