It’s natural for us to reflect on the previous months as the year draws to a close. I’m sharing some of my own and my clients’ thoughts on what was learned or shared this year that would be beneficial to keep in mind as we enter a new year and decade!
On Body Acceptance
I didn't actually appreciate my body and how it was functioning until it wasn’t. I was focused on the wrong things. I worked out to “fix” body parts I didn’t like rather than to make my body stronger and more resilient; those are the things that really matter.
Bigger, smaller, muscled or not - healthy bodies come in various shapes and sizes. The ideal body type changes through the years and it doesn’t necessarily indicate greater health and longevity. How does your body feel and what can it do? Strive for improvement if you aren’t where you want to be and know that your healthy may look different than someone else’s.
The more I catch negative self-talk and re-frame it, the easier it becomes. The negative self-talk may never go away completely but it's much more quiet!
My favorite quote from the book Secrets from the Eating Lab,
“You were not put on this earth to mold yourself into a perfect physical specimen. As writer Glennon Melton says, ‘Your body is not your masterpiece, your life is.’"
One of my favorite quotes this year is from James Clear on how our habits and identity are intertwined: “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”
Putting out my journal in a place where I see it is the only way I actually write it in consistently. What you see really does have a big impact on what you do.
I get it done if I write it down.
When we experience stress or sadness or other negative emotions, we all find ways to cope. For many, it becomes a habit to turn to food. We can't change that until we become aware of it.
We can delay some of the deleterious effects of aging via proper self-care: not smoking, hydration, adequate exercise and strength training, eating a nutritious diet, managing stress, and getting enough sleep. But even the healthiest and fittest are going to find themselves changing. Age is not just a number…it matters. Considerations for nutrition, sleep, recovery, etc. are going to be different for a 20- something woman vs a woman in midlife.
Approaching middle age is not what I imagined in my 20s. Sure, there are wrinkles, gray hair, a bit more cellulite, and a tendency towards belly fat. But also there’s a confidence and self-acceptance I never knew in my younger years. I have been reading a lot of quotes and posts from women about slowly letting go of restrictive and destructive habits in an effort to reach some sort of ideal appearance. I think this is an awesome part of getting older.
Anti-aging messaging is BS. Instead of focusing on appearing as youthful as I can, I plan on aging well. Regular physical activity, resistance training, and dietary choices will be priority over pricey products or procedures. I won’t say I am giving up hair color or skin products but I refuse to be overly concerned about wrinkles or gray hair.
On Exercise and Movement
You get to define what strength means to you. How you express your strength and manage your muscles may be different than how others do it. However, muscle maintenance is a critical component of any fitness program regardless of who you are.
I don’t want to feel “wrecked” and unable to function after training sessions. I want to feel stronger and healthier and energized.
Ten minutes is better than no minutes.
On Eating Well
It’s okay to treat yourself as long as you remain mindful about what you are doing, why you are doing it and still getting the nutrients your body needs throughout the day.
If you haven’t had success with desired changes to the way you eat, it may be time to start asking yourself some tough questions. Dig into your habits to see how they are tied to your previous experiences and current mindset. You can’t focus solely on macros and micronutrients; it’s behavior change.
It’s amazing how preferences can change after consistently adding in more nutritious foods. Now when I haven’t had enough vegetables for a day or two, I crave them!
Self-care doesn’t mean indulging in things to escape from life, it means finding what actually brings you joy. It is healthy for your mind and body. Sometimes that means facing some harsh realities or saying no to people or things that are no longer good for you.
Self-care is necessary. Self-care isn't the same as self-indulgence.
I must make getting adequate sleep a priority. Not getting enough affects everything from my appetite to my mood!
For years, I said I should get a regular massage. I knew it’d be beneficial but I didn’t take action. Finally this year, I did it every month since February. I plan to continue this self-care habit in 2020. I wish I hadn’t waited to so long to make it happen. Do the things that will make you feel better, don’t just talk about them!
What did you learn or do in 2019 that's worth keeping close in the coming year?