After years of learning how to diet and that diets are completely self destructive,
After years of learning how to exercise and that over exercising damages my body and mind,
After all these years, we’re still making New Year’s Resolutions.
I get it. Despite my 20-year journey of self awareness, it’s still tempting to get sucked into the annual push for finding something wrong with my body, finding other bodies that are “better”, and making an urgent and vocal pledge to change it all…this time.
As I say every year, if resolutions worked so well, we’d make one in a lifetime and be done. But making lofty promises, based on self-hate, intended to last 365 days does not bring happiness, change, or growth. In fact, it does the opposite. It enforces self-judgment, comparison to others, and a constant, destructive focus on what’s wrong.
How do we make change then? Do we stay in uncomfortable relationships with food and body?
Lucky for you, I’ve tried the torturous path and can offer a few alternatives that have brought me peace in my heart and soul while evolving my body.
- Stop the tracking.
I asked a client why she weighs herself 1-2 times a day. With a very serious look, she said, “If I don’t keep track, how will I know I’m making progress?” Her tone told me to back off, but I wondered, progress with what? Is the success of every action determined by the number on the scale? Is the only benefit of what you eat and how you move, the weight your body holds?
Tracking steps or pounds can feel motivating in the beginning. Looking at numbers go up or down can feel like you’re in control. It’s also an easy trap of getting obsessed with an outcome. What happens when the number on the scale doesn’t move? Or, despite all your efforts, goes in the other direction? What happens when your schedule or your body prevents you from exceeding your daily steps?
Do you really need this external barometer? Can you pause and take note of how you feel? Really pay attention and feel your body. Feel your energy. Simply be.
- Enjoy your process.
This is a tricky one for those of us who like to do and get immediately rewarded with a drastic change in numbers and body shape. Tighten the abs, lift the butt, define the arms. Go ahead and take your action, but can you direct all your attention to the process of your activity?
If you’re walking or running in the cold, feel the air on your face and blood in your cheeks. If you’re lifting weights, feel the power and pay attention to your form. If you’re moving on an Elliptical machine, feel the flow of your arms and legs. Be in your moment. This is the only moment you have. Get out of what you think you did wrong in the past or the fantasy that you think awaits you in your future. BE HERE! Savor the sweat and the stretch and the strength you are building. Even if it sucks in the moment, be present for that beautiful you who is moving and showing up.
- Don’t take yourself or your body so seriously.
We are conditioned to think that our bodies should be small or curvy or tall or smooth. The reality is that we all have something unique about us and that is the essence of what makes each of us beautiful. Don’t wish away what makes you special. Let go of the ideal and embrace who you are.
You can still move your body, nourish with living foods, write down your feelings, and sit in meditation. But what if you laughed at the noises you make during your workout? If you missed a day at the gym without judgment or despair? Could you appreciate your curves and grooves?
Moving into a new year of unknown without a major commitment, but with small change is a challenge, particularly given the commentary around us. I’m here to offer you another way to be present and compassionate toward yourself.
Experiment steps 1-3 for three months. Take 90 days to try another way. Does that feel hard? Call me and I’d be happy to support you through this evolution.
Take back your worth, your self-respect. Honor your body and soul.