About ten years ago, I started my personal training career at a small women’s gym here in London, Ontario. Since then, I have worked with hundreds of women and the strong majority of them set fat-loss as their primary fitness goal. It was surprising when a client set strength or performance as their main goal. Even working with women in their 60’s 70’s and my oldest client who was 80, had set some sort of fat-loss goal.
Fat-loss or weight-loss is nothing new in the fitness industry. With fitness and diet marketing targeting those who wish to drop a few pounds, it’s always front and center of everyone’s mind.
So Why Is Fat-Loss The Only Goal That Women Can Have?
When you’re at the grocery store checkout, you have no choice but to look at all of the magazines promising the best booty workout or how to cut one simple thing to lose ten pounds in a weekend. You go to the gym and what do you see in the posters? That’s right, not average people with average bodies but perfectly sculpted, super fit bodies.
Why? I guess it’s to keep us at the gym because they know that the model in the picture isn’t a look that’s attainable for most people.
I am no stranger to the weight-loss/fat-loss goal. This was a goal that I strived to achieve for years. I tried diet pills, low calorie, low carb, intermittent fasting, cleansing, you name it...I did it. And if that number wasn’t going down on the scale, I wasn’t working hard enough.
My Body Was A Mess and I Had No Concept Of What Healthy Meant For Me
In Vibrant and Balanced In Motherhood, we break down the diet culture walls and strive to thrive, not to survive. Learning to love your body where it’s currently at can be a difficult process but it’s worth the freedom. Click here to join my free facebook coaching group with a tribe women who are committed to loving themselves just as they are.
The goal of fat-loss is to make your body smaller. You may be trying to fit into pre-baby clothes or you want to feel confident going to the beach. Or maybe, you just want to lose your post-baby tummy. These goals are all fine, of course, but does it have to be the only thing you have to focus on?
Exercise Doesn’t Have To Be A Means To Get Small(er)
You’re allowed to have more than one goal. And fat-loss doesn’t have to be your main focus. Improving your endurance or gaining strength. Seeing your body gain something rather than lose something holds a lot of power. Will you see fat-loss? Probably. But it's pretty cool to see your body do something that it wasn't able to do when you first started training.
It May Not Be Time For a Fat-Loss Goal
Yes, there is a right time for a very specific goal like fat-loss. But there are also times where fat-loss goals are unrealistic.
Like, if you just had a baby. I remember starving for months following the birth of my kids. I also stuffed my face when I got the chance. There wasn’t a lot of time to prepare something healthy or sit and enjoy a balanced meal. It was mostly eating what was available and on the go.
And there wasn’t much sleep and lots of stress (hello colic!)
So exercise may be out and nutrition will be about eating nutritionally dense meals when you can.
It may mean choosing a nap or Netflix binge to rest your tired and overwhelmed body.
Then there is a time commitment which you may not have if you’re a new mom or have small children. It can be difficult, not to mention stressful to get to the gym more than a couple times a week and there may be times the only thing you may be able to fit in is a short walk. This is OK.
Do the best you can.
There is a lot of mental and emotional energy that goes into fat-loss and I’m sure there are times when your life demands your attention elsewhere.
At 14-weeks postpartum with my third baby, my own life has been inconsistent. I’m not sleeping the greatest because I have a 2-year-old in my bed and there are times (lots of times!), that I just don’t have time for myself and a workout doesn’t happen. Did I mention the frozen pizza we’ll have because I’m just too tired or want to save my sanity because the thought of cooking gives me anxiety.
Instead, I'm chosing to have fun with my fitness program. Fun is what's keeping me motivated and interested. If you're not enjoying your program, it may not be the right fit. Try as many programs as you need until you find something you like.
Being realistic about where you’re at today needs to be what drives your goal. This doesn’t mean that you can’t get started on a fitness program to build healthy habits. Flexibility and low impact programs are just as effective, if not more than something high high-impact and restrictive. In Post-Baby Rehab, you will not only heal your body post-pregnancy but have the flexibility to workout on your time. There is not a begin or start date, so if you happen to take a week off just because, you can simply pick up where you left off.