Would you believe me if I said that dieting and exercise can be joyful?
Now I don’t necessarily mean that you’re going to love every moment of it. But what can happen is that you can find pleasure in the process and the outcome.
For example, Maya quit eating sugar. It took some time to get there but she did. She got sugar out of her diet and when she ate simple things like a persimmon from her yard or a handful of berries they tasted so amazing she felt tremendous joy and satisfaction. (She also lost weight, had more energy, better sleep, and experienced less pain from her arthritis).
I like to lift heavy weights at the gym. There’s satisfaction in the moment of success and there’s a great feeling of catharsis when that barbell hits the ground. It feels good to me.
My husband likes to run, and run, and run. He finds peace, peace of mind, and solitude when he runs. It’s zen-like for him and he enjoys it.
My point is that you can experience joy and motivation when you’re struggling to lose weight and exercise more. The key is to tap into what makes you happy. What motivates you?
Are you like my husband and you enjoy some quiet time to yourself? Do you enjoy dancing with others? Do you love feeling graceful and moving your body to music?
Exercise Can Be Enjoyable
When you’re looking to exercise I strongly urge you to find activities that you enjoy. If you love the water, then swim or row. If you like strategy then play tennis. If you like camaraderie then join a running/hiking/biking group. If you love nature then get out in it on a bike or your feet. You get the picture.
Don’t set huge goals. Try to enjoy your movement pleasure once a week or a few minutes a few days a week. Be realistic about what you can do and then as you find that you enjoy doing it, it will become more of a priority.
Diet Change Can be, Enjoyable (Really)
Let’s talk about food….
I have to say that you don’t know how good you can feel until you know how good you can feel.
Meaning, you have to have a little faith that the nutrition steps you take are going to make you feel better and then they’ll be easier because you’ll love how you feel.
Here are a few things to try that will result in feeling better (and losing weight)
No sugar. If you can’t eliminate, then reduce gradually over time and get to the point where you have many days without sugar.
Low carb. Honestly, if you cut out sugar your carbs are going to be pretty low because sugar is in most baked goods. That being said, rice, pasta, and potatoes are also high carb and you can dramatically reduce your intake.
Don’t eat all day. Give yourself 8 hours a day to eat. The rest of the day you’re not eating and therefore giving your body a rest from digesting. It’s a type of intermittent fasting and an 8 hour eating window should be manageable.
Don’t eat 3 hours before bedtime. If you go to bed at 10, you’re not eating after 7. Simple.
Finding joy in these practices?
- Maybe you’ll find joy in the process because you’re doing something for your health.
- Maybe you’ll find joy because you’re losing weight, gaining energy, sleeping better, having more sex…
- Maybe you’ll find joy because your skin looks better or you’re not getting sick all the time
- I love learning and maybe you’ll find joy in learning about how your body responds to different practices like Intermittent fasting or no sugar.
- Maybe you’ll find joy in sharing your process with others and supporting each other.
- Maybe you’ll enjoy taking fewer prescriptions or seeing your doctor less often
There are many ways to find joy and motivation with diet and exercise. You just have to find the ones that resonate with you and focus on them. Does it mean that changing your lifestyle will be easy? No, change is always a challenge. But it will mean that you’ll be in a better position to stick to your new habits and to experience more joy in the process. It becomes something you choose to do rather than something you feel you have to do. Big difference!