Guest post by OMC member Catherine Dickson, a holistic health coach, certified personal trainer, and owner of Rise Holistic Health!
Most of us have been all over the board when it comes to how we really feel about working out and I am no exception over here!
I grew up totally hating it as the “heavy” kid and dreaded every time my mom asked me to walk on the treadmill after dinner… You see, when you’re programmed to think that exercise = weight loss, THE END, then why in the hell would you want to make that a lifelong habit? Sound familiar at all?
Most of the women I coach feel the exact same way and all have a unique story of how they got to their own screwed-up place with exercise. But the thing is, it doesn’t have to be so hard! We CAN shift our brains and change our story around exercise, and I’m living, breathing proof that it’s possible.
Because as hard as it may be to swallow, movement is LIFE and our bodies were made for it. We have to move in order to function effectively and the positive mental, emotional, and physiological effects that exercise can bring far outweigh any physical agenda we may be working from…
So how do we make that shift in our brains? How do we change our “come from” so we can heal our rocky relationship with exercise, our body, and how we feel about all the things?
Well, we have to start by rewriting our story…
That means resetting our intentions around why we’re trying to exercise in the first place, aka our “come from.”
If your intention for exercise is always related to how you look, try hiding or getting rid of your scale for a while.
This one’s really hard, especially if you’re used to weighing yourself every day. But let me tell you, this practice is a massive first step in helping you heal your relationship with your body, so put that damned scale in the closet, sister!
It doesn’t have to be forever, but for right now, it’s for the best and will help you start to let go of your attachment to that dreaded number. And if you find yourself eyeing up your scale one day, remind yourself that you’ve already done it that way and it’s not working out, both literally and figuratively! So what do you have to lose by trying something different?
So we’ve dumped the scale and now we need to remove our weight and size goals when it comes to exercise, so we can create a process goal instead.
Something like – “I’m going to move my body 3-5 times this week in whatever way I want,” rather than, “I’m going to workout for 1 hour, 5 days this week so I can lose 5 lbs by the end of the month” For most people, this feels like giving up, but stay with me on this one.
Why Process Goals are the Best…
By changing our goal to just focusing on the ACT of doing something physical and staying consistent with picking a thing and following through, major shifts can start happening in your brain. It’s the exact same thing as keeping a promise to yourself. You said you were going to do the thing and you want to be someone who follows through, so therefore you do the thing! This is a also a powerful way to boost your self-confidence.
Confident people feel confident they can make things happen in their lives, but it’s not like that happened for them overnight. If you think about super confident people you know, unless they have a mood disorder, they likely have a pretty effective routine going, right?! Maybe they workout each day at lunch, wake up at the crack of dawn for their morning routine, or read a book every month. I mean, if you knew deep in your bones that you totally could and absolutely wanted to take care of yourself to your highest ability on the reg, you’d feel pretty badass too right? These people aren’t special… they just have follow through, which is totally something you can cultivate too!
One important thing to mention though is that a habit isn’t a habit unless you actually keep doing it, so I love giving my clients the option of a range of days, rather than one strict number when it comes to exercise. Look, things happen and LIFE happens! So if one week you only get 3 days in, you’ve still accomplished your goal, but if the next week you get 5 days in, you’re totally crushing it! It’s a win-win all over and setting yourself up for success to NOT feel like a failure, will actually get your butt moving more often! Most people think it’s counterintuitive, but everyone has a little, rebellious teenager inside of them and things just go a little more smoothly when it’s their idea! Sound familiar??? #askingforafriend
Try Something New!
Think about what you’ve been doing up to this point. If it’s not working for you, and it sounds like it isn’t, then it’s time to make an honest change! Step off the elliptical, girl, and try something else, because at this stage of the game your activity needs to feel FUN again and not bore you to death!
So let’s unpack what that means for you…
Do you need to learn a new skill to feel challenged and capable?
For me that meant learning all about kettlebells and feeling like a total badass ninja when I used them! Or maybe you want to learn about using a TRX so you can take it to the park with you or workout at home? Or boxing or barbells or horse-jumping!
The possibilities are endless here, but if you can, find a professional who can teach you your new skill, either privately or in a small group setting first. Because it’s best to be in a safe space when learning something new and you also want to know how to do it right! That way you feel more confident that you won’t hurt yourself in the process or throw your back out doing a kettlebell swing. Note: Even in Quarantine, there are TONS of personal trainers (me!), group classes, and even online physical skill-building courses being taught virtually, so don’t let COVID hold you back, girl!
Or maybe you just want to have fun and not think too hard? So how about checking out a group fitness class?
If the idea of a group freaks you out a little, try it first on a slower day or off-time so you can get used to the process while in a smaller class setting. Or bribe a friend to come along and go have a fun outdoor lunch-date after! There are outdoor bootcamp classes, goat yoga classes, Barre classes, and even Tai-Chi! Once we can spend more time in groups safely, try out Class Pass or Groupon for tons of great deals on first time classes and don’t hesitate to mix up your locations a little bit! Group fitness is like dating… If it doesn’t feel right, move along and try again, and under no circumstances do you tolerate an instructor treating you poorly. Let me know if they do and I’ll cut em for you! 🙂
If classes aren’t your jam, find some outdoor spaces around you where you can take a fun walk, incorporate some stairs or hills, or even head to a beautiful scenic area that just makes you feel relaxed, centered, and happy! Lately, I’ve been a huge fan of picking a local trail and doing some urban hiking. It helps me de-stress, I’m outside enjoying all the things, and feel so much better about my day when I’m done! Nature-bathing is real, y’all, so give it a try!
Or maybe you need to do something totally out there for you, like swimming, pole-dancing, or frisbee golf!
There really are no rules here, besides the fact that we’re trying new things and having fun in the process. You won’t love everything you try, but you also won’t find that thing you truly LOVE until you’re willing to put yourself out there and maybe feel a little ridiculous at first. Like I said, exercise and dating aren’t that different, except one has cocktails… But in all seriousness, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain here! When redefining our relationship with exercise, it’s critical to explore new options because the end goal is to find an activity that feels so fun, it doesn’t feel like work. Hard to dread that, am I right?
Because if you really think about it, is it actually true that you hate exercise in all forms? Or is it more likely that you hate the same old B.S. you’ve been doing forever, feel resistant to the “come from” of why you’re doing it, or don’t want to face the negative emotions you feel before, during, or after a workout? As women, we are preprogrammed to be the worst when it comes to negative self-talk, especially with anything related to our bodies. All of that shame around not showing up enough, not liking how you look in the mirror, feeling pissed that this used to be easier and now it’s not… It’s a total spiral that’s holding you back and bringing you down! Would you ever talk to your bestie or your daughter that way? I didn’t think so, so why do you think you get to treat yourself like that either?! Check out my blog post about “How to Change Your Self Talk” for more info on breaking the cycle.
Start by committing to focus on doing things differently this time. No scale, pick a range of days, keep your promises to yourself, and actively seek fun and enjoyable ways to move just because you can!
I can’t wait to see how things shift for you, because I know it’s possible and so want it for you too! Comment below and let me know what you try and how it goes for you!
And if you’d prefer some customized guidance on this, connect with me below! I’d be happy to schedule a time to talk through everything, whether that’s crafting an ideal home and outdoor workout routine for you to do on your own or meeting virtually for private personal training sessions. Either way, I’ve got your back, girl!
With Love, Coach Catherine
You can follow Catherine on Instagram!