I had an entirely different post planned for today.
And then something pulled at my heart so strongly I knew I had to share with you.
Yesterday Krista Gray from Brit + Co published an article titled “15 Rules Fit Women Always Follow.”
Krista interviewed a group of incredibly bright, healthy, and inspirational women (including Jillian Michaels of The Biggest Loser and Jillian Lorenze, co-founder of The Barre Code). Little ol’ me was lucky enough to have her wellness ideas in the article. Not only was I included, but my tip is listed as number one.
The other tips in the article are great and I encourage you give it a read through (I especially love tip #14 from athlete Michelle Parker). But I believe my tip was top of the list because it looked beyond what we typically think of as fitness.
My tip was to focus on wellness first — not on appearances.
Which either seems super obvious or never crossed your mind.
For years the concept never crossed my mind. I focused on the wrong aspects of health. My goal was to look a certain way or to reach a certain weight. How I felt was inconsequential.
I deprived myself of eating foods I truly loved. I equated sacrifice with success. And deprivation with dutifulness.
I viewed exercise as an unavoidable chore. It was something I had to check off my list before getting to the next task. I would feel ridden with guilt if I missed a session and a little smug when I went to the gym more times than planned.
And despite my greatest efforts to control my diet and exercise consistently, my health wasn’t improving.
My mind and body were stressed out. And whose wouldn’t be, really? I was obsessed with ever-changing goals and at times unrealistic expectations.
And then a gradual shift occurred. My focus turned to self-care and self-love. I stopped wondering what I could do to lose a few pounds or to fit into my skinny jeans. Instead I started asking what could I do to support my body? My goals? My dreams?
I wanted to feel my best so I could be my best. The version of myself that was kind, attentive, energetic, and present. The version of myself that could give to and help others.
So instead of eating processed low-calorie food that left me hungry and without pizzazz, I started eating food that tasted delicious and left me energized and happy on the inside and out. Instead of drinking things I didn’t enjoy, I chose beverages that hydrated and nourished me.
Instead of exercising for the sake of exercising, I moved my body in ways that were challenging, fun, and left me feeling happy and healthy.
I filled my mind and leisure time with influences and activities that would make me feel more like the best version of myself.
And as a result, now I eat better. My food looks better, tastes better, and makes me feel better. I exercise because I want my body to be strong and healthy. My hobbies and work fill my cup instead of emptying it.
The beauty of this is that it’s completely sustainable. Because each decision I make is for my wellness —for my best interest. It’s not a sacrifice to turn down food that makes me feel bloated and cranky. It’s a gift to myself. It’s not a chore to exercise. It’s a way to honor and support my body. It’s not a waste of time to read an uplifting book. It’s enrichment for my mind and spirit.
Is every day perfect? Absolutely not! There are times when I make choices that don’t make me feel the best I can be. But I don’t torture myself about it. I learn from the experience and vow to treat myself better next time.
When your motivation is your personal wellness and overall health, you make better decisions instinctively.
It’s not a diet, or a fast, or an exercise binge. You don’t need to stress or obsess about going out for a meal or traveling.
You just make daily decisions to be and feel your best. And this change is real. Better. It is the true, effective, and sustainable path to lasting wellness.
Maybe you already do this instinctively. I commend you and encourage you to keep it up. But if your wellness is not your priority for fitness, consider a different way. Consider a way that puts the emphasis on feeling healthy and good in your body. Consider a way that encourages you to treat yourself with kindness and grace. Consider a better way.
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