Have you Said “Thank You” Lately?

I vividly remember a time about a year ago that profoundly changed my relationship with my body and weight.  It didn’t involve a self-help book, the perfect food, the most effective exercise routine, a number on the scale, or fitting into my *skinny jeans. * Here’s what happened…

Love yourselfI stepped onto the Stairmaster in my family’s basement one afternoon.  I had spent many hours on this particular Stairmaster throughout the past 10 years.  But this time was different.  I set the timer for 30 minutes and the level to 10 and blasted my favorite tunes and started to step.  Mid-way through my session, I paused and looked down at my thighs moving up and down and my feet pressing into the pedals moving in rhythm with the machine and up to my arms lightly holding onto the handles. My thighs, my arms, my entire body was working really, really hard.  Something shifted. I saw my entire body in a different light. In that moment I felt a deep appreciation for my body, for all of the things that it has enabled me to do.  I turned down the tunes and felt inclined to take each step with consciousness and care.

In the past, I had used exercise as a way to de-stress (it’s great for that), but also as a way to maintain or achieve a certain weight and body shape and to feel a sense of control.  In that moment I felt that it wasn’t fair to my innocent thighs and arms to exert all of this effort while I remained unconscious to the sensations that my body fed back to me. What about what my body wanted?  How could I know when enough was enough or what the right type of exercise was for a given day or if I had an achy knee if I wasn’t paying any attention to my body?

hot-yogaAfter the Stairmaster session, I stepped onto my yoga mat.  This yoga session, like my experience on the Stairmaster felt different than those in the past.  This time, as I pressed my hands into the mat for Downward Facing Dog, I noticed my fingers, my nails, the thin veins in my hands, and a scar on my finger.  I felt my hair brushing against my neck, long and free.   In that moment I realized that I expected so much of my body but gave it so little in return— attention, love, care, and gratitude. I also realized the beauty that had always been there and will always be there.  With that realization, ancient tears filled my mat.  But I continued to practice and with each pose and breath there were more tears, smiles, cleansing breaths, and new perspective.  I vowed that I would give my body the respect, care, and love it deserved.  Lastly, I forgave myself for almost a decade of criticizing and disrespecting my body.

So many of my amazing clients ask me when they’ll love the body they are in.  My answer is always the same: You have to start to love it now.  Baby steps are OK. Believe me, I know that it’s easier said than done. Remember, to get to where you want to go, you need to arrive in the here and now first with the very feeling you desire.  Practice saying “thank you” to your beautiful body now.

Here are 5 ways to care for, respect and love your body now:

1. During and after workouts, thank your body for the work it did.  You may feel silly at first or maybe it’ll feel really good and peaceful.  Either way it’s OK- make it work for you but don’t cop out on yourself because you’re uncomfortable.

2. Approach the simple things you do to your body everyday like washing your hands, getting dressed, or taking care of your skin in a more conscious, slow, and loving fashion.  Take your time.  Your body works so incredibly hard for you, give it some TLC.  Only then can it give you what you’re after.

3. Be in your body when you exercise.  Notice your breath.  Even amidst the discomfort and intensity, practice staying present.  Decide what types of exercise you and your body enjoy and then do more of those.

4. Embrace the gray area when it comes to food and exercise.  Many of us get locked into black or white/all-or-nothing thinking when it comes to our exercise routines and foods–Either we go for a 4-mile run or nothing at all. We eat ice cream or a salad. What about a walk?  What about having a salad full of vibrantly colored vegetables with those slices of pizza?  Everyday is different–be flexible with your food and exercise choices.

5. Forgive yourself for ways in which you have been unkind to yourself in the past.

Lauren's headshotHi! I’m Lauren Noreen. I’m a Certified Eating Psychology & Holistic Health Coach. Fitness Magazine Online recently named me Boston’s Health Coach for 2013. I also proudly teach Core Fusion in town at Exhale Spa. I’m all about the mind-body connection and my approach is cutting-edge. Not only do I help my clients achieve and exceed their own physical expectations, but I infuse my entire practice with love and compassion. Learning to love yourself, your body, and your life is the key to healing unwanted health symptoms and getting to your ideal weight. Self-love isn’t just *possible* but also your birthright! To take your first step toward wellness, download my 10 Minute Miracle Morning Routine by clicking here