If you are like me, this health and fitness stuff is all good and well but ultimately you just want to move in a way that feels good to your body, eat food you don’t stress over, spend time with people you care about and live your life doing more of the things you want to do and less of the things you do not. This is the reality I have cultivated over the years. But it didn’t always feel this way.
When done right, I truly believe your health and fitness are a catalyst for these things and I am not talking about a certain degree of leanness. I am talking about being able to do the things you want to do and not letting the health of your body or your own irrational fears hold you back.
Because it’s not about changing your body, it is about changing your mindset first and foremost and here is exactly how you can begin to do that.
Move Often. Ask yourself how you love to move and go do it!
Growing up in an active family sports were never really about “exercise.” They were about being active, healthily, and doing something as a unit, whether that was a team I was on or doing something with the family.
But trying to find movement fun in adulthood? I lost that for awhile.
I had a huge mindset shift a few years ago after experiencing, what I call, my 365 days of back pain. After finally healing, I developed bundles of gratitude simply for my body and what it does. I realized that exercise was about not doing more, but being more efficient in my workouts, in shorter amounts of time and including movement I truly enjoy and that feels good for my body.
But it all started with changing your mindset around movement. It is something that should enhance our lives not take away from it, and it is something we get to do!
How to move and improve your body. If you find you have this negative association with working out or being active I want you to make a list of all the things about why you feel it is negative.
It is too hard. It is something you have to do.
You have had a long day at work.
You don’t know what to do.
You have no one to move with.
Then replace each sentence with a positive outlook. It does not have to be hard. I get to do it. I can go for a walk. Moving makes my body feel good. Repeat your positive outlook over and over until you believe it.
Eat Simply. Oh food, how we spend so much time stressing and criticizing you, while indulging and spending time with you.
Here is the deal. We have to face food every day. The thing is, it does not have to be complicated and we should spend more time enjoying it, then stress or over OR under indulging with it.
So instead of viewing food as this dreaded thing or this excuse that you love food so much and that is why you eat, view food as information for your body.
Pay attention to:
How food makes you feel.
What triggers you to eat and why.
What you do in social settings?
What you enjoy and actually like. And what you don’t enjoy.
Take all this information your body gives you and learn from it.
Does eating fast food make you feel bloated? Do you eat everything on your plate no matter what? Practice leaving a few bites. Is wine something you enjoy? Well, please don’t get rid of it altogether.
The more you deprive yourself the more likely you are to indulge. So instead of this constant battle of restricting and then binging why not try eating mostly healthy and build in a few indulgences throughout the week so you don’t feel the need to overindulge or proclaim anything off limits.
How to eat simply ( with less complication & overwhelm).
For starters, spend less time and energy restricting and more time putting things into action.
Use, what I like to call, sabotage prevention foods. Food that prevent your own self sabotage.
Ask yourself. What are two things you love to include in your diet? Wine, cookies, peanut butter, a steak, bacon, a banana? Make sure you have a small portion a couple times a week.
Adding these foods in, in small amounts can actually work to prevent you from your own self sabotage, restricting for weeks and then indulging for days. Why?
Because you have been including these things in your diet so there is no need to overindulge and claim it as a cheat meal. This week, try to make your focus eating healthy and strategically place these things in your diet. While at first it can seem like a little bit of work, it will eventually become effortless, and that is the goals right? To make eating feel a little more effortless and a lot less stressful.
Live Freely. It sounds so simple but all we really want to do is just be happy right? Feel freedom in our lives, comfort in our own skin, and free from stress and negativity.
Here’s the thing. Struggle will always be a part of life and the more we can accept it as that, the less we will have to fight it.
One of my favorite quotes on happiness is by positive psychologist Shawn Achor.
“Happiness is the joy we feel working toward our full potential.”
Happiness is not an arrival or a claim that our lives are perfect all the time. Happiness is a journey and process of growth and as long as we are growing, we are thriving in a sense. In our relationships, in jobs and careers, and in our health.
Being stagnant sends us straight on the path to misery. And maybe not in the moment but eventually if you look back and you are exactly where you were 10 years ago in any area of your life, you may find yourself desiring more. The good news is that it is never to late. You can start right this very minute.
Be a happiness hunter?
Do something. Growth does not have to be this huge concept and is not achieved in one day. Or is it? The beauty of growth is that we can do little, tiny things each and every day to contribute to our well being and personal development.
Learn a new skill.
Read a personal development book and start your day with a fresh perspective.
Try a new exercise in the gym. Add some weight.
Learn a new recipe.
By practicing, learning, and opening up yourself to growth in smaller areas of your life, it will translate to bigger areas in your life.
Practice gratitude. I will leave you with this. The trouble with gratitude is, it works. In any given situation, if you can shine some light and appreciation on where you are and what you have in your life, you are well on your way to living a happier life. Because there is always beauty and opportunity in each and every day, challenges, and obstacles we face.