Sarah Maxwell stresses the importance of learning to take care of yourself

The idea of what constitutes the perfect body has changed frequently over the decades, from Kate Moss (90’s chic) to the touched up images of perfectly sculpted bodies we see everywhere now. 

It’s at this time of year that I’m inundated with requests from fitness and slimming magazines and health websites to come up with a perfect plan to get in shape for the summer. With everything we’ve been through in this last year, I thought it was time to make a change and show you a different but highly successful way to make positive changes to your body image, lose weight, feel great and enjoy our new freedoms. 

Firstly, I would like to tell a little of my story and why I do the job I do. 

I remember the exact moment when I developed a negative image of my body. I was 14 years old and had up until then been a very skinny child. As puberty descended on me in full throttle, puppy fat started to lay down (this is actually quiet natural, your body is changing from a child into an adult during that time). I was immediately taken to a local doctor and put on a strict diet. This unfortunately took me down a path of extreme exercise and disordered eating.

At the age of 21 I embarked on my first training course as a health and fitness professional. It’s a big admission but I have to confess, I still hated my body.

Every day I weighed myself (more than once a day) and beat myself up because my body didn’t conform to what was considered the right type of body (especially as I had embarked on a career where the perfect body meant everything). I followed the standard theory of eating less and moving more, but it wasn’t working for me and neither did the daily step onto the scales (it doesn’t work for everybody). 

After many years of working with people to lose weight and feel great, I can tell you that I encourage most of my clients to throw away the scales because the power they have over our body image is shocking and, in most cases, greatly hampers long term weight loss. Not only is it hugely liberating to throw away the step of shame (this is what I call weighing scales), the results I see from this simple act are fantastic.

I have spent many years teaching self esteem and body confidence workshops to young adults. I show them positive examples of body image, emphasising the importance of wellbeing and health through proper nutrition, regular exercise, good sleep, stress management and relaxation. All of these are equally important to sustain long term weight management and with that naturally comes a dramatic increase in self esteem and body confidence.

One of my favourites to follow on social media is @sundaymorningview (a self-love magazine that shares what real bodies look like, and it has some wonderful mental-health information).

Affirmations really do work! 

Science really does back up the effectiveness of positive affirmations. If you want to check out the technical bit for yourself, the following link is a good read: 

https://www.healthshots.com/mind/happiness-hacks/we-decode-the-science-behind-affirmations-and-how-they-can-infuse-positivity-in-your-life/

Below is an affirmation that I have found very effective for myself and my clients.

I recommend trying this for 7-10 days. Repeat it out loud a few times a day and see if you feel a shift in how you feel. 

“I feed my body healthy nourishing food and give it healthy nourishing exercise because it deserves to be taken care of.”

Worth giving it a try, don’t you think?

Sarah Maxwell is a multiple award-winning Fitness and Lifestyle coach and mum of two who juggles a lot of balls. Find out more about Sarah and her work at sarahmaxwell.com 

Sarah shares her Fitness and Lifestyle tips on Instagram @sarahmaxwelllifestyle

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