Love Thyself For Long-Lasting Change

by: Debbie Stiller, Director of Wellness and Aquatics / Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex

A friend of mine just asked my opinion on wearable fitness trackers. She wonders if seeing that thing on her wrist will motivate her to move.  She is wondering if it will make her more accountable … more able to stick to the “rules” she has set for herself.  The answer to that question is of course “maybe” or “maybe not.” Not a very helpful answer, is it?

Here’s what I think – and not because I am any kind of behavior expert, but because I know all the mind games I have used as a means to achieve the strict and rigid standards I have set for myself over the years  and how I invariably end up feeling really bad about myself when I fall short.   Setting realistic goals, whether fitness, health related or other, can absolutely lead to personal growth and change, but it is equally important – maybe even more important, to be kind to yourself in the process especially because the process of growth and change can be painful.

What has been so hard for me and I am sure for others as well, is realizing that true and long-lasting change does not come from following rigid guidelines for eating, exercising, relationship matters etc.  These rules/guidelines may work for a while and may even get you the results you were hoping for.  I know that for me those changes did not give me what I really wanted which was really more about my feelings of self-worth.  If I learned anything over the years it is that learning your own intrinsic self-worth and value is the truest motivator for taking care of yourself.  If you truly value yourself, you will do what is necessary to take care of the one body you have!  In order to change the way we treat ourselves, we need to change the way we think and the way we speak to ourselves.

Think about it this way:  I believe our relationship with food, exercise and self-care in general is directly related to how we view ourselves in the world and what we think we deserve.  If you believe that you deserve to feel healthy, vibrant, energetic, then you won’t think about eating foods in excess that make you feel otherwise.  You’ll choose to move because you know doing so keeps you healthy.  This method may not be a quick fix but I promise you the journey is enlightening and will allow you to feel good about yourself each and every day!

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