Five very simple ways to motivate yourself to be stronger, healthier and happier. Honest, and straight from my heart. No dieting involved. Sweating and occasional vegetable eating required.
1. END “FAT TALK”
We all do it. “My hips are way to wide to wear that skirt” or “Cap sleeves make my arms look huge!” or simply, “I feel fat”. Loving yourself in the body you have at this exact moment is the first, most important, and certainly hardest step in motivating yourself to attain a healthier life. Nothing is more important that believing that you are beautiful. If you love yourself and learn to appreciate what you think are your flaws, then not only will you just be happier in general but exercising and eating healthy will become less of a chore – working out will become something fun, not a form of torture devised to make you skinnier.
I still kind of think that affirmations are silly, and I’m not telling you to take our your lipstick and write inspirational quotes on your bathroom mirror, but I do want you to end fat talk. Tomorrow morning when you get dressed, take two seconds to look at yourself and say something nice. Maybe your jeans are a little tight in the ass and maybe you’re a little pissed about that….but don’t you dare say it. First off, don’t dwell on how you look, start with how you feel……like, I feel strong! I feel refreshed! I feel loved! I feel ambitious! Feeling better already? Okay we can look to the surface now. Pay yourself a compliment…. My skin is glowing! My freckles look so summery! My hair’s so shiny! I’ve got some damn good legs! Go on, gorgeous, tell you more.
And if all else fails, take a note from the movie Spanglish and know that it’s okay to have a “desire for the comfort of fullness. [Because] when that desire is suppressed for style, and deprivation allowed to rule, then dieting, exercising American women become afraid of everything associated with being curvaceous: such as wontoness, lustfulness, sex, motherhood…..all that is best in life.”
2. DO THE COMMON UNCOMMONLY WELL
Every time I come out of a slump and all of the sudden feel the need to start working out like crazy, I always jump right in and expect my body to do exactly what it’s doing in my mind. Not so much. Since when am I so out of breath? Is it all downhill from twenty-five? No, I just didn’t take any time to re-aquaint my muscles with their long-lost love of a good run.
What I’m trying to tell you is that you need to begin by working on your form. Pay close attention to your posture, your stride, the stretch of your muscles, the impact on your knees. Your body will thank you. Look for instructional illustrations like these on Women’s Health, or if you’re a member of a gym then join a few classes and don’t be afraid to ask the instructor for help!
3. BRIGHTEN UP
I always see these little quotes on Pinterest that are all like, “Don’t reward yourself with food, you’re not a dog!” While I may not completely agree with this, possibly because of my obsession with food and general distaste for such concrete dieting rules, I can kind of understand where they’re coming from. I get that the last thing that should be on your mind during an intense sweat-fest is what you’ll be “allowed” to eat when you’re done. You should be thinking about how freaking glorious it feels to sweat out last night’s happy hour and how proud you are when you’re sore tomorrow.
Nevertheless, I still feel the need to motivate myself with something tangible. Enter: the sock aisle at Target. Have you seen all those day-glow hues in chevron, leopard, stripes, and polka dots? At a buck-fifty each, they’re not only cute but thrifty, and they’re the perfect little perk to lure me into lacing up my running shoes! I love how all the active wear has gone to highlighter hues – it’s so cheerful! What a better way to add a little sunshine to your life than a new crazy bright sports bra and a yoga session on the beach? Go on, get your cute butt down to Target and go crazy.
4. STOP THE STRESS
People stress about working out, they stress about genetically modified food, they stress about staying late at work, they stress about traffic, they stress about all that credit card debt they rang up buying Lululemon stretch-pants and whether or not it was worth it because the person behind them in spin class can see through the ass, they stress about a lot of things. Stress is a part of life that is sometimes unavoidable…..but sometimes you can totally decide for yourself that enough is enough. It’s bad for your heart, it’s bad for your head, and it is certainly not doing anything to widdle away at your waistline. So stop it already. Take a deep breath. Give yourself a manicure! Take a few extra minutes for an at-home facial! Challenge yourself to a silly yoga move you just looked up on youtube! Smile at the next person you see! It feels gooooooood.
5. SOAK UP THE SUN
Remember, people watching isn’t creepy if it’s done while running! Get outside, soak up some good old fashioned vitamin D and move your body a bit. If you’re a runner then your motivation is as simple as this: not only is it more challenging to run outside than on a treadmill, but you burn more calories. If you’re not a runner, you still have no excuse – take the hound for a long speed walk in a pretty park, shlep your yoga mat down to the lakeside and breath in nature’s beauty, invest in a pair of dumbbells or a kettle bell for quick outdoor workouts on your luck break! Your metabolism will thank you, and you might even start up a pretty tan too.