What emotions drive your lifestyle choices?

This is a side of fitness and wellness that is not often discussed, but the reality is that our emotions effect the actions and choices we make everyday. From the moment you wake up you make choices based on “how you feel”, such as what you put on for clothes, what you eat for breakfast and what kind of music you listen to on the way to work. It seems only natural that your nutrition and physical activity also have an emotional tie. In order to make positive changes to improve your health it is important to understand your emotions when it comes to food and exercise. Do you reach for food when your stressed or do you go out for a run or hit the gym? Do you “hate” exercise? If so, what is it that you “hate” about it?

One of the first things I impress upon my clients when we begin working together is that you must find an activity that brings you joy. If you set out to run a marathon and you hate to run, chances are  you are not going to be successful in your training. Exercise should not be torture. Quite the contrary. When you exercise your body releases endorphins that make you feel good. If you are resistant to starting an exercise routine it is time to look deep and figure out why. What is it that’s holding you back from taking steps to improve your health? Are you afraid of failure? Are you afraid success? For some people the thought of making positive changes is daunting based on the fact they feel they will then be held to a new standard. That people will expect more from them when they demonstrate the ability to make these changes.  Every single person out there owes it to themselves to move more to maintain good health and a long life. Our bodies were designed to move and in combination with proper nutrition, we all have control over how we “feel” each and everyday. I’m a firm believer in the phrase “if you don’t use it, you lose it” and I have seen proof of this both in my personal life as well as with my clients. If you give your body what it needs good health will follow.

On the other side of the exercise spectrum, are you a compulsive exercise person? Do you take it to the extreme to the point that if you miss a workout you experience anxiety or stress? Will you go out for a run in extreme temperatures?  Have you become addicted to the endorphins related to exercise? If so, there are other factors at work here. You may be suffering from body image issues and feel compelled to exercise to maintain/achieve the body you want. This  may also be an indication that you are feeling a loss of control in other areas of your life. Over exercising (over training) can lead to a whole host of health issues.

The point of today’s message is that we often don’t stop to think about why we make the health choices that we do. What is it that’s driving our current behaviors? Is it coming from a place of self love and nurturing or are we punishing ourselves because we are not happy with what’s inside? Be proud and thankful of the body you were given and all that it does for you.  Treat it with care so that you can stay healthy and strong for years to come.

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