‘Exercise because you love your body, not because you hate it’, is a piece of advice I’m always handing out.
It’s easier said than done, I know.
Thought patterns are hard to kick. What’s more, a lot people are reluctant to change their mindset simply because, often subconsciously, they believe that giving themselves a hard time about their bodies is the only way they’ll stay motivated to do what takes to get fitter, healthier and/or slimmer.
Whilst yelling at yourself about how fat or out of shape you are might seem an effective way to push yourself into exercising, in reality it’s a terrible strategy.
Not only does it make you feel crappy, it doesn’t even work.
You might be able to shame yourself into a workout or two that way. But, in the long run, that negative self-talk is highly demotivating and usually perpetuates a cycle of lethargy and comfort eating.
It takes a bit of effort and some “internal work” to make the shift. But, trust me, once you start to exercise because you love your body, not because you hate it, you enter a wonderful new realm of motivation and good feelings.
People see someone else in good shape and think, “It’s alright for them, when you’ve got a body like that it’s easy to motivate yourself to exercise”.
Have you ever considered why?
What this is saying is that if you’ve got a body you feel good about it’s easier to motivate yourself to exercise.
Problem is, people decide not to give themselves permission to feel good about their bodies until they’re a particular shape or size.
This is getting it backwards.
You need to start working on feeling good about your body now. Appreciating the body you have is going to help keep you in the right frame of mind to take good care of it – which is going to lead to you getting fitter and healthier.
I know it’s not easy, especially if you’ve spent years hating on your body, or you’re desperate to get your body back to how it once was, or body-shaming yourself has been the only thing that “worked” to motivate you in the past.
But let’s get real. And let’s get some definite intention to change your mindset.
To move forward you need to accept it’s time to change how you think about your body.
Face it, if you’re not happy with your body your current strategy is not working for you.
You need to let that negativity go and take a new approach.
It won’t sink in right away, you’ll just have to keep reminding yourself of the rational reasons for your new way of thinking.
Fully accepting that your thinking needs to change is a major leap. Don’t underestimate it.
You may feel a bit empty at first and unsure what to replace that negative internal chatter with. Don’t panic. Give yourself time, you’ll find a better, more helpful way to talk about yourself to yourself.
The best piece of advice I can give you, and this is what has worked for me, is to learn to appreciate what your body can do.
Whatever condition you’re in, there will be someone out there who would swap bodies with you in a heartbeat. Think how much they’d appreciate your body if it was suddenly theirs.
If you have any physical ability to exercise at all, that is huge – do not take it for granted.
If you can simply walk, that’s an amazing gift.
There may well come a day when the physical prowess we currently have (how ever limited) is snatched away. The best we can hope for is that it slowly diminishes with age.
In the last years of life do you want to remember how much you enjoyed your vigorous earlier years? Or regret that you didn’t move and appreciate your younger body when you had the chance?
Those of us who can exercise are lucky.
Personally, I believe we owe it to everyone who ever cared enough about us to help us get to this point in our lives to appreciate that ability.
That includes ourselves, by the way.