EveryBODY, EveryDAY

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 .

EveryBODY. 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.

If my ideas resonate with you and you’d like my continued support in your process, sign up for my free monthly eNewsletter.

Please tell others who you think would be interested my research-based perspective through using the social media and email icons below.

Next post, I’ll describe how to change your “HOW” to escape The Vicious Cycle of Failure for good!

Compassion, General, Happiness, Individuals, Listen to your body, Motivation, Physical Activity, Self-caring, Self-comparison, Women's Motivation, Women's Self-Care


  • Lita

    Hi Michelle, 
    I really agree with your advice on exercise.  I have a few issues that I struggle with and I am sure others do.  I have exercised for most of my adult life, I used to compete in bodybuilding competitions in my 20′s.  Now I am 45 yrs old, have two children.  I struggle with exercising to maintain a certain ” fit look “, also trying to do the amount that the  “experts ” recommend.  This all has just made me feel pressured and have been inactive on and off from this Fall.  How does one get the voices of  the experts telling you that you should do cardiovascular exercises this amount of minutes per week and resistance exercises twice weekly. Our own expectations on how we should look physically. ( Exercise perfection.) Women’s struggles with ageing bodies.  I am sure many women my age, like myself, struggle with body image issues.  I feel as though I have lost my joy in exercise, because of the pressure to “look a certain way” , and prevent future health issues.  Any suggestions would be great.  I love your work!! 

    Thanks,
    Lita 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michelle-Segar/569603042 Michelle Segar

    HI Lita, thank you for sharing your struggle. Yes, you are so on target. Many many women struggle with this very thing. With your background in bodybuilding you come to this issue with even more pressure because it was your reality before. You know, Mindfulness, the second part of SMART is actually a key ingredient to moving forward and solving this issue. I suggest you think hard about how unmotivated and unjoyful you feel about physical activity/exercise and evaluate if you want to change this or not?  You are the on in power here. It’s up to you to determine if you are ready to shift your reasons for participating to ones that will fill you with joy and renewal…does that make sense?

    • Lita

      Hi Michelle,
      Thank you for your response.  I understand what you mean.  By observing the thoughts in my mind such as my ” should’s ” ( what I should look like, how much exercise should I do, what exercises do the ” experts” recommend) I can choose to observe those thoughts and not allow them to control my behavior.  When I first started to exercise and weight lift it was for enjoyment and stress relief.  It is only after I competed did the pressure to look a certain way start.  I need to start feeling and experiencing exercise for the positives such as the ones you listed in this blog. 
      It can be difficult with all of the conflicting information in the media.  Looking forward to more of your blogs.

      Thanks,
      Lita 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michelle-Segar/569603042 Michelle Segar

    Thanks for your kind words. I look forward to more exchanges with you as time passes. Michelle

  • Lita

    Hi Michelle, 
    I was thinking about what you said to me (” I suggest you think hard about how unmotivated and unjoyful you feel about physical activity/exercise and evaluate if you want to change this or not?”)  Why wouldn’t I want to change how I feel about exercise to something positive? I am not sure what you mean. 
     I guess I am rebelling because I feel that I am so tired. For decades following rules.  Rules to eat a certain way, rules to exercise a certain way, Rules to look a certain way.  Deep down inside I am sick of all of the rules.  I know that I am in charge of my thoughts and only I can change my beliefs.  I am finding that I am stuck, like you say blocked. I feel like saying to hell with it and to do just what I want, when I want.  Eat intuitively and not by some experts set of rules.  I want to exercise again because I want to, not because I should.  This is where I am blocked.  I think that I will re read some of your previous blogs again, maybe something will click. Thanks again for taking the time to pass on some of your advice.  I really appreciate it.

    Lita 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michelle-Segar/569603042 Michelle Segar

    Lita, sometimes when we feel that tired, the best thing we can do is stop and give ourselves a break. Maybe this is one of those times for you?  We have so much pressure from every aspect of life. So, sometimes slowing down to evaluate and just give ourselves a break is the best gift we can give ourselves, the most self-caring thing we can do…..But only you know the answer to that….

  • Lita

    Thank you Michelle. I do need a break. 
     I may struggle with my inner perfectionist healthy me.  To enjoy a break without guilt,( all self imposed of course. ) A break sounds refreshing, no rules. Doing what I want again, not what others think I ” should” do. It is a little frightening since having a fit body is what my norm is.  A self gift of no rules and guilt!
    Thank you, looking forward to your future posts.
    Lita 

  • http://www.facebook.com/ghadav Ghada Vanderpool

    Oooh, I really like this! It’s all about celebrating as opposed to being negative. I think I will put those bulletin points on my wall. thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michelle-Segar/569603042 Michelle Segar

    You are welcome Ghada. Thank you for sharing your response! You are welcome! Michelle