Here’s Why You Can’t Stick To Your Healthy Habits
By Bella Westaway | Brand and Content Specialist at Wild Women On Top
Have you ever struggled to stick to an exercise program? Is moving more and eating better an eternal struggle, one you often feel you’re failing at? Do you spend more time than you’d like thinking about food, or beat yourself up when you skip the gym?
I’ve been there.
I’ve spent much of my life fighting against fitness, forcing my ass to the gym because I ‘should’ and then ‘falling off the bandwagon’ time and time again.
It’s exhausting, time-consuming, and frankly, no way to live.
But what if I told you there was another way? A way that makes exercise and eating right feel effortless. A way that is free from guilt, shame, or punishment, and full of freedom, food, and fun?!
Here’s how to stick to your healthy habits… for good.
Find a way to move your body that you enjoy
Let me tell you a hard truth: If you hate moving, you’re doing it wrong.
Your body is designed to move – it’s literally biologically built for it. Exercise may be challenging at times, but it should not feel bad. If you’re moving your body in the right way, it will make you feel alive, strong, and free.
Hate the gym? Hate running? Me too. There’s plenty of other options. Here are some to try: Hiking (it gets a sentence of its own because it’s the best!). Pilates, yoga, ice skating, surfing, martial arts, bike-riding, walking, dancing, Zumba, rock climbing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, dragon boating, sailing, soccer, tennis, frisbee, beach cricket, skipping, bowling, golf, paintball, geocaching, canyoning, cleaning, gardening, sex, gymnastics. If all else fails… simply do a few crunches and stretches while you watch TV!
Change the way you think about movement
Let’s be real: most of us have been taught that exercise is a necessary evil we must do to stave off disease or weight gain.
This is a terrible way to think about exercise.
If you’re only moving because you’re worried about gaining weight or getting sick, you will never, ever, have a healthy, positive, and consistent relationship with exercise. Human psychology just doesn’t work like that.
You need to think of exercise as something you get to do, rather than something you have to do.
Fortunately, there’s about a thousand other reasons to exercise that have nothing to do with how you look or how long you’ll live.
For example, you might move for pure enjoyment. You do this when you have sex, play with your kids, jump in the waves at the beach or dance at a party. Do this more.
You might move because it boosts your mood. For me, this means regular yoga classes, walks after work with a girlfriend, dancing in the kitchen or, if I’m feeling really sad, running up and down the stairs by my house until I’m pumping with enough endorphins to smile again.
You might move because it makes you feel strong and resilient in other areas of your life. My friend swears by weight training because it makes her feel strong, grounded, and confident.
You might move because it’s the only way to experience something amazing. Climbing to the top of a volcano, or watching the sun rise on Mt Everest, or swimming in a geothermal hot spring in the backcountry of Iceland – these are all experiences I couldn’t have had without movement… and they are some of the most special memories of my life.
Moving your body is one of the most glorious gifts you can give to yourself – to your mind, your heart, and your soul. Think of it as such.
Ditch the guilt for good
Picture this: It’s a new week, and you’ve pledged to exercise every single day. Motivation is high and you’re feeling good.
But by day three, you’re exhausted, and instead of hitting the gym on the way home from work, you nosedive into the couch feeling tired, defeated and most of all, guilty.
You don’t like this feeling, so you comfort yourself with the pacifier of your choice: food, alcohol, tv or social media.
At midnight, you fall asleep feeling guilty, full, teary and kinda sick. You’ve already failed, so you might as well veg out until next Monday, when you pledge to begin again. And so the cycle continues.
But what if that guilt wasn’t there?
What if, instead of that grand plan to exercise daily, you simply said you’d like to move your body a few times this week.
You’re tired, so you run yourself a lovely bath, make yourself a delicious meal, and enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.
The next day, you’re feeling rested and energized, and you enjoy a lunchtime yoga class as well as a hike after work.
And so the (excellent) cycle continues.
Guilt creates a negative association with exercise and discourages us from sticking with it when things don’t go perfectly. Ditch it.
That's the recipe Wild Women. Now go out and get that amazing body of yours moving. You'll love it!