I spent last weekend in Rhode Island. It was a weekend with a big group of friends boating, swimming, and hanging out at the beach.
Leading up to this weekend I had a thought… “I haven’t been exercising as much lately. How am I going to feel in a bikini all weekend? Will I be self-conscious? Will I be able to enjoy myself?”
Flashforward to now, post-weekend trip, and I can thankfully say this really wasn’t on my mind. I’ve been thinking, why is this? In the past I would have been so self-conscious. I would have felt so much guilt and shame for not exercising and eating in the way I thought I “should.”
So why was this time so different for me? Then it dawned on me… I have been listening to my body and giving my body what it wants. As a result, I have been so much happier and have found it easier to make healthier decisions.
Things didn’t always use to be this way for me. When I was a junior in college I was so intense about eating and exercising. I was dancing maybe 16 to 20 hours a week. My course load was more than full. I was super strict about what I ate. I was counting calories. And even was weighing myself a couple of days a week.
I was the tiniest I have ever been. And not that happy.
I was exhausted all the time. The number of calories and my daily weight were measures of how good I allowed myself to feel.
End of the semester my body burned out. By the time finals rolled around I just didn’t want to do anything. I was spent from not listening to my body. I remember just barely making it through my dance finals and that I kept injuring myself in these minor ways cause I was just so out of touch with my body.
What I can easily see now looking back is that the more I listen to my body and give it what it wants the happier I am. I don’t need numbers on a scale or a calorie count to validate how wonderful I am. When I let myself eat what I want and rest when I need it I don’t feel deprived.
When I crave a salad I have a salad. When I crave a burger I have a burger. When I want to do yoga I do yoga. When I want to lounge on the couch I lounge.
Our bodies are so smart. After all, we are the outcome of hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. Listen to and give it what it needs.
Now I very much understand sometimes we need to eat and exercise in certain ways for health reasons. I by no means am discouraging anyone to ignore their health care provider.
But overall, what needs are you ignoring? Are you pushing through with work forgetting to eat, putting off getting into nature, or not getting enough sleep?
Don’t ignore what your body is telling you. You might be surprised at how much happier you become when you listen to your body.
Do you struggle to listen to your body’s needs? My program From Hustle & Burnout to Balanced & Breezy helps you learn how to listen to these needs so you can prevent burnout and live life with more ease. Wondering if it might be the right fit? Sign up for a free Discovery Call here!