Beeeeep. Beeeeep. Beee–thwack!
Dang, it’s morning again already. I wish I could stay snuggled under the covers but my Inner Tyrant will have none of that. It’s time for my run. Who cares that my knee still hurts from yesterday?! “GET UP AND MOVE YOUR ASS!” she yells. (She’s always yelling). “DON’T YOU REMEMBER THAT YOU ATE CAKE LAST NIGHT?”
I spent more than 30 years believing my Inner Tyrant’s mantra that the only way to find happiness was through the perfect, skinny, buff body.
At her insistence, I exercised grimly and frenetically. I ran, kick boxed and did hot yoga. I jumped rope, biked and swam. I took every aerobic and weight lifting class I could find.
And I did them all with the militant discipline my Inner Tyrant demanded.
So WHY could I NEVER “get there?!” Why was the promised land of skinny, toned and happy constantly eluding me?
No matter how hard I worked out, I could never whip my body into the shape I desired. And during those fleeting times when I actually DID feel buff and thin enough, it did not seem to matter.
Despite my “success,” I still never felt happy. I actually felt increasingly more exhausted and depleted! Frustration and anger raged within me. It seemed my body was stubbornly determined to stay fat and flabby. It was infuriating.
Fast-forward 15 years, and my Inner Tyrant and I have learned to peaceably co-exist (most days). I still rely on her to motivate me when I’m in the mood for some ass-kicking cardio, but I no longer live by her rules. Today, it’s my body that calls the shots.
I now experience everything I used to want from my workouts –without the pain, torment and deprivation I once thought was essential.
And here’s the best part…
I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been. I feel my body’s strength. I KNOW her resilience and wisdom. Her gracefulness, her sensuality, her gentle but firm power. I am in awe of my body and what she does for me.
So how did I finally develop a workout routine that ACTUALLY works? And more importantly, what do I know now that can help you do the same?
Here are my 4 go-to tips for fixing any failing fitness regimen:
1. Shift your perspective. Your body’s natural state is health, love and ease. When you exercise with the intention of cultivating more of those qualities, your body will respond in kind. Relating to your body with aggressive abuse will only create stress and shame.
2. Make “how you feel” your new barometer. Exercise with the intention of cultivating inner qualities like feeling more energized, less foggy or more connected to intuition.
3. Exercise to nurture specific energies. Reboot your masculine drive with intervals or kickboxing. Reconnect to your feminine grace with restorative yoga or dance. Make it your priority to connect to a quality or energy that feels out of balance.
4. Dedicate your workout to a body part. As you workout, lavish your heart, spine or spleen with your full affection, appreciation and gratitude. Honor it with your laser-focused attention. Your cells will celebrate being seen by you.
5. Treat exercise as a gift to your body. Your body needs movement in order to thrive. Movement clears stuck and old energies, opening your body to an increased flow of life force and vitality. You’ll feel and perform better in everything you do.
These simple changes in focus will transform your relationship to exercising. When you begin approaching your workouts with the intention of honing your body to become the most well-tuned vessel for fully experiencing life and expressing yourself, your efforts begin to pay off in an amplified way.
But you don’t just take my word for it –try it for yourself. After all, what do you have to lose?
Isabelle Tierney, MA, LMFT, is a pioneering Eating Disorder therapist, life coach, energy healer and motivational speaker who transformed a 30-year bulimia struggle into an unparalleled reverence for the sacredness of the human body. She has helped thousands break unhealthy habits and heal their relationships with their bodies. Learn to love your body as a conscious, unconditionally-loving ally by joining the Body Beloved Renaissance.