Dave Hargreaves Personal Training

IIFYM, Flexible Dieting & Personal Training at Doherty's Gym, Brunswick

Dave Hargreaves Personal Training

IIFYM, Flexible Dieting & Personal Training at Doherty's Gym, Brunswick

Weight Management, Body Image and Depression in Young People

Weight Management, Body Image and Depression in Young People

This might be a bit more confrontational and controversial than I usually get on this blog. Yes, even more controversial than “forget everything you know about getting into shape” last week!

I decided to write a bit of a handbook on weight management for young people, mainly because (as usual) there’s so much bad information out there that I wanted to set straight. There are so many urban myths out there particularly in relation to nutrition, which just makes everything seem much more difficult and complicated than it needs to be. Worse than that is the tendency for people to get into unhealthy, destructive habits due to following unsound advice from their peers.

To get into shape, you don’t have to give up all your favourite foods and you don’t have to torture yourself with excessive amounts of intense, unpleasant exercise. I’ve covered this in the blog already, and gone over it in extensive detail in my “no excuses, no bullshit” online program. For now lets just say that everything that usually scares people off the idea of a diet and exercise program is actually rubbish that won’t help you anyway.

Aside from being able to differentiate good advice & information from bad, the biggest problem out there is that the media, tv and press in general treat people like morons. Young people in particular. We gotta walk on eggshells or the young people are all going to feel too much pressure to look like underwear models, right? Absolute garbage!

You’re going to find I am quite blunt and direct, and I tend to just lay out the facts in black and white. That’s out of RESPECT, more than anything else. Pussy footing around is pointless anyway. My style is more like this;

Here are your options.
Option 1. Quite easy and enjoyable to do, and leads to the desired outcome.
Option 2. Much less enjoyable and leads to an unpleasant, undesirable outcome.
Now; you choose.

For some reason instead of just spelling it out, we’re supposed to tip toe around the issue because young people are so fragile and delicate that they can’t handle it? I was young once myself (actually, I was young several times!) and I’m pretty sure I would have found that idea offensive. I won’t insult your intelligence like that. I’m going to give it to you straight, and if you follow the guidelines that I give you you will get results.

The bottom line is, if you’re reading this it’s probably for one of two reasons. Either you NEED to do something about getting into shape for health reasons, or you’ve just decided to take more of an interest in health and fitness and get into shape just because you want to. Either you’re quite happy with the rest of your life but in the back of your mind you really know you should do something about getting into shape, OR it’s possible that you’re actually quite unhappy in general and this is just one area you’d like to make improvements.

Apparently it’s very incorrect to suggest that people might be happier if they lost weight and/or got into better shape. It’s DANGEROUS, apparently – especially with young people. It’s going to make them feel too much pressure and get depressed, right?

Well, again; I refuse to buy into this line of politically correct garbage. It is a natural human instinct to want to better oneself, to pursue goals and strive for success. If this were not true, we would still be living in caves banging rocks together as tools. So, while we encourage people to quit smoking for their health, we compliment people on their appearance when they get a new hairstyle or outfit, there was even a line of cosmetics with the famous slogan “because you’re worth it”… why then do we discourage people from taking up a healthy exercise and nutrition program which will benefit both their health AND appearance? Instead we tell them “oh, why would you want to do that? You don’t need to lose any weight, you’re a beautiful person!”

I put it to you that if someone decides to make the effort to do something for their health, appearance, and happiness; a good friend would encourage and support them, rather than dismissing the idea by telling them “you are fine the way you are”. It seems that when it comes to health and beauty, we are happy to encourage people if they are simply spending money aka retail therapy, but not so much when it comes to making a physical effort and changing unhealthy habits.

Why would that be?

That’s not a rhetorical question. This is one of the few things in the world that I do NOT have a theory on.

So anyway. I reject the idea that people are depressed because of society’s expectation on them to look a certain way. Quite the opposite, I put it to you that people naturally want to be at their best, but are held back by a lack of support or encouragement from those around them. Maybe it is a form of tall poppy syndrome, where people don’t want to see other people get ahead, be happier and achieve their goals. Or it could just be what I call “dream killers” – negative people who love to take the wind out of your sails by telling you “eh, why bother… you won’t succeed anyway” whenever you’re all enthusiastic about life and pursuing some goal you have set for yourself.

As far as body image is concerned; I put it to you that if people are depressed, it is because they feel inside that they are not reaching their full potential as an individual, but also feel that they are being told “no, this is all that you are supposed to be. Stop thinking you are better than you really are”.

Of course, here I’ve only talked about the psychological aspect of why people might feel better if they got active. It should almost go without saying that when fuelled properly with the right amounts of nutritious foods and stimulated by physical activity, the human brain will function a lot better. This means the correct balance of hormones that support feelings of happiness and general well being. It stands to reason that poor nutrition and inactivity will have the opposite effect.

Much more to come on this subject in the following few days. Stay tuned!

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