Making big sweeping changes is so difficult because people are naturally creatures of habit. When it comes to making healthier choices for food, exercise, mental and emotional health – that’s even harder. The unhealthier choices are easier and more readily available, and we are SO BUSY that taking extra time can seem impossible.
Plus, for me, when I set up rules and restrictions for myself it’s like I can’t help but want to break them. I’m no better than my three-year-old, really. So I fall off the wagon on every eating plan, every workout regimen, any challenge program. Between the difficulty of the time commitment in my always changing schedule, the fact that I like routine and what I know, and my natural dislike for rules… health and fitness has been a struggle.
I am obsessed with my Peloton bike and the motivation the instructors provide, and one day one of them said “treat your body like it belongs to somebody you love.” That has stuck with me and I have mulled it around in my head and heart for months. After some time, I realized I had not treated myself with love in a long time. All of my diet and exercise plans were to punish and change my body because I had gained too much weight. I was constantly beating myself up for not doing enough as a mom, a friend, at work… expecting more from myself at every step. I don’t treat the people I love this way. I constantly cheer my friends on for every positive step and small win. I give my kids grace for their bad days and always praise their effort.
I have started making choices based on “am I showing my body love?” I ask myself this when I want that dessert – would it be showing my body love? Sometimes, the answer is YES. I want it, it will make me happy. Sometimes the answer is no – I already feel lethargic or overate that day. It’s not restrictive on my eating. It works with exercise too. The exercise style that make my body feel loved are Peloton spin classes and yoga. I feel stronger, accomplished, and inspired after these types of workouts – so those are what I do. When I’m picking a workout that day, I ask “what does my body need to feel loved?” Sometimes it needs to burn some stress energy and get the motivation of good music and coaching in a spin class, and sometimes it needs the patience and strength of yoga.
This approach has helped adjust my eating to more vegetarian meals, because it makes my body feel good. I drink more tea and less wine, and I remember to take my vitamins everyday because these simple things show my body love, and that love makes it feel better. It’s helped me not feel guilty for rest days. It’s made me add foam rolling, stretching, and core workouts because I recognize it is good for my body – even if it isn’t burning all the calories of a spin class.
My favorite part of this approach is that it has nothing to do with appearance or a number on the scale. It is about treating myself kindly, showing love. It aligns with my entire life philosophy – that it’s all about spreading and receiving love. That alignment makes it easier to adopt, rather than something to fight.
Treat your body like it belongs to somebody you love. Make decisions meal by meal, day by day, workout by workout based on what your body needs to feel loved at that time. Recognize that it’s going to change from day to day. That will help you make healthier choices over time, building up to a healthier lifestyle.