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Long before I started to offer my own coaching services, I was an observer of the fitness and wellness industries. You will probably agree with me when I say that most companies use physical appearance to sell their product. Whether it's with videos of fit people or "before and after" photos, the message is clear, "Do this program and you will look better."
This makes sense. If we're going to spend money on a program, we want to see that it will give us results. These fitness models and trainers, they are Photoshopped, tanned, made-up, well-lit, dehydrated advertisements for the product.
I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with wanting to look your best.
Physical results can be a powerful motivator and one component of your mantra.
I have observed that when our goals are purely about our aesthetic, we tend to waiver when we aren't seeing results.
Physical appearance is soooooo subjective. A bad day, bad lighting, a funky mirror, bloat, hormones, unflattering clothes, unconscious body comparisons....all these things effect how we measure if what we are doing is working or not.
Consequently many people that are "dieting" for weight loss have days when they aren't happy with the progress that they see and think, "Sod it, I'm eating some cupcakes."
I am certainly not anti-cupcakes. If you want to enjoy cupcakes, choose to eat them, savor them, enjoy the heck out of them.
But if your motivation for eating cupcakes is to drown your sorrows and make you feel better about your lack of results, then those cupcakes are not consistent with your commitment to be your most health-FULL self.
Those cupcakes aren't part of your plan to eat clean and not feel deprived, in this instance they're a consolation prize that will most likely regret tomorrow.
When we shift our wellness goals from purely outcome-based to behavioral-based, we won't strictly measure our progress by how we look, but by how we live. We trade goals like:
- Lose 20 lbs
- Look toned
- Fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes
For goals that are more like:
- Eat foods that nourish my body
- Practice mindfullness with respect to my health
- Try a new form of exercise once a month
- Trade one soda a day for a seltzer and lime
- Chew slowly and savor the taste of my food
- Incorporate balance and moderation into my daily routine
- Move as often as I can in a way that I enjoy
- Participate stress-relieving activities
With these types of goals we are creating good habits for our physical and mental beings. Our bodies will respond positively to these changes and we will see physical results. That's not the main goal, but rather a consequence.
So one a day when you're savoring nutritious food and squeezing in a workout, even if hormone-related bloat still obscures some of your recent muscle definition, that doesn't mean that you've failed at attaining your goals.
And what's more, we should begin to celebrate our physical beings for all that they ARE now, today, and not focus too much on what they are not.
Bigger muscles, slimmer figures, these things are relative AND ultimately not as important as feeling at home, comfortable and healthFULL in our bodies.
I trained yesterday with a group of women who were in their 70's. Some of them were more fit, flexible, and mobile than the others, but one thing they all had in common was they were exercising just to exercise.
They aren't working out every other day to have definition in their arms, look good in a bathing suit, or squeeze into those pre-pregnancy jeans. They are moving because they can and they need to, because mobility in their age group is a commodity.
I thought to myself,
"THIS! This is why we need to move!"
Movement is a gift, our bodies have expiration dates and we can't keep putting off taking care of them.
We need to act today in whatever small way we can to take care of our bodies and minds!
In the spirit of loving ourselves, today I want to challenge you to do two things.
1. If you don't already do so, practice speaking positively to yourself about yourself with one daily affirmation. It might feel silly at first, but by saying good things to ourselves about ourselves we can train minds to be more positive and to focus on all the good things about us. For more help, check out this article on mindbodygreene.com.
If you don't already do so, practice speaking positively to yourself about yourself with one daily affirmation. It might feel silly at first, but by saying good things to ourselves about ourselves we can train minds to be more positive and to focus on all the good things about us. For more help, check out this article on mindbodygreene.com.
Healthy minds come before healthy bodies.
2. Set positive behavioral (instead of outcome) goals for yourself. For example, "Lose 20 pounds" is an outcome-based goal, while "Eat until satisfied, not stuffed." is a behavior-based goal. Both are trackable goals, but behavior based goals you can meet on a daily basis while physical goals take longer to attain. Behavioral goals also ypically involve mental training that ultimately generate physical results.
To learn more about setting positive fitness goals click here!
I tried to think of some specific guidelines for how we should treat our bodies....how we should love ourselves and I kept coming back to 1 Corinthians 13 from the Bible.
It's a beautiful and illustrative description of love.
Amazing how well it captures what it is to care for ourselves and others:
Please share this post with the women in your life that might need a gentle reminder to love and care for themselves.