One of my favorite sayings about the weight loss process is:
“If you aren't losing weight with pleasure, you are probably doing it wrong.”
It is my strongly held belief that we must take pleasure in the process. If we don’t, we cannot expect sustainability. Who wants to keep doing something that makes us miserable?
Recently in a group call, I was telling some clients that “All self-care practices should feel good before, during, and after you do them.”
One client mentioned that she does not like to exercise…she has to “pull her hair” to get started and when she is doing it she is not happy, she is sweating, and it doesn’t feel good.
I was a little stumped.
But another client helped out and she shared how taking it easy with her workouts has been great for her. She used to think that she had to “work really hard” or it wasn’t a true workout. But she has let that go and now she does feel good before, during, and after the workout.
What is happening here?
We have been taught by society that we always have to be doing more, that we have to work hard, that we have to be productive, that it is never enough, and ultimately that WE are never enough.
I would like to counter all of that and encourage you to slow down and be much more kind and gentle toward yourself.
The reason that we think dieting and fitness are so hard is that we think we have to WORK at it.
So, how do we lose weight in a pleasurable and enjoyable way?
Well, first we have to slow down.
Then we have to listen to our bodies
Then we have to be way more gentle than we are used to being toward ourselves.
Then we can take one small action step.
Make that step something that you feel good about.
The easiest rule to remember is: “Do things that feel good to you before, during, and after.”
Yesterday we talked about how eating a donut usually feels really good before. A little bit less good during (they’re usually not as tasty as we think). And pretty bad after (gas, bloating, fullness, regret, guilt, shame).
That is not something that is truly bringing you pleasure. Or maybe sometimes it is.
I know that I enjoy eating a delicious, high-quality dessert at restaurants or eating a nice cup of ice cream on a hot day.
Those experiences feel good to me before, during, and after.
But when eating something that “appears” tasty, that you are addicted to or have strong cravings for but that is not good for you and that you eat mindlessly, that does not feel good.
So back to the client who dreads her workouts.
What if she were to do less?
A novel concept, I know!
How about if she did something that she looked forward to and that was fun that also made her feel energized and vital afterward? Wouldn’t that be better? Wouldn’t that be more sustainable? Wouldn’t that be something she could build on?
When it comes to fitness…you have your whole life to do it (and you should plan on doing it for your whole life). You have your whole life to get stronger, leaner, and fitter. What’s the rush?
As you get stronger and fitter, you’ll do more. Your activity level will match your fitness level and it won’t feel like torture.
Actually, when I work out, it feels like a “good challenge”. It hurts, I’m sweating, and sometimes I grunt!
But it feels good!! I like it!
The difference between me and someone that hates their workouts is that I am doing what my body AND mind are ready for.
If you hate your workout, you’re doing stuff you are not ready for. The same goes for food!
Take it slow and steady. Find small, tiny, super easy action steps and do those.
You don’t have to be a workout guru just yet. And you don’t have to be a perfect eater (ever).
If you find yourself avoiding your workouts or not eating more veggies, there is a reason for that.
Most likely you’re doing too much, too soon. But there could be other reasons (this is what we explore and solve for in our programs).
Remember, the goal is to take pure pleasure in your self-care practices.
When you can take pleasure in your self-care practices you are doing them for the pleasure of it. You are doing something because it makes you feel good before, during, and after!!
That is the goal and anything less than that is not sustainable and does not build truly holistic health.
Trust me on this one and try it out!!