I asked the question on my insta the other day - ‘what are your biggest barriers to sticking to a fitness routine?’
It was a little click baity because I knew what the answers would be.
‘Will power’, ‘discipline’, ‘I love food too much’...
They’re the answers we’ve all been fed.
By the jacked up gym lads that LOVE to claim their superiority because it took such SEVERE discipline for them to starve, pound and manipulate their body to get it to the place where it would gain thousands of likes on insta.
But that desperation to feel superior and accomplished is only driven by the fact that starving, pounding and manipulating hasn’t been all that fun so they NEED some validation for it.
And I mean, you do you boo - if you’re an athlete or competitor of some kind, where your body needs to be manipulated to an elite extreme - FAIR ENOUGH.
I’m not talking to you.
I’m talking to the average person, who is JUST trying to live a reasonably happy, healthy, feel good life!
And hear, me, now… YOU DON’T NEED WILL POWER FOR THAT.
What you do need is to give yourself a BREAK.
Because you are not broken - for wanting to eat carbs and dessert and biscuits and for wanting to sleep an extra hour instead of getting up at 6am to hit the spin studio.
You’re a normal human being that needs to stop FIGHTING with yourself.
The terms ‘will power’ and ‘discipline’ themselves indicate that there is some kind of restriction going on. Something you are trying to FORCE.
But have you ever thought about what a bloody miracle your body became ALL BY ITSELF. How it knew, deep in its DNA how to grow itself into a living, breathing being! And how actually, chances are, it knows what’s best for you now.
Better than WW, better than My Fitness Pal, better than jacked up gym guy who’s *probably* not all that happy.
You were made to move. And you were also made to consume the food that your body needs.
HUNGER IS LITERALLY A SURVIVAL INSTINCT!
But somewhere along the line, these natural instincts got twisted up - and looking after your body became dieting and dieting became a weird kind of duty.
A duty to create a hierarchy where the people with ‘will power’ (read: privilege, money or just a naturally thin physique) sit mightily on top.
[This is actually all rooted in racism and white supremacy but I do not have the word count or depth of knowledge to go into that right now - though Sabrina Strings in Fearing The Black Body sure does...]
What I’m trying to say is that using will power to push your body into doing something (against it’s will!) is not pleasant, sustainable, or all that helpful.
But reconnecting to what your body really needs IS all of those things!
Think about it - when you were a baby you rolled around, reached for your toes and wiggled because it felt right! When you were a child you couldn’t WAIT to get onto the playground and run around to burn off energy! When you were hungry you cried and were fed!
The disconnection to those natural instincts happened when *stuff* got in the way. Adulty, capitalist, patriarchal, cultural stuff - in the form of rules, expectations, inhibitions, self-consciousness, unrealistic beauty standards - all with voices that shout louder than our innate cues.
But the innate cues are there. Buried deep. Telling us how to care for ourselves. They’re in our hunger asking us to eat; or our bloat telling us we’ve eaten a little too much of the wrong thing; or our stiffness telling us it’s time to stretch; our irritability telling us it’s time to get up and move; our fatigue telling us it’s time to rest...
Our bodies are all different, our cues are all different. But they exist. And they exist for a reason.
Try listening to them; try honouring them. Maybe you need a little assistance to learn how, and that’s OK. Maybe to start with all you crave is chocolate - but that’s only because you’ve been telling yourself for years that you can’t have it!
Your body is literally striving to be healthy, try letting it take the lead for once!
Most importantly: be gentle, be kind, be caring. Your body deserves respect and love. And once you truly believe that, it’s not gonna take will power to give it what it deserves!
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