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Holiday Health Check-in

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If “working out” feels like punishment…

Switch from “exercise” to “love-xercise.”

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“Ooh, I am totally stuffed, but yeah… I’ll take another slice of that pie. I’ll just run an extra few miles tomorrow at the gym to burn it off…”

Ten years ago—before I hired a brilliant weight loss coach, did a ton of self-work, and figured out how to heal my relationship with my body and with food—I used to say things like that constantly. 

Every meal was a complex negotiation that involved calorie tabulation, guilt, denial, bargaining, and fervent planning to compensate for overdoing it (“Three more miles on the Treadmill tonight plus only salad and water tomorrow…”).

Today, when I’m coaching people who want to lose weight, I hear a lot of my clients describe similar “bargaining” plans.

When we begin our work together, my clients often describe exercise like it’s some kind of “punishment” or a pathway to “redemption.”

Clients tell me things like…

“I was so ‘bad’ last night. So many drinks. Tons of cake. Ugh. I hate myself. I gotta hit the gym twice as many times this week… and I am going to sign up for a 6am boot camp class, too!”

Yiiikes. Check yo’self, Santa.

Instead of asking:

“What kind of exercise can I do to ‘make up’ for all of my ‘bad’ eating choices?” 

Try asking yourself:

“What kind of exercise would feel energizing and loving today? What kind of exercise would feel like a loving ‘gift’ to myself? What would feel good?”

To find out, take a few breaths. Stretch. Check in with your muscles and joints, your heart and your mind.

How are you feeling today?

Are you feeling energized? Tired? Stiff? Sore? Pretty OK?

Are you feeling anxious or jittery, like you’ve got some excess emotional energy that you want to burn off? Are you feeling cloudy? Unfocused? Bored? Happy? Peaceful?

What is your body asking for today?

What would feel most like love?

Try to choose a form of exercise that feels like a loving “gift” to yourself, from yourself.

What feels like “a loving gift” may change from day to day, depending on your mood, your energy levels, your emotional state, whether you’re at home or traveling, all kinds of factors. On Monday, “love” might be a hardcore boot camp class. On Tuesday, “love” might be a gentle stroll through the ‘hood. Or a swim. Or a Pilates class. Or Zumba. Or a brand new workout experience you’ve always been curious about but haven’t tried yet.

Always begin with this question: “What would feel most like love?”

Check in. Let your body tell you, intuitively, what kind of movement it is craving right now—and then do that.

Instead of using exercise as a way to punish your body, let exercise become one—of many—beautiful ways that you can give your body some love.

Love-xercise. 

Try it.

It will change your relationship with fitness, your body—and your life.

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xoxo, Susan

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