Dealing with unrealistic expectations
In the image obsessed world we live in, expectations of what we can and cannot do can sometimes hinder our progress. Health Club manager Louise explains how we need to be mindful of what we see online, and how we need to put these unrealistc expectations aside to see personal results.
We’ve all done it. We’ve looked at pics of ‘fitness’ professionals on social media and thought, ‘I’d love to look like him/her'. Some have even gone a step further and followed the diets and training regimes of these people and feel let down when we don’t achieve the same results. So what’s gone wrong? Life, genetics, jobs, age, body typing, circumstances, photo-shop, filters. I could go on and on.
It breaks my heart when my female clients (whom I love dearly I might add) show me the newest Instagram celebrity and say they want to look like them. At 37 with a couple of kids and a stressful job its highly unlikely that you’ll end up looking like a 19yr old still living at home with no job and all the time in the world to food prep, go to the gym and get the perfect selfie shot.
Genetics also plays a massive part. Some people are born with naturally perfect shaped abs and some are not and unfortunately if you are one of these people then no amount of clean dieting and exercise will get you them. A stressful job will lead to a build-up in cortisol (stress hormone) and this has a detrimental effect on obtaining that body that you crave. As we get older it also gets more difficult to maintain what we had 10 years earlier.
Body types - Endomorph (big, high tendency to store body fat), Ectomorph (long and skinny with difficulty putting on muscle) and Mesomorph (Muscular and well built, high metabolism and responsive to training) also determine what you will look like in the mirror. An ectomorph isn’t likely to become a world champion strongman and an endomorph probably won’t ever win an Olympic medal in marathon running!
Illnesses also play a huge part. Anyone with PCOS will know how difficult it is to lose weight and those with Crohn’s or Colitis will know how difficult it is to put lean weight on and keep it on. ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and fibromyalgia suffers suffer from chronic fatigue and muscle soreness, try training through all this!
I myself have been guilty of this in the past. I’ve worked/work extremely hard in the gym and I eat well. I’m an extremely occasional drinker and 2 would be my limit. I go to bed early and don’t watch TV in bed. I used to look around at other girls in the gym who were slimmer than I was and wonder how on earth they managed to look that way, knowing that they go out twice a week drinking and make bad food choices the day after. I knew in my head that they were anything up to 15 years younger than I was and didn’t have 3 children (all C-sections I might add). I wanted to be strong and athletic looking but I also wanted to be small. The intelligent side of my brain knew this was downright nonsense. I’ve been big all my life (always overweight throughout my life, classic endomorph) and now that I’d gotten down to 71kg, size 10-12 and lean, I was thinking that I should look slim! I don’t like my stomach area at all but I’ve learned to live with it. I can’t change it, it’s part of who I am. I’m fit and healthy and even though I’ll always strive to be and look better, for once in my life I’m content with how I look. I’m also not on the likes of Instagram which always helps!!!
What we need to do is embrace the body-type that we have. Love what you have and if you so wish, strive to be a better you, not someone else. Learn to look at your own body, not someone else’s and see what you can do to make it better. Constantly getting yourself down because you can’t look a certain way can lead to all sorts of issues including depression, anxiety and eating disorders. We’ve got one life and one body, learn to enjoy both.
Louise Kavanagh - Spencer Health Club Manager