Do you feel as though “tough love” and being hard on yourself is the only way to get results? Do you feel like you just need to “get your act together” and “grind it out”?
Yeah, I used to feel that way. I thought that shame and self-disgust and loathing and guilt were all helpful tools to impel body change. I’d be all fired up about a new workout routine or approach to eating because I was tired of feeling “gross.”
And it’s true, the first few intense workouts or days of eating “clean” can feel really good. But once you get past that “gross” stage, what is left to propel you forward? Nothing – until you skip back into “grossness.” And how damaging for your sense of self and of worth – view yourself as “gross” for long enough, and that thinking will infiltrate and infest other parts of your life as well. No bueno!
Thank goodness I was wrong. The latest research points to the benefits of embracing positive, forward-looking outcomes as powerful, potent motivators vs. attempting to move away from past states. How do we do that? I spell out five ways on my Instagram video series, or on Facebook.
Let’s get on the LOVE TRAIN!
Speak to yourself with love
Language: it starts with what we say to ourselves and about ourselves to others. Instead of saying, “I’m so gross and fat; I really need to go to the gym,” try saying “I love my lean, light body so I’m going to work out today.” Say things in the present tense; you want them to be true NOW.
Our subconscious minds have a “confirmation bias” – when they hear a statement of fact, they go looking for proof that it is true. And the more little “wins” you notice, the more your confidence builds, and the more your confidence builds, the more things you do. It’s the confidence-competence loop!
“Wow, I had a salad for lunch! I’m rocking healthful eating. Yeah, maybe I’ll go for a walk, too.”
Choose your focus wisely
Focus on what you want to GET, and not on what you want to get rid of. Why? What you resist, persists: where attention goes, energy flows. So if we’re constantly thinking about that last five pounds of fat, guess what persists? Yup, that darn five pounds of fat. Instead of giving it your energy and attention, focus on the positive things you DO want: a lean, light, fit, strong, muscular body. Focus on that!
Make loving food choices for your body
Eat foods that make you feel good: eating foods, or amounts of foods that make you feel bloated, gassy, over-full or lethargic is being MEAN to your body. It’s not a “cheat” (eating is not a test you can pass or fail); it’s not a “treat” (you are not a dog and food is not a reward for good behaviour). If you ultimately don’t feel good, physically and/or mentally, it’s being MEAN!
Now, there is no need to feel guilty about food (unless you’ve stolen it. From orphans). Eat what you love, and love what you eat. If you enjoy the taste of the food and your body feels good and performs well after eating it, that is love. Carry on.
Make loving movement choices for your body
Move your body in ways that make you feel good. There’s no denying it; our bodies were made to move. If you’ve ever felt the rush of endorphins after a challenging yet satisfying workout; or the calmness that comes from a gentle yoga session, you’ll know what I mean.
Staying still all day long is actually another way of being mean to your body and failing to show it love. Find activities you enjoy, and do them! Focus on what you enjoy and can and will do consistently, and let go of worrying about the “best” workout. The “best” workout is the one you actually do – consistently.
If you’re not quite where to start, you can check out my five (actually, six) recommended exercises for every strength program, as well as fundamentals of effective and efficient program design.
Splurge on sleep
Get adequate rest and recovery! Skimping on sleep is being MEAN to your body. When you stay up late, you make it hard to have an early start and productive day the next day. When you also get up early, burning the candle at both ends, you create additional stress on your body.
This stress impairs your recovery, your progress and your well-being. It can disrupt your hormones, lower your immunity and generally make you a cranky-pants (yes, that’s the technical terms). It’s mean to yourself AND to the people around you who have to put up with you!
Love is a good sleep. Nap up!
If you’d like to learn more about love-based coaching where we celebrate your awesomeness each and every week, I invite you to fill out an application. Or, simply book a FREE strategy call with me to see what simple changes you can make TODAY to move you closer to your health and fitness goals.
Have a fit day!