Take a glimpse at the cover of most magazines and you’ll see several headlines promoting tips and tricks that will help you eat less and weigh less.
“Lose up to 10 pounds in one week!”
“Simple tips to eat fewer calories!”
“Shrink your stomach with three easy exercises!”
Eat less. Weigh less. Shrink.
What is this obsession with encouraging women to be less?
I don’t know about you, but I’m dang sick of it. There was a time when I used to look for, and practice, a lot of these “be less” tips so I could come up with sneaky ways to eat less food and decrease my bodyweight. But one day I thought, “This really sucks. Constantly trying to eat less and weigh less is mentally exhausting.” Not only that, but if you fail to eat less or weigh less (as I did several times), you end up experiencing shame and feeling like a failure, so then you move on to the next tip and hope that it’ll work.
But going day after day constantly striving for “less” is exhausting, frustrating, and definitely not fun. That’s why it’s time to choose to be MORE, and stop looking for ways to be less.
(Note: There’s nothing wrong with losing fat and lowering your bodyweight if you have excess fat to lose, nor am I saying there’s anything wrong with trying to change the shape and appearance of your body. I’m simply proposing that there’s a better way to achieve these things. We can choose to be more.)
Be MORE, Not Less
Whether you have excess fat to lose, you want to improve your health, or you just want to feel more confident in and out of your clothes, choosing to be MORE will get you there, and here are 13 ways to do so.
1) Stop dieting. Stop looking for tips to constantly eat less and less.
Believe it or not, “dieting” is not mandatory for losing fat and improving your health. You don’t have to follow a crazy cleanse or detox or even avoid certain foods or food groups.
Forget about dieting and finding ways to trick yourself into eating less. Stick to the proven basics of nutrition that ultimately turn into effortless, lifestyle habits. Food is not to be feared and we don’t have to apologize for eating satisfying meals. Food is meant to be enjoyed, and nutrition is not complicated.
Let’s choose instead to eat more of the things that make us feel good and give us energy.
2) Don’t think about “shrinking” – focus on GROWING.
Instead of looking for ways to constantly eat less and weigh less, let’s focus on building up and growing.
- INCREASE your self-confidence
- Add MORE weight to the barbell
- INCREASE your physical (and mental!) strength
- GAIN a better body-image
- BUILD UP your stamina and energy levels
- ENHANCE your overall life
Those would make for much better magazine headlines, wouldn’t they?
Focus on those things and fat loss becomes a wonderful side effect.
3) Instead of constantly focusing on how we look, let’s put the focus on what our bodies can do. Then let’s do MORE.
When’s the last time you really stopped to appreciate the amazing things your body can do? This is why I love strength training in all its various forms (dumbbells, barbells, bodyweight, etc) – it allows you to discover and unleash the incredible things your body is capable of doing.
Be proud of what your body can do now – and then do more.
An amazing, strong woman posted this comment yesterday and I loved it so much I had to share it here:
4) Stop over-complicating everything.
Health and fitness needn’t be complicated. We don’t need a crazy, detailed spreadsheet telling us how to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, and what to eat. We don’t need a time-consuming workout routine either.
Stick to the proven bare essentials. Keep it simple, get results, and get on with your life.
5) Listen to your body, not a diet book.
It’s time we stop listening to popular advice and start listening to our bodies.
We don’t need to revolve our life around a rigid meal plan when we can likely get better, long-lasting results from listening to our bodies. Eat more of the foods that make you feel good and give you energy. If you’re hungry, then eat. Stop eating when you’re satisfied, but not overly full.
Pay attention to how you feel after meals – your body is smart, so listen to it. It can tell you things a diet book cannot.
6) Consume information from resources that empower you, not those that make you feel inferior or flawed.
I do my best to share information on this website that encourages you to be the best YOU possible, and also on the Lift Like a Girl Podcast.
