Every day I get more and more annoyed with the idea that you’ve got to dislike who you are in order to decide to get fit — it’s right up there with treating workouts as punishment for eating a cookie and working out to “earn” a meal.
Since when did getting fit and healthy become associated with self-loathing?
I can’t think of anything that shows more self-love than taking care of ourselves. And yet, I see these messages everywhere and it hurts me in my soul.
I initially turned to fitness because I carried a tremendous amount of disgust toward my body and arguably more than my fair share of self-loathing. However, these factors brought me no lasting motivation or success in my journey.
It took me years to figure it out, but the truth is that you can want to get fitter and healthier and not hate who you are. The reasons that keep me motivated day in and day out now don’t involve being a complete jerk to myself. I’ll share a few of those reasons with you — who knows, maybe one or two will resonate.
4 Self-Loving Reasons to Get Fit
1. Gosh darn it, you deserve to be happy and healthy. No matter your age, size or story, you deserve a real shot at living a full and happy life. Nothing will put a damper on that faster than poor health. Rather than thinking of proper nutrition and fitness as punishment or restrictive, consider this: Healthy eating and regular physical activity are investments in the most important asset you have … you. If you chose to opt out of fitness and healthy, balanced (notice I didn’t say “severely-restricted” or “starvation-inducing”) eating, you are significantly compromising the happiness of you and everyone who cares about you. Bottom line: You don’t deserve to feel like crap every day.
2. Give yourself the gift of strength. I absolutely love the feeling I get when I’ve been regularly working out and eating well. My body doesn’t feel so frail, weak and vulnerable. But the best part is that this physical feeling of well-being translates directly into headspace well-being. The strength you build in the gym is not confined to that space — it shows up in every other area of your life. Physical strength becomes mental strength, emotional strength and spiritual strength. There’s nothing more powerful than feeling strong from the inside, and it’s a gift you can choose to give yourself daily.
3. Your body is your home. Life’s a whole lot better when your house is comfy and safe, isn’t it? Now imagine living in a house where the pipes are clogged, the air filters are full of dirt, the thermostats don’t work, the foundation is leaning and the windows are filthy. How long could you live there and be happy and healthy? Hopefully, you’d move or at least call a handyman, but the reality is that many are living this way every day and we don’t even know it. For so many — myself included in my younger days — our bodies are badly maintained and slowly breaking down. Think about how much time you spend decorating, maintaining and cleaning your house, and remember that your house is just a temporary dwelling that can be replaced if necessary. Your body is not — when it goes, so do you. Maybe you should consider investing some time into making it the best possible place to live.
4. It can do pretty amazing things when it’s given the chance. Our daily lives test us — well, our minds and spirits anyway. However, our bodies are really not tested much. Think about your day outside of working out. Most of us are crammed into cars for long commutes and stuck in an office chair tethered to our phones and computers for hours at a time. Then we come home and flop down on the couch to watch the news, scroll through social media on a tiny mobile device and help our kids with homework. At the end of long days, it may certainly feel like our bodies have been through the wringer, but generally, that’s not really the case. But when we work out and fuel our bodies properly, we get a chance to see just how incredible they truly are. We begin to appreciate our bodies’ impressive abilities to adapt, recover, grow stronger, heal and endure. Our bodies were designed to move, and when we feed them well and move them instead of cooping them up in a cage — or car, or office chair, or couch — all day, we get to see them function in their element, and it’s really awesome to watch them work.
What are your self-loving reasons for getting and staying fit? —Alison