“Eat this, but not that, and you will lose weight." “Do this exercise and your body will transform." “Follow this meal plan to reach your goal." Anyone who is unhappy with their body, and has ever gone to a class at the gym, picked up a magazine, or had a conversation with friends, has at some point heard someone say something like one of these statements.
In this diet obsessed culture we live in, where everyone is either juicing, carb free, gluten free, sugar free, or dairy free, it's no wonder why so many people spend much of their time feeling pretty awful about the way they look. I get strange looks from people when I tell them I don't deprive myself of anything. People don't get it when I say I'm not being “good," or being “bad" today. I eat when I'm hungry, and I don't when I'm not. That's it.
During a recent spin class, my instructor shouted things about not gaining weight during the holidays, exercising so we can have extra portions, and feeling our bodies transforming as we rode our bikes. These comments got me thinking about what most people turn to for motivation. It's not about burning calories to eat extra portions, or hating our bodies so we workout harder, because if we loved ourselves more, we wouldn't feel the desire to consume more than our bodies need, and we would exercise because it is good for us. I wholeheartedly believe that the real transformations begin by changing our thinking.
Every time you talk yourself out of talking yourself out of exercising, you are changing. Every time you talk yourself out of emotionally eating, you are changing. Every time you love yourself exactly as you are right now, no matter what, you are changing.
People think if they could just lose ten pounds, they would be happy, but guess what? If you get happy, and your body is carrying unneeded weight, you will lose those ten pounds with very little effort.
Getting motivated to take better care of yourself from a negative place is really difficult, and is rarely long lasting. It's impossible to hate yourself skinny. Telling yourself, “I have to workout, so I can get rid of my love handles," or “I need to eat healthy so I can look good on my vacation," is not very kind, and in turn is not very inspiring. People wonder why they can't motivate, and it amazes me how anyone can think that it should be easy to take better care of themselves when they are constantly beating themselves up.
More effective thoughts would be things like, “I want to go workout because I love how strong/happy/energized it makes me feel," and “I want to eat a healthy meal because I love how much more energy I have than when I eat junk." When we change our thoughts, our feelings change, and when we feel better, it's much easier to take positive action.
The next time you go to read that article that claims to have the latest weight loss secret, remember there is no pill, cleanse, diet, or workout that can do what you already have the power to do... change your mind, and your body will follow. It's actually that simple. It feels so much better, and is so much more fun!