When you look at a picture, the first person you notice in it is you, isn't it?
We are extremely visual creatures and everyday, our own self reflections speak to us. Sometimes like a best friend..while other times, an enemy that you wish you could forget. What if we lived in a world where there were no mirrors? How then would we be?
Before, we only had televisions, magazines and billboards to make to make us feel inadequate. Now we walk with it, we travel with it, we sleep next to it. Our smart phones, iPads, Facebook, Instagram, we are constantly reminded of our insecurities. Pictures and videos of the most 'aesthetic', 'toned' and 'athletic' individuals don hundreds and thousands likes, millions of followers.
I have no qualms about social media 'likes' or 'followers' but when the focal point of an individual's happiness revolves around them, therein lies a deeper issue. What really irks me though, is when these ambassadors fuel a multi-billion dollar industry of quick fixes. Leaving the end consumer (you and I) emptying our wallets for the promised land of YOU ver 2.0.
So here's where we are right now. Be it quick fat loss, 6 pack abs, a flatter tummy or smaller thighs, YOU ver 2.0 is promised through a list of well marketed solutions. Be it supplements, drugs, expedited programs, diets, creams, body wraps and even invasive cosmetic surgery. The promise is a better, more confident, slimmer and happier you.
Being an ex-bodybuilder, then training fitness models for competition, I've seen women drop to less than 10% body fat stage ready, feeling insecure about the way they look when they see their competition. 'I wish I was leaner, I wish I had prepared and dieted more.' they say just before stepping up on stage.
Then the season ends, they promise to come in more conditioned the next time round. Competition after competition, year after year going through the same prep. Eventually, they face hormonal issues, miss their periods for months on end effectively losing any chance of having kids down the line. They then suffer from irreversible metabolic damage.
The #instafit #fitspo generation on facebook or instagram, shows like the Biggest Loser coupled with the media pressures of looking and being a certain way, many are on this endless cycle of WHAT then HOW. This quick fix OUTSIDE IN mentality feeding into itself.
What I am now proposing is a new paradigm in our thinking and this is based on Simon Sinek's Golden Circle. For lasting changes to occur, it has to start from the INSIDE OUT and I believe that the 3 keys to a lasting transformation are:
1. A lean mindset
Where you focus on higher values and choose the journey over the end product. Where 'success' (eg: fat loss, muscle gain or a better sense of self) simply becomes a byproduct of what you value in your life.
2. A green lifestyle
A diet rich in phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. A whole foods plant-based diet. I call it a lifestyle because to me, this is not a diet per se but a way to live. Initially coming into the perspective for environmental and ethical reasons, I now realise that a diet that comprises mainly of plant-based calories promotes health, sustainable fat loss and longevity.
3. A love of movement
Whatever the exercise modality, be it yoga, tennis, running, kayaking, hiking or even gardening, it all starts with loving what you do. My wife Emilie is an ultra-endurance athlete spending hours running +/- 100kms a week. I however love Crossfit and Calisthenics. Be it improving my lifts, agility or mastering a specific bodyweight move, I spend +/- 12 hours a week training. We do not feel like we 'HAVE TO' or 'NEED TO' train. We do it because we 'WANT TO'. Whatever form of physical activity you decide on, you need to love what you do. As humans, we have evolved over hundreds and thousands of years. We were built to run, jump, swim, push and pull...Not live by a desk, slump over the steering wheel or slouch in a couch. We are beautifully tuned machines and when you choose to find the movement that you love, you will spend hours, days, years on end thriving from motion.
Aside from the 3 keys above, I have learnt that only 5% of your thoughts are conscious while the rest of the 95% is unconscious. So with all the will power in the world, that can only take you so far. What you need is work to change internal values that you have of yourself.
And one more thing...Remember to always be kind to yourself.
Peace and strength,