When most people start out on a health and fitness plan, they set themselves a target. It's good to have something to work towards, right?
But while motivating yourself to reach a certain goal obviously has its benefits, there can also be a problem with it: you end up working towards a number on the scale—and that doesn't always bring the eternal happiness and self confidence you think it will.
One woman who knows this well is Instagram fitness blogger Christina Basil.
Posting over at @fitchristina, the 23-year-old from Toronto shares insights into her exercise plan with her 28k+ followers, along with regular motivational posts and transformation photographs.
But one of her most recent transformation pictures was the one that grabbed our interest, in which she explains why reaching her 'goal weight' didn't, in fact, make her happy.
Now, almost 6kgs heavier than the weight she was so set on achieving, Christina has reflected on why she was going about her health and fitness journey all wrong.
Explaining why she set herself a target weight in the first place, Christina told Cosmopolitan UK it all started when she "moved away from the comfort of my parents' home in Toronto to a different part of the country for work, in a French-speaking suburb near Montréal."
Struggling with the language barrier, Christina felt isolated. That, combined with having gone through an extremely tough breakup that year, led to comfort eating.
"I ended up on a diet pretty much consisting of pizza delivery, Chinese takeout, and one too many drinks on the weekend," she said.
"I gained approximately 9kgs that year. I didn't realise it at the time but looking back on it now, I guess I was experiencing emotional eating because I was really quite sad and lonely."
Christina's diet along with zero exercise left her feeling "tired all the time, sluggish and lazy", so she decided to get fit—and she set herself a goal weight of 55kg as a "way of coping with my life at the time and taking control of my body again."
But diving head-first into this new way of life, Christina began under-eating and over-exercising.
"I was consuming around 1200-1300 calories a day. This already put me in a caloric deficit, but on top of that I was also pushing my body through challenging HIIT cardio and strength training sessions several times per week." she said.
"I remember trying to lift heavy weights and becoming severely light-headed and faint, to the point that I had to cut my workouts short and go sit down to recover."
When Christina reached the 55kg mark, she said "for a little while, I was happy".
But soon the achievement of having accomplished what she'd set out to do wore off, she realised she was struggling to maintain this figure on the scale for no reason other than that she'd told herself she had to.
"I couldn't maintain this number on the scale unless I continued to under eat," Christina told Cosmopolitan UK.
"So soon enough, the happiness from achieving my goal weight turned into frustration and anxiety from not being able to maintain it long-term."
What this fixation on a number was doing was restricting Christina from progressing - something it took a while for her to realise.
"Now I know I wasn't fuelling my body with the amount of food (aka energy) it needed in order to perform—I was trying to force my body to run with no gas in the tank," she said.
Slowly adopting a different approach, Christina explained how she "began to really admire the bodybuilders/athletes I would come across on social media not simply for how they looked, but for what their bodies were able to do.
"It became so much more fun to experiment with new exercises and challenge my body's abilities: can I do a pull-up? Okay, how about 2? Wow, now how about 5? My goals kept changing as my body grew stronger and more capable week by week, and this kept me interested in sticking with fitness for the long run."
With this healthier approach to making her body strong, fit and healthy—rather than just making it look small—Christina has found a new sense of body confidence.
"I see my body as such an amazing machine," she said. "I will only ever have this one body to live in, so why not make sure I care for it and nurture it as best I can?"
What an inspiring frame of mind to have. Perhaps if we all started viewing our bodies in this way we'd be a whole lot happier, and a whole lot healthier.
Via: Cosmopolitan UK