Learning to love your body is discovered by learning how to listen.
As soon as I found balance in my healthy lifestyle, I started to truly achieve my fitness goals. When people ask me how I got where I am today, I cannot say that it was simply my fitness regime or my healthy diet. I credit learning how to listen to my body. Listening to my body when it asks for an extra rest day or an abundance of nutritious fruits and vegetables, and then giving it just that. That is when healthy living became a lifestyle, rather than a quick fix.
If you are struggling to maintain a healthy lifestyle or are failing to see your desired results, this may be completely attributed to your ability to truly listen to the messages your body sends you. Your body is always trying to do what is best for you and protect you, so by paying attention to your body and your mind, lifelong health and fitness becomes a bit easier.
Learning how to listen can be difficult at first, but once you learn how to be one with your body, the rest will come. Here are three ways to do just that:
1. Learn to love what your body loves.
Maintaining a physical fitness regimen may mean something different for everyone. Some people are runners, some are heavy lifters, and some are zen yogis. These so-called “fitness gurus” try to tell you that you have to do a specific activity to be considered fit, but fitness is not “one size fits all,” and you don’t have to fit any of these molds. You can make your own.
Experiment and discover what workout regimen works for you. Whether it’s cardio based, pumping iron on a daily basis, or simply incorporating a walk into your day, you have the power to choose which path you want to take to achieve your fitness goals. As soon as you ditch the workouts you don’t like and start incorporating the workouts you do like, fitness will become less of a chore and more of a privilege. When you learn to love your workouts, your body will, too, and seeing those desired results will be a product of participating in activities you love, rather than forcing fitness.
2. Figure out what food your body thrives on.
People often times never get to see how good there body was designed to feel. Food is fuel, and when we treat it that way and fuel ourselves with nutritious foods, our body thrives. After eating a meal, pay attention to how your body responds. Do you feel energized? Do you feel satisfied? Are you still hungry? Does your stomach hurt? Are you bloated? These are all questions to ask yourself to see if what you’re eating is actually fueling your body.
It could be as simple as noticing what foods make you feel sluggish after eating them. While a certain brand of protein powder may work for your friend, a plant-based alternative may be a better option for you. Food, too, is not “one size fits all.”
This was where I experienced the biggest turning point in my fitness journey.
As soon as I found a fitness routine I loved, I didn’t see the results I desired until I focused on my diet. For example, I am super sensitive to sugar and caffeine, so I have learned when I can have it, how much I can have, and alternatives to getting my sugar fix or caffeine rush.
If you’re hungry, feed your body the fuel it needs. If you’re full, don’t binge on food you don’t need. Learning to become an intuitive eater is not about just eating healthy, but eating foods in the amounts your body needs and desires, as well, to function at its best.
3. Most importantly, learn to love rest days.
Finding balance in a healthy lifestyle is difficult. Society glorifies this “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”/constant grind attitude, yet, our mental health is slowly decreasing. We tend to think that more equals better: more workouts, more dieting, etc. Lifelong health and fitness, though? That requires a balance that is worked towards and achieved each day, and learning when to take a step back.
Learning how to listen to your body is important to staying mentally and physically healthy. Does my body need an extra rest day? Does my mind need a treat meal so I can stay on track the rest of the week? Finding balance in your fitness routine may mean resting when your body is fatigued and preventing possible injury. Finding balance in your nutrition may mean eating a treat meal with friends so that your healthy habits don’t become obsessive.
While I encourage you to push yourself in the gym, if you genuinely don’t feel well, learn how to take a rest day. I understand the guilt that often can be triggered by a rest day, but taking one day off won’t reverse all your #gains. Rest days are okay. Even rest weeks are okay. They’re actually more than okay! Rest days give your body a chance to recover, and rejuvenate your drive and motivation.
Finding balance changed the game for me. Health and fitness became a passion, rather than a chore, and has helped me achieve my goals, and find happiness. By learning how to listen to my body, staying healthy became more than just a habit. It became a lifestyle. And I hope you, too, can make health and fitness a life long love affair.
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