If you ask people what their most important health and fitness goal is, the majority will say that it’s to lose weight. Weighing less has many benefits, but it doesn’t necessarily equate to good health. I have a client, who, when I began working with her, her focus was to get rid of her belly. In order to do this, she felt obligated to workout about six days a week, and felt guilty when she missed a workout. She used running to help relieve feelings of chubbiness, and did Sean T workouts even though some of the exercises felt uncomfortable for her body. At this time, she suffered from plantar fasciitis and tight hips, and didn’t feel good in her body. Over our time working together, her focus has changed from losing the belly, to feeling healthy overall, eating more nutritious foods, and not feeling pain. It’s as if, through this change of focus, she has decided to befriend her body, and respect what feels good for it, and what doesn’t. Since then she has done a cleanse that removed processed foods, and helped to squash her cravings for sugar, gluten, and cheese. She’s now craving clean foods like fresh greens with grilled chicken, and when she does eat sugar or gluten, she really notices how bad it feels in her body. In addition, she has implemented many tools to manage stress, such as meditation, yoga, and journaling. She has also become aware of her self critical voice, and now practices stopping it as soon as it pops up. She’s also more aware of when she feels pain, for example, when running or working out, and instead of pushing through it, she backs off from it, and looks to learn from it, and find ways to relieve the pain, for example, with stretching, strength training, foam rolling or a chiropractic visit. When I spoke with her recently, she said “I feel amazing. I feel thin, happy, and in shape.”
What would happen if, instead of focusing on the size of your body, you focus on being good to your body? You may not realize it, but your body talks to you. If you eat something, and you feel bloated, or get diarrhea or constipation, that’s your body telling you that food doesn’t work for your gut. If you can’t sleep at night, you have pain or stiffness in your body, it could be your body saying that it needs to move more during the day. If you’re getting headaches and feel tired all the time, your body may need more sleep, water, and more nourishing foods. I challenge you to make your focus about more than losing weight, make it about being good to your body, and see what you discover. Take thirty days to give your body nourishing, unprocessed foods, hydrate it with adequate water, allow it 7-8 hours of sleep a night, use techniques like yoga or meditation to reduce the effects of stress, and maybe even tell it how much you appreciate all that it does for you. When you become a friend to your body, and focus on treating it well, it will become a friend to you too!