What initially triggered my "weight-loss-free" mentality was the shift that had taken place in the health and fitness industry. The thinking was that to support women in being body positive, the weight-loss discussion had to be taken off the table. I had to consider the topic taboo. But weight loss isn’t a dirty word, it's not the enemy of health and wellness—and we all need to get comfortable talking about it again.
By avoiding the weight-loss discussion, we’re making weight loss another thing to feel ashamed about…as though women don’t carry enough body image baggage as it is. The bottom line is that if you need to lose weight to be healthy, then you need to lose weight. It’s a simple fact and nothing to be ashamed of. Acknowledging that need is certainly not making you any less body positive. In fact, by recognizing how a different weight would be healthier for you, you’re showing your body how much you love it and demonstrating your desire to do right by it.
It's how you lose weight that really matters.
What makes the topic messy is that so many diet and fitness programs have manipulated this conversation for their own monetary benefit. Stock-standard recommendations, ubiquitous before-and-after photos, and an undercurrent of restriction, effort, and body scrutiny are what most women associate with weight loss.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Reaching your ideal weight can actually be a very positive and enjoyable process. The secret is to start with simple changes to the way you think about weight loss, food, and lifestyle in general before making a single change to what you actually do. Below are three of my favorite mindset shifts when it comes to not only losing weight but getting healthier as a whole person: mentally, physically, and emotionally. I hope that you’ll try them and experience the beautiful results for yourself.
1. Enjoy the weight-loss journey.
Don’t rush blindly to reach some ideal weight finish line. Instead, use this time as an opportunity to make discoveries about yourself. On your road to losing weight you will fall in love with new foods and types of movement that make your body feel great. Plus, you'll create new habits that will add joy and interest to your day-to-day life.
2. Keep it super simple.
It can feel overwhelming to make any new lifestyle change. The trick is to start gently and keep it simple. For example, you can start by adding just one new healthy food at each meal and taking a 10-minute daily walk. These little updates really do make a difference, and they pave the way for even more changes to come.
3. Shower yourself with love, every single day.
Loving yourself is what empowers you to embrace life, break up with negative habits, and make positive changes that benefit both you and your world. If you don’t think that you deserve the body and life that you desire, then you won’t be able to receive it. Self-love and appreciation really is the first step to losing weight, and it’s something that you need to commit to doing every single day.
Jennifer Dene is a celebrity pilates instructor, personal trainer and the CEO and founder of Jennifer Dene Wellness. Her lifestyle brand is based in Los Angeles, CA and is committed to empowering women to lead healthy lives. She received her health coach certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.