self confidence

21 NON Weight Loss Benefits of Exercise

21 Amazing NON WEIGHT LOSS Benefits of ExerciseAs mental health professionals, one of the things that we are always encouraged to prescribe our clients is exercise.  Exercise is fantastic!  In fact, one of my dear friends who happens to be a Psychiatrist told me that she believes that if everyone exercised – the drug companies would be out of business. 

However, as a professional treating eating disorders, discussing exercise tends to be tricky…  my clients tend to feel shame over not exercising enough, the belief that they have to exercise every single day to lose weight, or they fall into overexercising or compulsive exercising to deal with anxiety or shame. 

Exercise is great! But it won’t help you lose weight. Although it’s always been considered the golden standard of weight loss (eat less and exercise more) the more recent studies show that exercise is an ineffective weight loss strategy.  

However, there are a million benefits to exercise that are not weight loss related. 

21 AMAZING NON WEIGHT LOSS BENEFITS OF EXERCISE: 

  1. Increases your libido and gives you the stamina to enjoy and have sex more
  2. It is a natural anti-depressant because it increases serotonin production and decreases depression
  3. It reduces your risk of diabetes by pulling sugar (glucose) out of your blood stream
  4. Exercise helps you to manage anxiety
  5. Reduces your risk of heart disease
  6. Makes you stronger
  7. Increases Your Lifespan
  8. Boosts HDL cholesterol 
  9. Increases Your Energy
  10. Helps You Sleep deeper and decreases insomnia
  11. It gives you a break in the day and much needed “me time”
  12. It decreases symptoms of PMS including cramps, mood swings and bloating
  13. It sharpens your mind
  14. It gets you high on endorphins (feel good chemicals in your brain)
  15. Reduces breast cancer risk
  16. It increases your positive body image 
  17. It decreases your risk of Osteoporosis 
  18. It increases blood flow and sweating which detoxifies you and in turn give you glowing gorgeous skin
  19. It decreases risk of Alzheimer’s. 
  20. It decreases stress and increases your overall sense of peacefulness
  21. Decreases binge eating episodes  which can often be a symptom of stress, anxiety, depression, boredom, panic, and overstimulation (all things that exercise decreases). 

How to start? Don’t think of it as something you have to do, or you should do– think of it as something that you get to do and something that will help you just feel better. It doesn’t have to be every day, and it doesn’t have to be boring or repetitive. You don’t have to be training for a marathon, you can do a different form of exercise every single day or every few days to get these benefits. You can jump on a trampoline, go swimming, climb trees, go for a hike (either urban or on a trail), jump rope, do yoga, go out dancing or dance alone in your room, go for a walk with a friend, watch a Netflix while you walk or jog on the treadmill– just do something that is fun, try to move your body — movement is amazing medicine your soul, your body and your mind. 

How to Stop Worrying about What People Think of Your Body


Chocolate CakeHave you been in that place before – that place where you have a wedding, or a reunion,  or a birthday party, or any big event coming up and the first thing that comes up for you is, “Okay, I’ve got about 72 days to lose about 20 pounds. I can do that… cakewalk…” but then things become rough. 72 days becomes 60 days, becomes 40 days, becomes 2 weeks. The big diets come out- the no carb, no fat, big visits to the hairdresser, the esthetician, maybe the dermatologist for a shot of Botox, anything…  everything! You’re feeling stressed out, the most important thing is that YOU LOOK GOOD. And you worry, “but what will people think? what will they think of me when they see how much weight I’ve put on? What will they think when they see my wrinkles? What will they think? I just have to look perfect this time…” 

When you want to know how to stop caring what other people are thinking about you- just remember that what people are most likely thinking is, “I wonder what she’s thinking about me? I hope she’s thinking that I look good, Maybe she notices the weight I put on, maybe she notices my new wrinkles, maybe she…” And it stops you, and it stops everyone around you from going forward and having fun, and living your life for the few months before that event. 

So when you start to get caught up in, “I have to LOOK GOOD,” remember that looking good is not looking different. You can still do lots of awesome self care rituals without going on lots of diets or trying to lose weight. You can still buy a dress that you love, find makeup that you feel great in if that’s your thing, and get your hair done in a way that feels awesome. But try really hard not to get caught up in the lose weight before the event trap. 

What would you do if you were only focused on doing things that made you feel really, really good about yourself and in your body? What would you do? Stop and think about it for awhile… I’ll wait.

 

 

What kinds of things would you do for yourself if you had no worries about losing weight or worrying about what people would think about you or your size?  What kinds of things would you do if you just wanted to make yourself feel awesome without worrying about others?

Would you, go to yoga class? Go hot tubbing? Go swimming? Go dancing? Take guitar lessons? Take Karate? Become a Real Estate agent?  

The superfluous energy that we all spend worrying about what other people think of us keeps us away from our passion, and when we are truly engaged in our passion, when we are really, truly, enjoying our life- well then who cares what anyone else thinks- it doesn’t matter. So your focus, rather than being on what others think of you should be on what you think about yourself and what brings you joy. I mean, after all, you only get your time here for a certain amount of time- enjoy it.  

It’s difficult because we’ve been taught that others opinions are a metric of our worth- but if everyone worries like that- then what’s the point? Life would be so boring if we all sat in a room wondering what everyone else was thinking about us– no one would have anything to talk about.

 

So here are a few quick tips to help you stop worrying about what other people are thinking and reclaim your life:

Hello (1)Remember that other people’s thoughts are none of your business. What people are thinking about who you are is rarely the objective truth, they can only see you through their own lens of experience. So you can be as saintly as Mother Teresa, but if you look like the mean girl that someone went to high school with, she might have some pretty skewed ideas of who you are. And that really doesn’t matter. 

Accept that you cannot control what other people think of you. Trying to lose weight is an attempt to control other people’s perception of who you are based on what you look like. Remember that you have no power to control other’s thoughts as no one has the power to control your thoughts. 

Remember that most people aren’t sitting around thinking about you. Sad but true. We are all pretty self absorbed, I mean we have to be to survive, right? The truth is, most people will have merely a passing thought about you, and it might be one thought out of the 50,000 thoughts that each person has per day. 

Focus on your personal values. Think about what is important to you. Is it honesty? Integrity? Kindness? Intelligence? Being well read? Doing volunteer work? Think about what your true values truly are and refocus on those things- once you do, and you feel strong in your convictions as to who you are as a person, then other people’s beliefs (and beliefs are subjective) are really arbitrary.

Just Do You. Remember that people don’t like people who they are impressed by, people like people who are impressed by them, so working hard to impress people will just be more painful than it’s worth. So, just be the you who YOU like the best. 

Other people’s thoughts can’t hurt you. What if someone does have judgmental or unkind thoughts about you? Honestly, it doesn’t hurt you anymore than your thoughts about them hurt or help them. It doesn’t matter, you’ll never REALLY know what other’s think of you, so don’t worry too much about it. 

Remember that you HAVE to take risks. If you worry too much about what other people are thinking of you, you will have a lot of trouble moving forward on your path. Worrying about other people’s thoughts is paralyzing and it keeps you from moving forward. When you stop giving other people that power, you give yourself the freedom to live your life.