All too often I hear people say, “I HAVE to workout”. I am one of those people. Most of the time I don’t mean that I have to, I mean that I want to. For the most part, I enjoy going on a run or going to the gym. I don’t always enjoy the act of strength training but I like the feeling of accomplishment and the endorphins you get from working out. I think one of the main reasons I say I “have to” is because that’s what is engrained in our minds. Kind of like we “have to” go to work or “have to” go to school. It’s something you’re told to do so you automatically put it in the “have to” category instead of the “want to”. What would happen if you decided taking care of yourself was something that you wanted to do and not something that you had to do? Would it change the way you thought about fitting in exercise? Working out and eating right shouldn’t be a chore, it should be a blessing. A blessing that you have the ability to walk, a blessing that you have the knowledge to make smarter choices.
Changing your mindset from telling yourself it’s something that you have to do to something that you want to do makes a much bigger difference than you think. This is something I learned while losing weight and learning to eat right. I was stuck in the “I can’t have that”, “I can’t go there”, “I can’t drink that” mindset and it was miserable! Constantly telling myself that I can’t wasn’t going to lead to lasting weight loss. I needed to get to the point where I didn’t WANT the 500 calorie frappuccino or the ridiculously sugary cinnamon roll. Once I started educating myself on the effects junk food has on your body, eating clean became a whole lot easier. I no longer craved the crap food because I knew the feeling I’d get after eating it would be unpleasant. Don’t get me wrong, I still to this day love a good In n’ Out hamburger but it’s a rare treat now and not a weekly lunch choice. Ultimately my health, both mental and physical, is way more important to me than the brief pleasure I get from eating the hamburger. In the beginning it’s going to feel like a constant battle between your stomach and your mind but I promise it gets easier and it will be worth it! The lasting feeling of accomplishment you get from taking care of yourself far outweighs the taste of the cookie.
Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be chore. Next time you go for a walk enjoy the process. Breath in the fresh air, listen to the birds, feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and it will quickly become something that you want to do. Don’t focus on the negative reasons you’re walking, ie to lose weight or because your Dr. said you needed to. Constantly associating exercise with negative thoughts will never lead to a healthy lifestyle. Instead try associating exercise with all the positive effects: stress relief, increases your metabolism, reduces your chances of heart disease and cancer, builds confidence, etc.
Change your mindset, change your life.