For years when I was battling with my weight, I followed so much outside guidance telling me how to to lose weight. I followed exercise plans in diet books, bought promising workout equipment from TV ads, and forced myself to run because I thought it would make me skinny.
The result of all this was that I gained more weight and spent even more time at the gym. I went to Boot Camp-style gym classes, got personal trainers, and tried to commit myself to half marathons. (I always quit about a month in.)
Nothing was working, and I couldn’t help but think that there was something really wrong with me. Why couldn’t I stick with anything? I was not a quitter in any other area of my life, but I was struggling so much with this.
It wasn’t until I started to totally overhaul the way I approached both exercise and my diet that I had success in losing weight and maintaining an extremely healthy lifestyle.
I realized that I had been exercising the way I thought I should, but not in a way that truly made me happy. I was running because I thought it would make me skinny, but not because I truly enjoyed it. I got a personal trainer because I was desperate for weight loss, even though I didn’t enjoy the sessions.
The problem is that when we exercise in a way that we don’t enjoy, we put our bodies in a constant state of stress. And when we are in that state of stress, our bodies hold on to weight. Exercise that we don’t enjoy also makes us miserable, which in turn causes us to overeat to avoid the bad feelings.
Instead, if we find exercise that makes us feel rejuvenated and that’s truly fun for us, we're in a state of pleasure and ease, which makes it easier for our bodies to release the extra weight. And a bonus: we don’t need food to make us feel better because we aren’t dreading our workouts.
To move from a place of rigid forced exercise to a place of truly falling back in love with moving my body, I asked myself these questions: