Guess what? It’s not your fault.
So many of us have tried to exercise, tried to diet, tried to lose weight, without ever achieving results that last.
So, we feel like failures.
Many of us have come to the conclusion after 25+ years of trying and failing, numerous time, that we should give up this exhausting and negative pursuit.
We wonder whether we are simply “too lazy,” “too busy,” “don’t have the body,” or “not the type”? Have you ever asked yourself those questions?
I hope you’ll give me a few moments of your time to read my post below explaining the reasons why it’s not your fault and EveryBODY is the type!
Hi, my name is Michelle Segar. I’m a motivation psychologist, researcher, women’s coach and speaker. I am also the Associate Director of the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy (SHARP) Center or Women and Girls at the University of Michigan.
I’m writing this post in response to Leah Segedie’s (AKA momivation), a real promoter of physical activity and self-care for women, call for bloggers to write about how fitness and health can be extended to everyone.
I’ve been researching women, motivation, exercise, and self-care, and working directly with women and behavioral professionals/clinicians about these issue for almost 20 years.
The first thing I want to tell you is that we have learned an approach to exercise, dietary changes, and weight control that LEAD TO FAILURE.
The approach that we have learned– to change our behavior and take care of ourselves– in general comes out of a “deficit” model.
It focuses us on the negative parts of ourselves and teaches us to initiate behavior change as a way to get rid of our “faults” and “imperfections” (a primary one being “excess” weight.)
This approach, however, leads us to feel bad about ourselves. As you probably know by now, initiating a behavior change out of negative feelings about ourselves doesn’t lead to the long-term positive outcomes we yearn for.
We’ve also been socialized to adopt health behaviors like exercise to achieve certain things, usually with emphasizing benefits like “losing weight” and other health-related outcomes like “preventing disease.”
Yet, my research and the research of others suggest these types of reasons, while logical and important, they don’t make behavior desirable or compelling.
In fact, adopting a lifestyle change out of these reasons puts pressure on us. They lead us to feel that these behaviors are “chores” to accomplish instead of “gifts” we can give ourselves. Know what I mean?
This completely undermines our motivation!
These reasons promote feelings of shame and self-loathing. They lead us to rebel against feeling controlled! Not surprisingly, we eventually we quit.
I call these types of reasons for change “The Wrong Why.”
When we start exercise with The Wrong Why, it leads to cyclical, not sustainable, behavior.
See below to understand how The Wrong Why leads to The Vicious Cycle of Failure. (Start reading the graphic at 11:00pm below)
The Vicious Cycle of Failure
Because The Vicious Cycle of Failure is the only model we’ve been taught, we’ve been stuck repeating it for 10, 20, or even 30+ years!
Luckily, escaping The Vicious Cycle of Failure is actually quite simple. If you are interested in learning what you need to do…keep reading.
CHANGE YOUR WHY
You can create high-quality motivation and lasting change by going to the origin of making a lifestyle change: Your reason for initiating it!
You already read about how starting with The Wrong Why keeps you stuck. My research suggests that if you can reject The Wrong Why and mindfully choose reasons for change (e.g., select “Your Whys”) you’ll discover that motivation and well-being wells up inside of you.
Working with women, some thin, some heavy, some very heavy, some healthy, some living with illnesses, yet all very different, I’ve found a solution that works when it comes to staying consistently physically active and feeling better about oneself:
Use daily movement to:
- celebrate yourself
- improve your mood
- get more energy
- reduce your stress
- be a better parent
- enjoy your work more
- take better care of yourself
- live according to your core values
Here’s the kicker: When you move and experience these things above… you create a domino effect on the rest of your day and life…having less stress and feeling happier improves all of the other important aspects of your daily life (parenting, working, being a spouse/partner/friend, etc.)
Starting these Whys, ones that you affirm yourself and your life, fosters the highest quality motivation that exists! So, change your “Why” to be celebratory and self-affirming. You’ll improve your daily quality of life and you’ll discover that, this time, your motivation sticks around.
EveryBODY shape size color will feel better by moving more everDAY.
I urge you to toss out the negative messages you’ve learned about your body and movement. They only get in your way. You CAN start anew, with a new model, right now!
EveryBODY, all of us, deserves to renew and nourish ourselves through movement, everyday .
It’s time for women to get strategic about our own self-care! Check out my Smart Path to Lasting Change.
In fact, if you feel moved (sorry about the pun) and want to commit to yourself right now, check out Pledge20. Pledge20 was started by a woman, Sheryl Lynn, who discovered that when she moved for 20 minutes per day, the increased energy and joy she felt helped improve every other aspect of her life. She started Pledge20 to give other women an opportunity to commit to moving for 20 minutes per day, in any and all ways, to better take care of ourselves so we can enjoy every day more.
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Next post, I’ll describe how to change your “HOW” to escape The Vicious Cycle of Failure for good!