In my practice, I teach women how to be more connected to their bodies. Because when we turn away from our bodies, that’s how we one day put on those pair of jeans, or step on the scale, to see we’ve gained considerable weight without noticing.
And the first step to reconnecting to one’s body, is to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied. (of which I will write much more about in upcoming posts)
But another step, and one I want to talk to you today about, is exercise.
Now I know a lot of your are cringing, and going to skip reading any further. You are so sick of trying to exercise and dislike it so much, you can’t even imagine that I have anything new or enlightening to share.
It can change your entire outlook and attitude towards exercise, and get you motivated in a whole new way. And it can ultimately change your body.
And if you want to lose weight, have a healthy relationship with food and with your body, you’ve got to get your body moving with some form of exercise. But WHY you need to do it is not what you think.
So here it is:
Don’t approach exercise as a weight loss tool.
(gasp! Oh no! She’s crazy. of course that’s why I exercise!)
Bear with me.
I use exercise as a way to connect to my body, to lighten my spirit, set my priorities, change the way I (and others) see myself, and to connect with my emotions. I don’t approach exercise as a weight loss tool. Sure, I have in the past, but that was when I’d lose the weight, and then eventually stop exercising and would have a hard time going back to it.
It was this vicious cycle of hating it (but doing it anyway) and then once the weight came off, I would slowly slack off. And before I knew it, my butt was on my couch more than it should have been.
The weight would slowly come back. So I’d hit the gym again, thinking I needed to “feel the burn” in order to lose the weight. And that stupid cycle would continue.
So why the heck couldn’t I be consistent in my exercise regime?
You see, for most of us, we exercise because we expect something in return: to lose weight, a firmer body, a flat stomach, killer abs, an amazing butt. We exercise based on what it will get us. And so many people take from exercise what they can get, and often this leads to not liking it and doing activities that are not enjoyable.
Instead, I want you to use exercise as a way to GIVE to yourself.
You are giving, without the expectation of anything in return.
Read those last two sentences again.
Now technically, when you exercise you do get something in return. But I want you to start identifying only with the giver part of you. Give yourself the gift of exercise without expecting anything in return.
Think of it as a Christmas gift, one that you give to someone you love, even though they may not give you something back. You do it out of total and complete love for the person. You give, even something small, but you give the gift simply for the feeling of giving.
Now I want you to think of exercise as a gift you give yourself a few times a week.
Give your body the gift of strength, movement, health, kindness, and time. Let your body know that it is worth your time and energy.
An easy way to think about it, is that you’re starting (or continuing) a healthy relationship with your body. One that you love, without the expectation of anything in return.
So forget about exercising to lose weight.
And think about exercise as something you enjoy and makes you feel good.
If you love classes, go to the gym. If you love the outdoors, take a walk, even if just around the block. If you love to dance, get out and dance. Just try and find something that will entice you enough that it becomes a habit.
Just like the example of giving a Christmas gift (yes, I’m talking about Christmas in July!), that as the giver it will make you feel good to give. It shouldn’t feel draining, or exhausting, or a burden. Instead, it is something you are adding to your life to make it oh, so much better.
By doing this — you are telling your body, and yourself — that you matter. That you are a priority. That you are worth it.
You are also communicating to yourself, and the world, how you should be treated:
For the sake of health.
For your emotional and physical strength.
Because you matter.
You are worth it. Your body is worth it. Your life is worth it.
I truly believe that what you put out in the world, you will get back. Ten fold.
What you give, you will receive.
So I ask you to begin developing a relationship with your body. Stop fighting with your body and instead have an intimate relationship with it. Tell it you will not fight against it anymore. But instead, that you are learning to listen to it and live in cooperation with each other — you and your body.
So put on your sneakers, or your dancing shoes, or your yoga outfit — and get out there.
And do it.
You deserve it.