(photo by laughingmonk)
I’m glad I paid some attention to that Brain and Behaviour class I took as a student at UBC, because more and more it occurs to me just how fundamental our thought process is to the way we treat our bodies.
All of us want to do better for ourselves – to eat better, to exercise more – but often we don’t and then again sometimes we do.
Stay with me, I think this is how it goes.
Some days we experience a surge of motivation. “I CAN do this. I WILL do this.” We jump aboard something: a class, a boot camp, a diet, a cleanse – whatever comes our way first. Go us!
But then something happens. We lose the drive that initially got us fired up. Maybe we missed a class, had a late night binge on something from the forbidden list, or looked in the mirror and threw in the towel.
Now we’ve failed. Our self esteem plummets and we’re back at square one looking for the next fix. It’s a cycle that the health industry thrives on and our soul crumbles with.
So what can we do to get off this motivated today, demoralized tomorrow merry-go-round?
I think it starts with realizing that our relationship with our bodies and how we treat them (food, exercise, etc.) is a very intimate and complex one, derived from childhood experiences, personal relationships, genetics, and so on. That the links are so complex, and yet so vital to our wellbeing, means we ought to put some time and energy into understanding them.
Those closest to me will tell you a few things about my approach to nutrition. It’s not about guilt and it’s not about rules. We walk in our own skin. We make decisions and we live with them. When we make choices about what goes into our bodies we ought to make them consciously.
I realize our choices shape us (from our butts to our thoughts) and understanding why we make certain choices is an important goal when I work with people. Consuming what we want, when we want is not innately wrong, but the presence of awareness is what matters. We need not judge ourselves. We should support, encourage and educate ourselves and each other. Our bodies are our most powerful tool in life, and we only get one. It is in our best interest to keep it thriving.
Which brings us back to motivation. If we are in tune with our motivation to be well, we might make choices to support that. If we skip a day at the gym, or eat something that we might consider taboo, we make peace with the decision and move on.
We have not failed ourselves. It served a purpose and we can continue our journey.
Tips for Staying Motivated
1. Keep a food journal. Writing down what you put into your mouth is the best way to keep yourself honest about your choices. If you have a pint of ice cream, write a pint of ice cream, not a 1/2 cup. Read it over regularly. Try to understand your choices rather than judge them.
2. Set goals and share them with people who will support you.
3. Continue to learn – about nutrition, healthy cooking, fitness, psychology and any other subject that you find interesting and support your wellbeing; but note that while 50 Shades of Grey may promote vigorous physical activity, this isn’t quite what I’m talking about.
About the Author:
Brittany Eidsness is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), Paleo-diet enthusiast, blogger, speaker, advisor and all-around complete food nerd. Check her out at www.wildlives.ca, www.facebook.com/wildlives and @wild_lives.
Tags: brittany eidsness fitness health motivation nutrition