This conversation has come up several times this week from a variety of students at different stages in life. The question is always something along the lines of what links should I go to to look good? How hard do I have to work to get or maintain a certain figure or flat tummy or jean size? I think there is a simple answer. Stop worrying so much about looking good and change your energy and focus to being healthy, strong and capable.
Stop the crazy diets, skipped meals, extreme measures to ‘look’ the part and start taking steps to feel better and be stronger. If you are eating to be healthy and working out to be strong, you will change your body! Find ways to prioritize being fit and capable. Add in 10 or more minutes of walk each day. It may seem like a small step, but the physical, emotional, and mental result will be worth it! We all feel better when we take a break … and that does not have to mean sitting in from of the TV. We all feel better when we accomplish a goal and that does not have to be completing a marathon. Do 10 push ups or roll downs while watching must-see-TV. Adding in extra steps every day could be that mental/physical break you need and how you achieve your goal!
One thing I hear over and over again is lack of time and guilt for taking time away from family. Make healthy, fit and strong a family affair. I love that my neighbors go running as a family of 4 – two in a jogging stroller and mom and dad running. They are teaching their young daughters by example how to be fit, spend quality time together and that activity is fun. Play with your kids at the park instead of sitting and watching! Have races up the hill or go hiking together while you talk about school, friends, and more. It is surprising how much kids will open up when you get them doing an activity. Race to the car in the parking lot. Who cares who’s watching! Teach your kids to make energy balls or home-made granola bars with you. Go to the farmer’s market together and pick up things together. It is always more fun to eat what you contributed to!
Another student told me she and her son had a plank competition! And she won! Exercise does not need to be the thing you leave your family to do. I have some students who bring their children to pilates – either to participate or to watch (I generally find a little something for these kids to try too!) Either way – their children are learning by example the importance of fitness and keeping commitments. If what your children see is mom or dad don’t make time to take care of themselves, they will learn this is not a priority either. I like to think of my healthy habits much like brushing my teeth. Would you ever forgo brushing your teeth because you are just too busy or your show is on? I doubt it! Create other habits you won’t forgo – small or big.
Take the pressure off of yourself to look a certain way and focus on feeling good in your skin. Focus on feeling capable. Focus on feeling energetic and strong. You can’t really achieve those feelings with an unfit and unhealthy body! Looking good is a by-product of healthy, fit and strong!