Have you ever heard one of your friends or a famous actress, perhaps, say “I can eat whatever I want without gaining weight.” Or “My exercise is chasing around my kids all day.” Maybe even “I eat healthy most of the time, so when I do want to splurge on a cheeseburger and fries, I don’t feel guilty about it.”
Give or take a few variables, aren’t these all things we’d all love to be able to say about ourselves? I don’t have to kill myself in the gym, eat like a rabbit, or suck in my tummy. I have smooth skin, incredible willpower and good genes.
I’m not saying any of this to try to depress you or to make you compare yourself to Cameron Diaz or Lea Michelle; rather, I think there’s something to be said for creating your own meditations/mantras when it comes to health and wellness.
I recently finished reading “Women, Food and God,” and I’m also reading “A Place of Yes” right now, both of which talk a lot about the stories we’ve been told (and have believed) all our lives about who we are, based almost entirely on our parents, friends, teachers, family members and others who we interact with every day without necessarily looking inside and thinking “is this really me” or “is this who I want to be.” It seems like a rather large issue to me, actually, and I write about this a lot — how do we know what we’re like, for example, without the reactions and judgments of those around us? — But I like the idea of stopping, right now, wherever you are in your day, week, life, month or year and taking the time to put the energy out there and into what you DO want to be, how you DO want to act, what you want and thus starting to figure out precisely how to get it.
So today, make your own list of statements about yourself, true or not. Perhaps start out with some negative beliefs you have about yourself, but then turn the page over and make each statement the complete opposite — positive, far-reaching, even more amazing than the basic contrary to the original negative belief about yourself. Or compile a list of all those cliche statements about body size, fitness level and beauty that you’d like to recognize in yourself and start feeding and believing in every day, 100%. After all, how can you strive for a goal if you don’t know exactly what it is? Below, I share with you my current list of statements.
Although I’ve gotten to the point where I can pretty much eat whatever I want without gaining weight, I stick to healthy options most of the time. It makes me feel good.
I use food as fuel. It has no relation to my thoughts, feelings or emotional state.
I get some form of exercise every day. Whether it’s walking up and down the stairs 20 times or doing some crunches during a movie on the weekend, my body is in constant motion until it’s time for rest and relaxation every night.
I love my body, and so I treat it with care and respect. I nourish it with healthy foods, and I feed it with restorative, endorphin-boosting exercise. I appreciate all that it does for me each day.
I receive with appreciation all of the kind comments people make about my state of health, conditioning and outward appearance each day, although this is not what motivates me or steadies my soul. Rather, it is my love for all living creatures and myself that encourages me every day to live my truth and be and do the best I can.
I love to cook; I like knowing where my food comes from and putting care and attention into preparing meals for me and my loved ones. I can be smart, diligent and disciplined while doing so, without taking the fun out of my passion.
I am the picture of health. I eat plenty of fruits and vegetables each day that vary in color, vitamins and nutrients so that I’m constantly protecting myself and my family, safeguarding our futures through the simple act of eating and exercising.
I am on this journey with the support of every woman before me, everyone cheering me on today and God and the Universe leading the path before me. Every step is a step forward, every turn is a right turn, and each change and decision is based in love, peace and purity.
This list could go on and on for pages, for days — and you can write and rewrite your story over and over each morning if you want to. Although they may seem like giant, all-encompassing goal statements, start off with the first one on your list. Read it to yourself every day, memorize it, or remind yourself of the gist of it every time you find yourself doing something that’s not in line with that goal. Once you’ve noticed that you’re still keeping the message top of mind, or you feel like you’ve mastered the idea behind it, move on to the next bullet — and so on and so forth. You’ll find that just like anything, with practice it will eventually start to come naturally to you — whatever it may be.
I am in the midst of doing this exercise with a more general life scope right now, too, which you can also embrace — do you need to work on patience? Kindness toward others? Compassion? Prayer? Whatever it is, take it one step at a time. Don’t listen to the voices of others that you’ve constantly been hearing around you, whether it’s something you believe about yourself and don’t know why or if you’ve come into contact with people who’ve led you to believe things about yourself that you’d rather not any longer. No one is destined to be or do one same thing in this life day after day, week after week. You are the artist, and your greatest work in this world is the masterpiece of your life and how you use it for good every time you put your two feet on the ground each morning. Stay true to yourself, and if you feel like maybe you don’t know who that is, then start here.
Wow. Now doesn’t that feel good?