Do yourself a favor and avoid resources that make you feel inferior or proclaim, “THIS is what a real woman is” or other derogatory statements and choose instead to look at resources that give you the desire, and tools, to be the best you possible.
7) Stop valuing ourselves completely on how we look.
Your physical appearance or some set of numbers doesn’t define you.
It’s time we realize we are way, WAY more than how we look. It’s time to put the emphasis on the amazing things we can do and contribute to this world. There is more to life than trying to sculpt the perfect pair of glutes or pulling a triple bodyweight deadlift. Those goals are perfectly fine, but they should not consume us.
Health and fitness should make us, and our overall lives, more awesome.
8) Shatter self-imposed limitations.
Think you’ll never be able to do a set of push-ups or unassisted chin-ups? Maybe you think a double-bodyweight deadlift is impossible for you. Screw that. Just because you may not have the strength or ability to do something now doesn’t mean you won’t ever be able to.
And what if you truly can’t do something because of an injury or other legitimate limitation? You can still choose to focus on what you CAN do, and get better at those things instead.
Banish those thoughts and barriers, follow a proven plan, focus on what you CAN do, and shatters those limitations. Chances are very high you’re stronger than you think.
9) Get out of your comfort zone.
Maybe you’re more comfortable using the women’s-only area of the gym, or you don’t like using too much weight on an exercise. Maybe you’ve never really tried to see what you can actually do and the physical strength that’s yet to be released.
Get out of your comfort zone, even if it’s just a little bit. Try a new exercise. Increase the weight. Just do something that challenges you in a new way.
10) Don’t try to make the number on the scale go down: make your workout numbers go UP.
Forget about trying to weigh less and eat less – focus on making other numbers go UP.
- Add more weight to the bar
- Perform more reps than you did last time
- Perform a more challenging exercise variation
- Increase the density of your workouts (by doing the same amount of work in less time)
Making those numbers go UP is training to be awesome in action, and is a great way to be more.
11) Do what YOU want to do, not what people say you HAVE to do.
There’s no shortage of resources saying “Women have to do A, B, and C. And they better not do X, Y, and Z.”
What do you want to do? What will make you feel awesome? What will make you a better, stronger version of yourself?
Maybe you want to deadlift really heavy weights. Maybe the mere thought of deadlifting bores you to tears and you would rather stick to dumbbell exercises. Perhaps you love cardio and do it often, or maybe you despise it.
It doesn’t matter – do what you enjoy, and don’t be afraid to change things over time. What you enjoy now, you may not enjoy later. And things/exercises you don’t think you want to do now, you may love them later. Bottom line: if you enjoy it, then do it.
12) Stop caring about what other people think.
Life is too short to simply go about life attempting to please everyone. It can’t be done, and it may make us miserable in the process.
If someone is ignorant enough to say a hurtful comment about you or your body, learn to shrug it off. I know this is easier said than done, but you must practice it, and it will get easier. What other people think of our bodies does NOT matter, and I speak from personal experience. I’ve received emails and comments on my YouTube videos saying all sorts of things from “You look like a man” to “You’re flat chested” and other derogatory statements. The first few times, these comments shocked me. Why does someone feel the need to be cruel? I couldn’t help but wonder.
Now I don’t care. I even laugh at the comments. What matters is that I love my body, and not just for how it looks, but for what it can do. What other people think means absolutely nothing. I choose instead to keep being awesome and live a wonderful life.
13) Be the best version of yourself.
This is what matters most – being the best YOU possible. It’s not about trying to look like someone else or live like anyone else. It’s not about trying to fit someone’s standards of what women should look like. Women don’t have the same desires, goals, bodies, personalities, or characteristics, so the only option is to be the best you possible.
Unleash the things that make you uniquely you. Be MORE, not less.
One Thing That Should be Less
You now have 13 awesome ways to be MORE, but there is one thing that should SHRINK or be less when you choose to be more, and that is stress. All too often our health and fitness efforts can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety, but when you choose to be MORE, this stress should steadily decrease.