No, Working Out Won’t Make Your Legs Longer: Shift Your Focus for a Better You

Many times in my career as a health coach I have heard clients say to me, “I wish I had longer legs, a shorter torso, smaller butt, narrower hips.” etc….

For these people, I clearly pronounce that wishing for something you don’t have is nothing short of an exercise in futility. My simple response is generally, “You’ve got to work with what you’ve got.”

Realistically, there are only so many things we can change about ourselves. No matter how clean you eat or how much you exercise, you aren’t going to be able to change your basic body structure—sure you can blast fat and build muscle, but that can’t make your legs grow longer or your torso shorter.

Basketball was always my favorite sport, and I remember when I was a sophomore in high school, I got an opportunity to try out for the senior varsity team. Walking into those tryouts was just a little bit intimidating. The gals were all so tall — even the guards were tall.

At 5 foot 7/12 inches, I was certainly one of the shortest trying out, especially for the position I wanted to play, swing forward. Oh, how I longed to be just a couple of inches taller—what an advantage I thought this could bring me.

Then, someone very dear to me said those same words I repeat to clients today, “You’ve got to work with what you’ve got.” And so it was to be, if I wanted to play ball, and I really did, I would have to accept my vertical challenge and make the most of it.

On defense, my lack of height was actually an advantage when we played one-on-one, as it brought me closer to my opponent’s belly button—where the belly goes so does the player! In the end, shifting my focus to what was good about being a short swing forward allowed me to make the best of who I was and actually improved my game. It is amazing how a little curve in thought can bring such positive results.

How often do you find yourself wanting to be someone you’re not, perhaps even coveting what other people have? When we do this, it completely derails us from being the best we can be. When you put too much focus on wishing to change something about yourself that can’t be changed, you lose the energy to really work on the things you can change.

Whether you’re tall, short, heavyset or petite—everyone can make the best of their uniqueness. When you find yourself standing in front of the mirror wishing for unrealistic things, try to consciously bring yourself back to reality and focus on those things you have control over, such as what you are eating, how you are managing stress, and how you exercise.

Focus ConceptYou may find it useful to keep a journal of your goals—be sure to keep these realistic. Each time you feel yourself slipping into the land of “I wish,” pull out your notebook with your realistic goals and recite them to yourself.

Also, don’t be afraid to list all of the advantages that your seeming disadvantage offers you. This allows you to focus on the good that can come from those things you can’t change. In time, you will find yourself celebrating who you are, and this frees up a ton of energy to be the best you can be!

-Susan Patterson

Susan is the Content Director at The Alternative Daily, a Certified Health Coach, Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor and Master Gardener. With an extensive knowledge of whole foods and wellness, Susan enjoys educating others on how to live healthy and sustainable lives. She presently lives off grid in the middle of the New Mexican high desert with her three children and numerous animals.

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