I woke up today and then I was browsing through my phone on this fitness forum.
I like to spend a lot of time on a daily basis on fitness forums, especially ones engaged with people trying to lose weight; people trying to get in shape.
Because it gives me perspective from their side regarding their struggles, their challenges. And it helps me come up with better solutions for my clients, better solutions for my audience and better solutions for you; because you’re listening to this podcast right now.
Thank you for that. I really appreciate you taking the time for consuming my content; listening to my podcast.
So today morning I woke up and I was going through this forum. And there was a post by a person. It said how they want to lose weight for looking good. And because they want to wear cute outfits. That’s what the person said:
“I want to wear cute crop tops. I want to be able to wear things that I cannot wear right now. And I want to look better and feel more confident.”
It seemed the people around them thought this was vain. And that losing weight for vanity is unacceptable. This is what the consensus of the people in their life seemed to be.
And they were not okay with that.
So I wanted to make this episode. I wanted to talk about this because it seems to be something very prevalent.
I’m here to tell you that losing weight for vanity is acceptable. And you should not let others shame you for wanting to look good.
That really is the crux of today’s episode.
Motivation ultimately is a personal thing.
No one else can decide what motivates you.
For someone motivation could come from wanting to be healthy so that they could live a long life. For another it could be because they want to be able to go on hikes in the weekend.
For someone else it could be because they want to be able to play with their kids.
It could be because there’s a history of lifestyle disease that runs in their family and they want to put an end to it by taking care of themselves.
For you, it could be because you want to look good. You want to feel more confident, wear great outfits and be able to pull them off.
There is nothing wrong with that.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight because you want to feel good; you want to look good.
I’m here to tell you that.
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All of us have different value systems and we have different core values.
Core values could be things like growth, confidence, competence, success, happiness, beauty.
All of these are core values that people hold. And each of us has a different set of core values that we prize.
Your motivations would stem from your set of core values.
Someone may value health while you may not. And that’s why you don’t think it’s important to eat right or to exercise.
You could be someone who values success. Someone else may not value success. And it’s totally fine.
It is not our place to tell others what they should value.
Core values are shaped by circumstances like upbringing, your environmental conditioning and so many different factors.
These are values that guide your goals. They influence your decisions.
If you’re someone who values success, you could be very happy in a position which gives you great financial success. But which does not directly let you impact lives of people.
While in the same position, someone who does not value financial success. But someone who values impact would not be happy. Because they aren’t able to do things which align with their values.
So it’s important to look at it from that perspective.
Your outcome could be the same as the second person. But the reason you want to achieve that outcome could be different.
Here motivation comes into the picture.
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What I’ve noticed in the recent few years is that there’s a lot of virtue signalling going on in the online sphere and everywhere else in the world.
People feel that just because they hold certain opinions, they are morally superior.
They feel that just because they are not someone who strives to be physically attractive, that makes them superior. Which is a very weird way to look at things.
Such virtual signalling behaviour is very toxic.
I’ve seen celebrities who lose a lot of weight; who undergo a massive physical transformation.
And instead of being supportive; instead of using that as a source of inspiration. These people go out of their way to comment negative things:
“You’re no longer body positive since you have decided to lose this weight.”
It’s just a load of crap (for the lack of a better word).
You should try to stay away from such virtue signalling population.
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You would see a lot of cognitive dissonance in their own actions.
We invest a lot of time, energy, money into things that elevate our status. People are fine spending money on luxury goods like iPhones, luxury bags, high-end cars. Because they want to improve their status.
Then there is the cosmetic industry, which is a multi-million multi-billion dollar industry. And people spend so much money on makeup, on products that make them look a certain way.
And a lot of these virtual signallers are totally okay doing these things. But they aren’t okay with someone wanting to fix their nutrition and get in shape because they want to look good.
There’s this cognitive dissonance you can clearly see.
If you break it down into the most fundamental. We humans are tribal animals in a way. We are part of a tribe and we strive to do things which help us get more resources; help us gain more status.
That’s why people want to build their wealth. They buy things which make them look good. They buy expensive phones, cars, branded goods.
