I’m pretty kind when it comes to others, but it’s a completely different story when it comes to myself. I think we all have a tendency to be especially unkind to ourselves and our bodies when it comes to thinking about exercise, fitness, and diet.
This is something I’m consistently working on. It’s easy to get mad at yourself for not going to the gym or it’s easy to feel guilty about not eating as healthy as you feel you should, but those negative feelings are just as detrimental to your body’s health as the piece of cake you’re regretting.
Recently I have realized just how exhausting it all is. When I was 160 pounds, I wanted to be 140. Once I reached 135 pounds, I wished I were 130 and consistently worried about putting the weight back on. It’s forever, it’s tiring, and it’s unnecessary. With this in mind, I have been trying to shift my focus to health instead of appearance. I think this slight change in mindset has really helped relieve some of the pressure and has enabled me to be more kind to myself.
By thinking in terms of what my body wants and needs, I am loving it more fully. To me, loving my body means eating balanced meals, getting outside & getting active a few times week, but also giving my body space to relax. It means I can treat myself to a brownie and not calorie count in my head to try to reassure myself it’s okay. It means if I don’t want to push myself to go to the gym, I can just go on a walk in my neighborhood and feel like I did something equally as beneficial and restorative for my physical (and emotional) wellbeing!
I think this change in mindset is crucial when trying to stick with a healthy diet or fitness plan. Whether you love your curves or are eager to get in better shape – it is important to think in terms of health. Both big and small can be beautiful, as long as the body is treated right. So instead of thinking about size, think about your body’s wellbeing and what it needs to thrive. If you’re feeling discouraged because you’ve tried to lose weight for a long time, I know it is easy to convince yourself that the healthy diet is not working and therefore you should just eat what you want. But don’t give in! Whether you’re seeing the results you really want or not, eating right has incredible effects on your body that may not be visible. Your body can’t change overnight but as soon as you start changing the habits, there are tons of other health boosting effects you may not notice right away.
Reality check: Unfortunately, you (like every other human) are not immune to needing exercise. We cannot be sedentary and miraculously live healthy lives. So at some point, we all have to love our bodies enough and decide to put in some effort and find some kind of activity we enjoy doing! There are a lot of things to choose from, so get out there and try something to find what activity can keep you healthy. As you age, this will be incredibly important. SOOOO many studies link health to movement – doesn’t really matter what you do but physical activity is what keeps us all agile and strong.
For me, I’ve always been fairly active because I enjoy sports and working out but there are times when it is rough to find the time or the energy – we all have that. I try to find a healthy balance of playing frisbee, doing yoga, taking walks or runs in the neighborhood, doing stretches and home aerobics work outs, going to the gym, or hiking. Yet sometimes I drop the ball. For example, I hadn’t been to yoga in so long that my classes expired. I was so bummed I almost didn’t go back to the studio, but today I got my act together and went in to ask for my classes back. They made me pay for one class today, and in exchange I got all ten classes back and can use them for the next 3 months! I am so excited to get back into my yoga practice and am so glad I didn’t use this as an excuse to keep putting off yoga class…
When thinking about my fitness, my diet, and my body’s health, this shift to focusing on wellbeing instead of appearance has been enlightening.I’m lucky to have the support of an incredible partner who lifts me up on the daily, whether I feel like the most beautiful and healthiest being on the planet or whether I feel guilty for not treating my body better. It’s a consistent up and down but keeping health and wellbeing at the center, relieves a lot of pressure that is otherwise an exhausting cycle of self destructive thoughts and actions. So break the cycle and love your body by treating it with the respect and kindness it deserves.