In the past two years, exercise and myself have had a better relationship. More accurately, myself and myself have had a better relationship. (Trust me- this post won't just be about exercise. Hang in there ;)
There is one mindset change that has helped me make the switch from not exercising regularly to really wanting to.
It hasn't always been this way. I had a bad relationship with food. Part of it was because I didn't exercise much. So I overcompensated by focusing on food. In high school for about a period of a year I ate just enough for no one to notice I wasn't eating. I reasoned I was dieting. I was. But a little too much.
It's been just in the past two years that I've discovered an at least healthier relationship with food and exercise. It's probably come with a lot of unnoticed personal healing.
I've learned not to make myself do too much.
Yes, this seems counter intuitive. Shouldn't I push myself more? Shouldn't I set specific goals? Shouldn't I visualize the win? Shouldn't I go after some big plan and accomplish it?
Nope. That's too much for me right now.
So I don't make myself do that.
Instead, I think "What would be healthy?
Do I feel healthy?
Am I doing what is good for me?
Is it healthy for me to run 2 miles more than feels good today?
Is it healthy for me to push myself that much today?
What would bring me joy while I exercise today?
What would I enjoy?
What would be rewarding for my body?
Refilling for my self esteem?"
So instead of thinking about what I need to do, I've learned to focus on doing what I enjoy doing. And it has made exercising a rewarding, joyful thing. Instead of an act of dread.
I choose what is healthy for me over any of my expectations about what I should be doing.
And I find that I actually want to exercise. Because I know I can stop when it feels healthy. I know I can say no when I need to. I know I can tell myself, "You've done enough for today. GOOD JOB."
Exercise is just evidence that not only my body is healthy, but my relationship with myself is finally healthier.
I can tell myself no. And tell myself "You can do it." All in the right moments. I can also tell myself, "You can do more tomorrow. It's okay." So instead of getting discouraged because I didn't complete my perfectionist self-imposed goal... instead of shaming myself for having a little extra in different areas I'd like to change- I remove the option for shame. I recognize when I'm hurting myself with my own thoughts. And don't let myself treat myself that way.
It's weird to say that but it's true.
We need to treat ourselves well.
Is your self talk as graceful as you would be to your best friend? Do you give yourself room to grow? Room to make mistakes? Room to try again tomorrow? Room to rest today? Room to continue toward a goal one day at a time? Are you gracious with yourself? Gracious with your body? Gracious with your goals?
Give yourself some room. Treat yourself well.
That mindset has taken me further than punishing myself mentally, emotionally, and physically for not being my own version of enough.
And I feel healthier. And can recognize when I'm not.