Are you an all or nothing exerciser?
If you are noticing this approach is not really working for you anymore, there is a way out.
All or nothing exercise comes from the idea that more exercise is better for weight loss. The whole approach comes from the calorie concept. If you only burn 50 calories that does not make a dent in your dinner much less the treat you had after so what is the point? One problem is that weight loss is more than calories in and calories out.
The bigger problem is how this mentality blinds you to the real benefits you are getting, beyond the scale, from even a short bout of exercise. The way out of all or nothing is to look beyond the scale, because even if you really want to lose weight, that is not the ultimate goal. Really?
Yes! I am willing to bet you do not want to get to a goal weight and feel worse; less energy, more pain, less capable of doing the things you want to do. The number on that scale is not your success. How you feel and function better is your true success.
Let’s say you want more energy. You decide the weight is making you tired so you set out to exercise to help you lose weight. You restart an exercise program and instantly remember how great you feel from exercise. You have more energy you are sleeping better, less stressed. But then the scale does not budge and you say “this is not working!”.
If the “all” part of you wins out, you ramp up the amount of exercise to really jump start that weight loss, feel exhausted but believe you are making progress.
If the ‘nothing’ part of you wins out, you stop exercising and mentally beat yourself up for being so ‘lazy’.
The third option is to be mindful.
Mindfulness is not meditation, its a way of being present to what is happening right here, right now, with curiosity and kindness. This third option means you notice what you are getting from what you are doing. You see clearly that you are in fact getting what you want from weight loss; more energy!
With mindfulness you stay curious rather than critical, so you can look at what else may be happening that is keeping your weight stuck. The kindness part of mindfulness keeps you from giving up on yourself. It keeps you from putting your down. Instead, it reminds you to talk to yourself like you would a good friend who it trying to lose weight.
Mindfulness has been shown in research to be very powerful with long term motivation. The bonus is, you get to improve your focus and ability to stay calm when life gets stressful.
In the next blog, I will talk about why that bonus is a key to weight loss.
For now, if you tend to be an all or nothing exerciser, try mindfulness and see what happens when you step back, stay curious, and be your best ally.
Keep Moving, Be Well