We got an email message on our Facebook page the other day after posting an article called “10 reasons not to focus on your weight.” The reader said that we post a lot about not focusing on weight. Could we frame those posts in a more constructive way and speak of what to focus on instead?
That’s a great suggestion since of course we all know that the harder we try not to think of something the more we will think of it. Try it: do not think about a red and orange parrot that says “wanna go to a movie?” Lol. Good luck with that.
We will be posting later this week, as a collective, about our various approaches to new year’s goals and “resolutions.” There you will find a lot of positive suggestions of what motivates us instead of a preoccupation with weight. But I’m here to offer a few of my thoughts on what to focus on instead.
- Focus on what your body can do. It’s an amazing machine and does lots of cool things. I am impressed with my body all the time, especially when I work out.
- Performance goals and training goals. When Sam and I did our fittest by fifty challenge (which you can read about in our upcoming book, Fit at Mid-Life, coming out through Greystone Press in April 2018), I was so busy by the end training for an Olympic distance triathlon that I had no time to be preoccupied with weight. Since then I have found the same to be true whenever I have training and performance goals that shape my workout routine.
- Try something new, like rowing or yoga or west coast swing dancing or skiing or snowshoeing or triathlon or running or spin class or boxing or axe throwing or kayaking or hiking or wall climbing or roller derby or aikido or whatever your friends are doing that you’ve considered but never tried. If you don’t like it, try something else. If you love it, yay! That’s how this works!
- Imagine a fuller life where you’re motivated by a desire to honor and nurture yourself. Focusing on weight loss almost never feels like that. Instead focus on being kind to yourself and taking care of yourself. As Catherine pointed out the other day, sometimes that could even involve comfort eating! Gasp!
- Talk about other things with people. Books, the weather, your latest sport obsession, photography, travel, spirituality, this blog 😊, whatever. Things that interest you and draw you in. I pretty much never engage in conversations about weight loss because they are at best boring and at worst harmful. But lucky for me an infinite array of other conversational topics await!
So there you go. A starter list to point you in the direction of a few other things to do instead of pre-occupying yourself with thoughts of weight, weight loss and dieting. Thanks to Yvonne for asking about alternatives.
If you’ve got a personal story or any further suggestions about how not to think of weight in the face of a slew of cultural messaging directing us to focus on just that, please add it in the comments. Thanks!