What I've Learned About Weight Loss From Decades In The Fitness Industry
A few decades in the fitness industry has given me a lot of time to focus on health and physiques, my own in particular.
I've tried a wide variety of workouts and diets. I've been a dancer, an aerobics instructor, a dedicated gym rat and a yoga instructor. I've gone vegan, vegetarian, macrobiotic, spent time in the Zone, and thrown it all out to eat whatever I felt like eating.
Along the way, I've had periods when I felt strong and healthy and others when I've felt worn-out, lacked joy, and been above my ideal weight.
One thing I know to be true is that to achieve the health and wellness you want, you only need to learn one lesson:
Nothing outside stops you. You stop you.
This is a challenging perspective to live with. If we blame the cookie for our weight gain, our jobs for preventing us from exercising, or our relationships for our unhappiness—we don't need to look too deeply into ourselves and our choices.
When we find ourselves feeling depleted, catching colds easily, or gaining unwanted weight, it's often because we're making lifestyle choices that are not aligned with our best interests.
Our bodies are a reflection of what's happening in our heads.
Shopping for fresh food, cooking healthy meals, and exercising all require substantial time and thought. However, tearing open a bag of processed carbs, or sitting on the couch doesn't take much effort at all.
When our thoughts and feelings have tanked our sense of self value, we're no longer inclined to put forth the effort required to maintain our health.
The obstacle is not that we don't have the knowledge, access, or ability to take care of ourselves, it's that we don't feel worthy of the effort.
This mindset also shows up in our approach toward self medicating. At the end of a particularly challenging day, do you tell yourself you deserve to take a yoga class? Or do you "deserve" a cocktail?
Of course, we deserve to feel better when we're under stress. We deserve to give ourselves what's best for us. We don't deserve a toxic shortcut.
We know this. But choices get tricky if our self esteem is in the gutter. In these times, making a commitment to our health can take a gargantuan effort that's almost impossible to sustain long-term.
When we feel good about ourselves and believe we're worth our own effort, leading a healthy lifestyle becomes much easier.
It's not the junk food, challenging circumstances, or difficult people in our world that prevent us from obtaining our wellness goals. It's our inside world that steers our choices, our actions, and our reactions. Accepting this truth is like pulling a band-aid off in one jerk. It's startling and it feels a bit raw, but healing what's underneath is where the progress is.