I often work with clients who want to change
themselves. I help people lose weight,
get stronger, eat better. All great
things! But it is also important to keep in mind that the real value should not
be placed on physical appearance. A
number on the scale is not going to buy you happiness, BUT taking care of
yourself through diet and exercise might.
That’s why I put the “mind” in Mind Body Fitness. It’s about committing your whole self to a
healthy lifestyle because you value YOU.
Show yourself some love and appreciation, and that’s when the real
changes start to happen. You are worth
all the hard work!
Here are some ways self-appreciation can help you maintain a
healthy and happy lifestyle:
Try taking out negative self-talk. We all hear that little voice in our heads
during difficult moments. Let’s say you
are trying on jeans and you hear, “I hate my muffin top!” Or you are in the middle of a run and you
hear, “This is too hard. I think I’ll just walk.” Replace those negative thoughts with positive
ones. Every cloud has a silver lining. For instance when trying on jeans,
“Maybe they are snug, but I finally fit into a size 6 again!” or “This run is
really hard, but just think about how many calories I must be burning!” In time
your brain will reprogram and automatically drift toward the positive in any
Try not to compare your unique body to anyone else. We are all different, and being aware of that
simple fact can save you a lot of heartache and frustration. I know I am guilty of it at times. I see a woman on the street whose thighs
don’t touch when she walks, and for a moment I wish I had those thighs! But
alas, I inherited Irish legs and no matter how fit I am they will ALWAYS touch.
I would have to completely starve myself to acquire non-touching thighs. Hell no! Live in your body with pride,
and create realistic goals based on your body type.
Make a Gratitude List
Concentrating on the good things will only bring more good
things. Make a list of what you are
thankful for. It can include aspects of your life, your personality, and your
body. Here is my short list – my family,
my will power, my talent for cooking, my teeth (I have never had a cavity!).
Looking at the list on paper will give you a huge confidence boost. A fitness goal can seem much easier to tackle
if you look at all the other things you have accomplished in your life.
I hope this brings a new perspective to those of you who are
on a fitness journey. Here’s to keeping
the “mind” in Mind Body Fitness!
I started to write a blog for this week and kept failing…it
was another “don’t over stuff yourself this Thanksgiving” kind of post. For some reason the words were not
flowing. Inspiration did not
strike. Another topic started to bubble
up inside me, one that seemed more important than weight control issues and
nutrition. Gratitude (defined as an appreciative
awareness and thankfulness) kept coming to my mind. I started to think about all the wonderful
things in my life. I am so blessed to
have supportive friends, a rewarding career, food to nourish me, clothes to
keep me warm, a beautiful apartment to come home to, family to call on, and a
loving partner to share it all with. An overwhelming
sense of gratitude filled me and I felt deeply content. It changed my mood for the entire day….but it
is not always easy to tap into that feeling of gratitude. It can be challenging to recognize the “good.”
We often concentrate on what we don’t
want in our lives, instead of bringing the awareness to what we do want and
have. We often focus on our dislikes and fears, instead of our delights and
dreams. What happens when we replace the negative thoughts with positive ones? Here are some ways you can tap into the
Dedicate your yoga practice
Because yoga and gratitude are both forms of awareness (one
an appreciative awareness, the other mind body awareness), they seem to compliment
each other well. Try dedicating your
yoga practice to someone or something you are grateful for. It could be a friend, loved one, the earth,
your health, or maybe just life in general.
Decide what you are dedicating your practice to before you begin. Hold the image or that person or thing in
your mind. As you move and breathe your
way through the asanas try to keep your focus on that image. Bringing such an intense awareness to this
object or person can enrich your experience on the mat and cultivate a deeper
mind body connection. If you don’t practice
yoga try dedicating any daily task to your object of gratitude. You can dedicate a workout, run, or a meal
and still feel a greater sense of fulfillment after completing the task.
Meditate using the Pushan Mudra
The term mudra often refers to a symbolic hand gesture that evokes
a certain state of consciousness. There
are mudras to aid in all kinds of physical and mental states and aliments. The Pushan Mudra refers to the Hindu Sun God
or the god of nourishment. The mudra is
done by placing the index finger, middle finger and thumb of the right hand
together, and placing the middle finger, ring finger, and thumb of the left
hand together. (See illustrations) Sit in a comfortable position with the hands
resting on the thighs palms facing up.
Meditate on all the ways you are nourished and provided for, inside and
out. Try to do this for 15 minutes or
for 5 minutes 3 times in a day. Maybe
even use the affirmation “I thankfully accept everything that is good for me,
let it have its effect on me, and release everything that is spent.”
Make a gratitude list
Write out a list of things you are grateful for. Try to
write down everything, big and small. Include things that have shaped the
course of your life (for me-parents, schooling, and my partner David). Add small
things that you often overlook (for me-coffee, warm baths, and the smell of
chimney smoke in the winter). By focusing
your mind on the positive things in your life you will be more likely to maintain
a positive outlook and less likely to focus on the negatives. Many believe that when you express gratitude
for something you will get even more of that thing, so write your list everyday
even if you are repeating yourself. You will
not only improve your mood, but you may attract more things to be grateful
Express your gratitude to others
There are people in our lives that contribute to our well
being every day. Take a moment to tell
these people that they are appreciated.
It can be a phone call, email, a card in the mail, or maybe it’s just a
simple “thanks” to the guy that made your latte. You will bring a bit of joy
into their day, and in turn it will bring a bit of joy into yours.
Enjoy your holiday, give thanks for all of life’s blessings,
and spread the joy!
…and practice portion control. ;)