Last updated on Jun 23rd, 2021 at 04:11 pm

Competition is NOW CLOSED.

By: Nikki Cockcroft, Global Chief Marketing & Technology Officer at Virgin Active South Africa

Body positivity and the feeling of being comfortable in your own skin when you stand on the scale can be tough to master…

Especially when we are so often assaulted with unrealistic body standards from an impressionable age – from airbrushed billboards and catwalks to window displays and store mannequins. These expectations of perfection – as if such a thing exists – are ubiquitous within popular culture and often place societal pressure to ‘fit the mould’ of what a healthy body weight should be.

There is no mould, you broke it! There is no one like you and that should be celebrated. Virgin Active supports Women’s Healthy Weight Day on 21 January which acts as a reminder to celebrate the body you are in and to think about what healthy weight means for you and all your unique characteristics or circumstances.

What is Women’s Healthy Weight Day?

Women’s Healthy Weight Day strives to encourage body positivity and reminds us that often we are our own worst critics. And while the day is for women, let’s be conscious of the way in which men are also affected by similar pressures.

The day tries to do away with harmful diet culture and excessive exercise routines through the understanding that a healthy, happy and nutritious lifestyle that includes regular movement can improve our physical and mental health, while nurturing more self-love.

Here are five easy ways to work towards your personal healthy weight and to cultivate body positivity this Women’s Healthy Weight Day (with a chance to WIN with Virgin Active)

1.     Set up the game so you always win

Movement is such an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, especially now when so many of us are working from home/the couch/bed with little reason or motivation to get out of the house. And in the battle between getting active and Netflix – which usually wins?

It’s super hard to motivate yourself to get up and be active, especially after a long fitness hiatus, but it’s always such a massive win. No one can dispute the effect of endorphins on the way you feel about yourself.

At Virgin Active, we are passionate about helping people live active lives. Living life active has nothing to do with whether you can fit into that pair of jeans stuffed at the back of your cupboard or whether you’re running marathons every second weekend.

It’s about the ability to be able to move freely and to comfortably enjoy more of the things that life has to offer. Whether you’re looking to develop a stronger mind-body connection through Yoga, become energised through the power of dance or want to focus on improving your cardiovascular health, we make it our business to offer something for everyone.

Your goal is our passion. Your healthy weight is something that we can help you work towards, but it’s not something we’d ever dictate.

The trick to ‘winning’ is to set yourself small, realistic goals that are achievable. This is the best way to stay motivated. As you get fitter, your milestones will increase. Be sure to set yourself up to win, like starting with a 20 minute walk. Once that’s completed, congratulate yourself and set a slightly more ambitious challenge.

2.     Find your tribe

Exercising with friends, family, colleagues, a personal trainer, your kid or even your pets (except cats, because they’re just judgy), can help to drive long-term commitment and keep motivation levels high in the long run.

Whether you do this through an online community or meet up in person, in a socially-distanced manner of course, it will help you stay accountable and give you a sense of purpose and belonging. Surrounding yourself with likeminded people who support your goals is the best way to get affirmation which will drive positive reinforcement.

Whether you move with us in a club or online from the comfort of your living room or garden, you can find your tribe at Virgin Active. We’ve also built community integration into our latest programmes and it’s been inspiring to see the support our members give each other and how they help to raise each other up.

3.     Just start

Research shows that if you are trying to make a meaningful lifestyle change, the easiest way to do so is to start a new positive habit. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t consider changing harmful habits or negative thought patterns, it’s simply easier to stick to a fresh determination in the long run. Something to consider as you set yourself healthy, realistic goals for the year ahead.

We’ve had great feedback about the ability to start something new in the safest of spaces (your own home) with our online classes. Many people feel intimidated about trying something new because they don’t feel confident or perceive that they might be judged, so they simply avoid it. Online classes give you the opportunity to try something new and really get stuck in to build your confidence. From there the transition from solo to group exercise is much easier.

4.     Balance

Your healthy weight goals can’t be divorced from nutrition, of course, but try not to get stuck into fad diets and eating trends. Healthy eating is a lifestyle change that should focus on giving your body the right kind of fuel to keep you active and healthy.

Mindful cooking and eating is key, be conscious about what you need, what you get and how what you eat makes you feel. Of course, if you’re focussed on a specific goal like weight loss for example, it’s always a good idea to visit a dietician or nutritionist who can help you establish a balanced diet that doesn’t leave you feeling deprived or bad about yourself.

5.     Engage change

There’s no such thing as one ‘body’ size fits all. There’s a need for more diversity in the wellness space and less stigma to help cultivate a sense of belonging – and it starts with each of us. Consciously choose what or who you engage with (especially online) to be exposed to less of what is dragging you down and more of what inspires you.

Following body positive ambassadors on social media can be a great source of inspiration.

How to WIN with Virgin Active

Wherever you are in your journey to a healthy lifestyle that prioritises your physical and mental wellbeing, remember that our bodies change naturally as we age, experience a lifestyle shift (hello pandemic) or as our priorities change.

Try not to compare yourself to others – we’re all on our own path with challenges that are unique to each of us. But do put yourself first, it’s hard, but it’s worth it.

Write down what healthy weight means to you (and you alone) and the steps you can take to move towards that. By doing that you’ll have a goal and a plan. Feeling good in your own body and being proud of your achievements as you stride to a healthier, happier you is one of the best feelings in the world.

12 Readers stand a chance to WIN a month-long nationwide subscription to any Virgin Active of their choice for the month of March.

Competition closes Sunday, 21 February 2021 at midnight.

Ts&Cs apply:

  • If you are already a non-paying corporate member, you may transfer your prize.
  • If you are already a member, we will extend your contract for free for a month.
  • The membership is a Premier membership which means that you will have access to all clubs in SA (excluding Collection) and full access to Virgin Active Online.
  • By entering the competition, you accept All4Women’s standard terms and conditions. Delivery and claiming of the prize is the responsibility of the agent/brand behind the competition, and the prize winner. All4Women is not liable for any issues regarding delivery of the prize. Winners who don’t claim/receive their prize within 30 days, will unfortunately forfeit the prize.

 

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.