Ok here goes... this might seem a little controversial, even a bit bold perhaps, of me to say, but I am going to say it.... Your value and worth as person is NOT based on your weight, shape, size, the overall way you look or a number on the scales.
The reason I am writing about this today is because I am feeling quite overwhelmed by the amount of conversations I am hearing (especially in the lead up to summer), of how many of us feel that we need to 'loose weight', look a 'certain way' or fit into a 'certain size' by the time summer rolls around.
I guess what truly started this observation, has been a recent sign up to the gym. During the winter months I decided that it might be an idea to try the gym out again. It had been a while since I had been to a gym, and with the chilly and rainy weather feeling less than inviting, I felt that this could be a good way to increase my body movement - given that my office job is mostly sedentary. The gym had some great classes yoga. pilates, boxing etc, which I have enjoyed in the past, so I thought why not. As time progressed I realised that the classes that I really loved weren't always at times that suited my schedule. I decided to try some other classes, and for some unknown reason found myself in the middle of a weights class, on arm day.....(so out of my comfort zone). In this out of comfort zone space my thoughts were that I could approach this in one of two ways. Firstly, I could let myself feel overwhelmed, let that inner critic grow in strength and be hard on myself for not knowing what to do. Or secondly, have fun with the session, be ok with the uncertainty and the not being able to do it all. I chose the second option and had a blast!
This however made me reflect on other times in my life where my natural instinct would have lead me to the first option, not even seeing the second as a valid option. This also caused me to think about what motivates us to go to the gym, and which motivations can end up having a negative affect instead of a positive one.
If our motivations to go to the gym, exercise or eat in a certain way centre around weight loss, aspirations to look a certain way or be a certain size then there is a high chance that we will end up feeling absolutely miserable. The reason for this is because the goal is forever moving, we are never satisfied with just being, we are always aspiring for more loss or more physical body changes. We are sabotaging ourselves, putting ourselves down for enjoying certain foods and beating ourselves up for not losing enough, not being 'good' enough or disciplined enough.
So I ask you the reflect, what do you think would happen if we changed our motivations and thought processes? What if we engaged in physical activity, eating in a mindful way that felt right for our bodies, not put labels on right and wrong or good and bad and we just decided to engage because it is something that feels good, is fun, and makes us happy. What if we listened to our bodies and trusted what they needed for the day. I wonder what outcomes would come from this. Perhaps our fitness would increase? Maybe our bodies would have more energy and shift to accommodate this? Maybe we would feel good about ourselves instead of be hard on ourselves or letting the inner critic take the reigns? This might even bring fun, lightness and happiness into our lives, who knows?
When I reflect on this I know what I would rather chose. Life is to short to be hard on ourselves and exhaust ourselves with the put downs and self sabotages. So instead of taking actions today out of guilt, shame or being hard on yourself I encouraging you to engage in something fun, something that brings lightness and playfulness to the day, experience and see what happens :)