Turn Setbacks into Setups

Managing Body Expectations

June 21, 2019

In a perfect world, you’d instantly change your so-called flaws by waving a magic wand.  

In this world, you have to put in a little more work than that. It doesn’t happen overnight. And that’s probably why everyone has so many body image issues.

At the end of the day, long-term change takes time. That’s true whether you’re working toward weight loss, muscle building, endurance training, or any other type of body transformation. But how do you manage your expectations and stay motivated during the period before you’ve started to see results?

Get the facts.

No matter what your goals are for physical transformation, it’s crucial that you learn as much as possible on the front end. For example, know the differences between fat and muscle loss as you work to slim down your body, learn how long it’ll take for your endurance training to kick in, or find out when you’ll start seeing the results of your weightlifting sessions. The faster you understand that nothing will happen overnight, the easier it will be to stay motivated.

Stop checking for changes so often.

Sure, we get it. You’re on a journey to change the way your body looks, and that means that you need to keep track of your measurements, whether that means stepping onto the scale or checking the circumference of your muscles but it is best to avoid doing just that.

This next step might seem counterintuitive but trust us: stop checking so often. You don’t need to check every day (or worse, multiple times a day). Obsessing over the tiny details of a long-term transformation only perpetuates a negative body image, so aim to cut down on how often you look for changes.

Stop comparing your journey to others.

We all love a good instant weight loss story, and there’s nothing like seeing the before and after photos of some new bodybuilder. But everyone is different, and every body will struggle toward the same goal in different ways. Just because you haven’t sprinted through your transformation at the same rate as some Instagram “success story” doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong, or that you won’t get there in due time. It’s all about having faith in the process, putting in the effort, and staying consistent.

Plan for sustainability.

Healthy physical changes happen over a long period. Make sure you’re mentally prepared to be in it for the long haul. That means finding flexible habits that work with your schedule, and plans that are sustainable and practical. (In other words, stop trying to eat only salads and liquids on your diet). It’s easy to become demotivated when you’re working twice as hard on unrealistic plans, so work on creating a strategy you can stick with and is practical for your lifestyle.

Celebrate the small wins.

So you haven’t reached your final goal yet…but you’ve made some progress! Maybe you realize one day that you can run a mile without stopping, or that the muscles in your arms are more visible than they were before. Congrats—it’s time to celebrate that win! Staying motivated can help you stick with your long-term goals, and a big part of staying motivated is having the ability to recognize your successes on your journey.

It’s tough to stick with a plan when you can’t quite see the end result, but a little motivation makes it easier. Make sure you’re moving forward in a healthy way, and the investment of your time and dedication (and patience) will pay off in the end.

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