New Rule: Do What Feels Good

Self-love by Loving Earth

I’ve noticed a serious problem with the way people go about trying to get healthy, at least in America. Diet and exercise programs are all geared towards visible results, as fast as possible, whether it’s healthy or not. This sets people up for serious disappointment. Why? Well, if the person is dieting and exercising in a healthy fashion, results can be very slow to show themselves, if ever (more on that in a second). I propose that instead of setting out trying to look thinner or buffer or what-have-you, you should just do what feels good.

This is a scary idea, I know. Due to a lot of variants that aren’t really worth getting in to (or I’ll go on all day!), we are taught from day one that our bodies can’t be trusted, that they are base and dirty, and that we need to keep them under control at all times. Doing things for the sheer sake of pleasure – of whatever kind – is viewed as decadent and to many people, absolutely immoral! These leaves many many people totally out of tune with their bodies and with no idea how to take care of them aside from what is shown in mainstream media (and we all know what a great source that is).

So what do I mean by doing what feels good, instead of focusing on visible results? Well, I’ll use myself as an example. I do about 30-45 minutes of yoga and exercise every morning. I’ve been doing this for probably six months now, and there really aren’t a lot of visible results (aside from increased flexibility, but that’s, you know, not something you can see unless I’m showing it off). Last time I weighed myself – we don’t own a scale, so this was around three months ago – I weighed around 145, at 5’2″. I’m sure I haven’t lost much, if any, of that weight. By the way, that puts my BMI in the “overweight” category, but we all know BMI is a total crock. It also happens to be the only “scientific” way of telling if someone is overweight/obese or not. FYI: if I was about 15-20 pounds heavier, I’d be in the “obese” category. Brings a new light to the word, hmm?

Anyways, sidetracks aside, I do yoga and exercise because it makes me feel great. I can totally tell the difference if I don’t do yoga in the morning. It’s the same for food – I certainly don’t think of myself as deprived in any way whatsoever. I don’t count calories or worry excessively about my food intake. I don’t eat much processed food, hardly eat fast food at all, and never drink soda. Why? Because it makes me feel like crap. I can definitely feel the difference if, say, we’re on a road trip and end up eating gas station food and fast food. I feel like total crap the next day.

If my lifestyle was focused on losing weight, staying very thin, and obsessively tracking what I eat, I would have given it up a long time ago and I’d definitely be less healthy as a result. I simply do what makes me feel good – I eat good food and exercise because I feel great as a result. It seems to me that it would be better overall if we all tried this same system (if you can call it that) – no guilt trips, no calorie counting, no assigning labels of “good” and “bad” to foods, no strict plan that sets the person planning it up for resentment and failure (see also: diets don’t work). Just doing what makes your body feel good.

It’s hard to put into words the way this changed my relationship with my body. When you get back in tune with what you, as a physical human being, need, and get away from eating junk food, or giving moral labels to food (what is up with that, by the way?), or not ever exercising, the change is amazing. The pure joy of being more in touch with my body is enough of a reward – once I learned to listen, I figured out what I needed and when I needed it. I feel much better and calmer (although I’m sure the yoga has a part in that – I’m pretty fanatical about it!), all the time. I highly, highly recommend giving it a go! Obviously I can’t make any promises about how you’ll feel, but it’s a good journey to take.

Further reading:

  • http://www.mischiefmydear.com/dramatispersonae Ashe Mischief

    Thank you for saying this! The Beau is SO horrible about this–fad juices, protein shakes, the Master Cleanse (which he wanted to do for 2 weeks?!?), South Beach (which I don’t mind for the most part) etc. And I’m like, “stop it. stop talking to me about this. Get off your ass, moderate how much you eat, and you’ll lose weight.”
    .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..8 Great Dates to go on with Your Girl Friends =-.

  • http://www.shoedaydreams.com Poochie

    Ashe

    Please tell him “no” to Atkins and South Beach, they are soooo horrible for him health wise. They just scare me!

  • http://www.mischiefmydear.com/dramatispersonae Ashe Mischief

    Actually, South Beach ISN’T bad, once you get in to the actual menu. I don’t like the aspect of the Phases, but once you get in to the later one, it’s really just encouraging you to eat natural sugars, whole grains, lean meats, and lots of veggies. Atkins I can understand the fear of, but South Beach, for the recipes and not the diet itself, actually isn’t really much to worry over.
    .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..8 Great Dates to go on with Your Girl Friends =-.

  • http://www.retrochick.co.uk Retro Chick

    Atkins isn’t that bad either once you get past the strict first 2 week phase, especially as me and wheat don’t get on so well, I found I felt better, it was just complicated.

    For the record my BMI puts me in the overweight category too. For about 2 years I’ve been trying to just eat with moderation, but Christmas always kills me! I agree with what you say though, it’s all about being comfortable in your own skin, and when you feel that way you want to treat your body better.
    .-= Retro Chick´s last blog ..Retro Chick Style Icon – Drew Barrymore =-.

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  • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com The Curvy Fashionista

    I. Love. YOU.

    I love you for so many reasons you have mentioned above! I read the tips and tricks on the internet about how a plus size woman should dress to look slimmer… and I feel your mantra trickles into any and all facets of fashion, life, and self-love! I SO love you!

  • http://www.wicked-whimsy.com Michelle

    I won’t lie, I pretty much know nothing about Atkins except that Laurie at Crazy Aunt Purl (www.crazyauntpurl.com, lady is HILARIOUS) said when she was on it, she literally had dreams of baked potatoes.

    Marie, I already said it over Twitter, but thank you! <3 I much appreciate your comment!

  • http://compostermom.blogspot.com Daisy

    Hubs claims he wants to do South Beach, but he won’t do the research. I gave up on him when he refused to eat homemade whole wheat muffins with fresh blueberries “I’m not supposed to eat carbs” but he walked out to the TV with a bag of chips. Gah!!
    .-= Daisy´s last blog ..Working on Sunday: desk before and after =-.

  • http://www.idiosyncraticstyle.com Kristen

    Awesome post. I have been at war with my body for pretty much my whole life, never giving it any love at all. Not only was I saying horrible things about it , but also feeding it processed crap and thinking I had to punish it with hard work and whip it into shape… needless to say that never worked.

    Recently, I decided to eat good natural foods, give my body a few compliments from time to time and exercise in moderate ways doing things i actually like to do (what a concept, eh?) and I have noticed some fantastic changes in the last couple months, not that i lost all the weight i wanted to or drastically changed my size, but I feel happier and have made small changes that keep me on the right path and that will pay off in the long run.

    Thanks so much for this post and spreading this message. It pains me to think of all the years i wasted hating my own body, when i should have been more grateful and loving towards it. There are many causes I feel strongly about, but this tops out the list, too many women NEVER feel good in their own bodies and the shift in beliefs has to start somewhere and the message needs to be spread… SO GREAT WORK!