By Chris Freytag
I heard this saying once and I love it: What story does your body tell about you? Does your body speak neglect and carelessness? Or does your body say to the world that you care about the one body you were given and you want to take care of it?
No matter the excuses, the weather, the busy schedule, the life events that can take you off course, your body speaks the results. Like it or not, it’s your billboard to the world.
If you want to change the story your body tells about you, the fight first has to be won in your head. The Harvard Medical School recently did a special health report on positive psychology and harnessing the power of personal strength and the study addressed the importance of self compassion.
The key to more success is tied to your ability for self compassion. “Self-compassion means being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail or feel inadequate, rather than flagellating ourselves with self-criticism,” according to the Harvard study. It can make a difference in your mood and your outlook.
Developing your ability to comfort yourself is like living with your own personal coach in your corner—YOU. Now, I’m not talking about making yourself feel better as your easy out to overeat or skip exercise, I am talking about developing your ability to be kind to yourself to fuel your motivation to change. When you are kind to yourself, you are essentially telling yourself you deserve to be treated well, and then you will start doing it.
Be your own coach. Say you have a tough day at work, aren’t you excited to go home where you can exhale and be around people and things you love? That’s the kind of sacred space you can create for yourself in your mind too. Do you coach yourself back up when you are down? You will be amazed at the transformation you will experience when you start coaching yourself positively in your head. And the best benefit? If you are self-accepting, you always have a kind place to retreat when you need a recharge. You don’t have to seek external comfort that’s not as healthy, like the wrong foods.
Practice being kind to your body. Ever notice you feel awful when you overindulge and terrific after a cardiovascular workout? Your body is talking to you! Listen to it. Reward your with water, fresh fruits and veggies, healthy cooking and controlled portions. Be kind to your body with stretching, walking, moving more and a regularly scheduled exercise regimen that works for your schedule.
View each day as a clean slate. To practice self compassion means ditching the you that likes to beat yourself up at the slightest transgression. Whenever you wander off track and skip exercise or overindulge your sweet tooth, just realize those were choices you made and make better choices going forward. Try to be different next time and look to the future. Beating yourself up is pointless and only makes you feel bad. Develop a short encouraging statement you will use like: I’m starting again. Do over. Or, new day, new me!
Decide today to be on your own side and soon you will love the story your body tells about you. Be a friend, not a foe to one of the most important people in your life—YOU.
Chris Freytag is a health and fitness expert, author and speaker. She has been teaching fitness classes and personal training for over 20 years. She is a contributing editor for Prevention Magazine; the fitness contributor for the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis; and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the American Council on Exercise. Chris has authored 5 books; has created dozens of fitness DVD’s; and sells her signature line of healthy kitchen and fitness products on QVC. Connect with Chris at www.chrisfreytag.com www.Facebook.com/ChrisFreytagpage or on Twitter @ChrisFreytag