Our body changes when we begin taking nutrition and fitness seriously, but is physical appearance all that matters? We've been conditioned to care only about the visible results when it comes to working out—we want to look more fit.
And that's okay. There is nothing wrong with wanting to build bigger muscles or shed excess weight; neither is there shame in desiring specific physical results. But we miss celebrating all the incredible benefits fitness can offer us when we only focus on what we see in the mirror. When we prioritize these benefits over the true benefits—improved sleep, eating more nutritious meals to care for organs, benefits to our mental health—it can become problematic.
The visible results achieved from a consistent fitness routine, and a healthy diet are just that—a benefit—but that's not why we choose this lifestyle. We choose to exercise and fuel our bodies with whole foods because it's the best thing for us; the bigger muscles are simply a bonus.
In addition to celebrating physical changes, you can also celebrate how we feel as you move through a new program and make health and fitness a priority. Notice the quality of your sleep and your newfound ability to climb flights of stairs without getting winded. Recognize your dissipating sugar cravings, and notice how whole foods and adequate hydration are making your brain feel brighter and sharper. Celebrate the shed pounds and the tightening muscles, yes, but also praise your internal organs as they cleanse your body and convert nutritious food.
Before heading into your weekend, check out this article about how long it takes to see physical results when starting a new program. Let it encourage you—whether you're about to embark on a new fitness program or you're in the middle of one. Use it as a tool for knowledge and motivation; learn how your entire body is changing through healthy choices, and refuse to only focus on external, visible changes.
And then spread the love. When people comment on your weight or muscles, remind them that you choose this path because of how you feel inside, too. Encourage them to start their own health journey for the laundry list of benefits. 'Getting ripped' is merely a bonus.