All of this stems from the fact that we want higher status. We want to do things which the tribe, the community, the people around us, the society finds desirable.
There’s nothing wrong with that. This is how we are wired evolutionarily.
We are tribal creatures, and that is how we have been wired. No amount of virtue signalling is going to change this.
Similarly, when someone wants to be more attractive, there’s a psychological reason behind that as well.
It has been established by research that people who are more attractive are thought to be more trustworthy, more honest, more competent and they in general have better opportunities.
It completely makes sense that you would want to aspire to improve your appearance so that you can have those benefits. So that you can feel more confident and have better opportunities in life.
It is completely fine to have aspirations like that. Just like it’s okay to desire more wealth or higher status through other materialistic means.
There’s no right or wrong here. But some people like to shame others for making different choices than them.
This is where the problem realizes.
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Because when other people shame you for having your intrinsic motivations, having different goals from them. It makes it harder for you to pursue these goals.
Like the person who posted in that forum that I was talking about earlier. It makes it harder for you to achieve your goals because you start to doubt yourself.
You start to feel like you’re a bad person for wanting to do things like that.
But I’m here telling you that you are not.
And this is just natural psychological behaviour. It is no different than wanting more wealth, wanting to put on makeup, wanting to buy luxury goods.
It’s just a different perspective of looking at things and a perspective that actually has benefits for you.
Because the moment you lose weight, even if it is just for appearance’s sake. You will also improve your health. It’ll improve your mood and your energy. So it has a carryover effect.
Unlike if you just bought a luxury vehicle. That’ll increase your status. Sure. But what else does it does for do for your health, for your wellbeing?
Does it have a carryover effect to other areas of your life? Like it would, if you had instead put the work into your body?
If you think about it that way, your motivations are leading to a result which not only serves your intrinsic goal, but also has spill over effects to other areas of your life; positive spillover effects.
There is no right perspective; no wrong perspective.
The only way you can manoeuvre around this is by understanding that some people are just stubborn in their nature. They have these very rigid opinions of things, and a very narrow worldview.
Sharing your goals with such people will make it difficult for you to reach your true potential. So be very selective with who you share your goals.
Share your goals with people who may have different perspective, but who are willing to accept that you could also have a different perspective. And they’re willing to see the world through your lens.
People who are willing to support you in achieving things that you wish to achieve. Which may not always be the same as what they want to achieve.
In fact, it is very rare that what I want would also be what other people around me want. That’s why it’s important to also find a community of people who have the same motivations as you; who are trying to do similar things as you.
You can then have a sense of belonging. You won’t feel alone when you are surrounded by people who have similar goals, similar aspirations, similar values, striving towards a common vision.
That helps you stay on track.
Unlike if you’re only surrounded by people who tell you all the time:
“This is so shallow. You’re so vain.”
Which is not the case at all. And even if you’re shallow, that is totally fine if it aligns with your value system and it serves you long-term.
So to end this episode. Losing weight for vanity is perfectly acceptable. If someone tells you otherwise, they’re just virtual signalling. They think they are morally superior because they have some saintly notion of how you should look at your body.
But there is nothing to really back their argument.
Psychological research shows that attractive people have more opportunities. They’re considered more trustworthy, more honest. And if you want to experience those benefits, you would actively work on yourself to achieve those benefits.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
And if you look at a lot of these virtue signallers, you’ll also see a lot of cognitive dissonance. They would be okay investing their money into other items like luxury goods, makeup, and would not think twice about it.
But the moment it’s something about working on your body and nutrition. There’s a sudden change of opinion.
So their opinion is not really something you should keep in high regard. At the same time, try to not discuss your goals with people like these, because it will demotivate you long-term.
Instead find a tribe of people who support you, who share similar values and who are willing to see your perspective as well.
Ones who are willing to accept that you may have different aspirations from them. And that it’s totally fine to have those aspirations.
If you have been trying to reach your weight loss goals for a while now, but are struggling a bit in the process.
It’s probably because of a lack of consistency, a lack of guidance or a lack of support.
If you’d like a 24×7 support system to hold your hand and guide you through the process till you get to your goals, you should consider 1-on-1 coaching with Workday Physique.