Monthly Archives: October 2015

Going Off The Rails and Trusting Myself Enough To Get Back on Track

Over the last two and half years I have done a crapload of learning – both for my own eating issues and in developing the skills I needed to work with my clients. Everything I’ve been taught to use with clients, I’ve put into practice first with myself – kept what worked and tossed what didn’t. Somewhere during that process, I’ve settled into something of a belief system when it comes to how to lose weight without dieting, how to manage emotional eating and how to eat normally (after years of chronic dieting). This “belief system” is really just a series of tools that I teach clients to use. I know they work when they’re applied to daily life consistently.

Tools and Trust
These tools have been working for me. I’ve lost 40 lbs this way and maintained that loss now for over a year. I’ve had clients ask: Does it get easier? Does it feel like less of a struggle at some point? And while the answer to those questions is yes, I certainly feel more at ease with food and my body, I’ve definitely clung to these tools tightly, there’s a part of me that worries I’ve held onto them possibly too tightly. There’s a fear that if I do let go of some of these tools (hunger cues, mindful eating, enjoying the food I eat bite for bite etc) for even a few days, I will gain a massive amount of weight again. Because I’ve done that (If you’re new here: I gained 60lbs of a 90lb loss back a few years ago). Because even if I have tools that keep me pointed in the right direction, there’s a part of myself that I don’t trust. 60 lbs felt like a huge betrayal.

So I’ve held the tools tight, relying on them most days in every food choice I make.

This isn’t a bad thing – having to practice something over and over again to make better decisions about food is way better than ending back in a shame eating spiral that never ends. But sometimes I wonder, what would happen if I stopped being so conscious and particular with these tools. Are they ingrained enough in me that they are now my “normal”? Can I trust what I’ve learned and taught or deep down is there an crazy eater just waiting to come back out?

Interestingly enough, despite relying on these tools so much, I’ve actually thought less about my own weight during this time than I have my entire life . . .which may seem surprising since I’m literally writing about weight, diet and eating issues on a weekly basis. I exercise, I eat well 90% of the time and put a lot of energy into acknowledging my feelings, journaling and working on getting what I need emotionally. I weigh more than I’d like to still but there’s no pain and shame around that anymore. I take good care of myself and I know I can look and feel good in the body I have right now.

In addition to wondering if I could stop holding on to these tools so tightly, my stablized weight and the length of time I’ve been using these eating tools, sort of made me feel like I deserved a “break” from them. If my weight had been stable for so long, what would be the harm in going off the rails more? I’ve never been so strict as to not allow myself what I want (we’re big into wine and chocolate in my house), but I definitely keep the reins from being too slack for more than a day or two. (As a side note: “going off the rails” is probably my favorite metaphor. The image of a speeding train on it’s predetermined and carefully maintained/charted course and then it leaving the rails uncontrollably and suddenly is a powerful image that describes how crazy eating can feel).

6 Weeks of Wild Eating
In late August, John and I went on vacation in Cape Cod. Vacation always brings a challenge when it comes to balancing healthy eating with indulgent eating and this year was no different. One of our house guests brought handmade donuts one morning. I said yes to the donut (I never eat donuts). We went out for fried clams and ice cream in the same night. I enjoyed both. After coming home from vacation, I gave it a half-assed attempt to get back on track, getting back to my regular workouts and focusing on getting my vegetables in but the “going off the rails” mentality food wise was still hanging around. All of September was filled with more chocolate, ice cream, bread, cheese, chips and wine than I had probably eaten in two years.

Earlier this month, I decided to finally get on the scale. Enough was enough. I don’t weigh myself everyday but I weigh myself regularly enough so that I can keep an eye on sneaky weight gain.  I also stopped keeping my food diary consistently. I don’t worry about calories anymore but I do write down what I eat everyday – it helps me remain conscious about my choices. I know myself and when I avoid the scale & my food diary, it means I’m trying to sabotage myself and ignore what I’m putting in my mouth. I kind of had been doing that since late August. I was still relying on checking in with my hunger and using that to decide when to stop eating but I wasn’t making the best choices I could most days. I know I was eating more than I usually do and I was often choosing a lot of foods that don’t make me feel my best.

The Scale
When I finally got on the scale, I sincerely expected to see at least a 6-8 lb gain – I had been eating wildly for at least 6 weeks. It was time to stop closing my eyes. It was time to get that train back on the rail! When the 0.0 on the digital scale finally registered my weight, it was just 1.4 lbs more than I had been when we left for vacation. I hadn’t even gained a pound and a half. Heck, my weight goes up and down a few pounds daily – if I weighed myself again in a couple days, would it even register as a gain?

I was dumbfounded. While I had been exercising, I wasn’t working out enough to work off all the extra stuff I had been eating and drinking. Historically – eating the very shit I had been eating equaled a huge influx on the scale.

I was hugely relieved. Even though I know I had gone off the rails for weeks, eating more and not well, I actually had been checking in on my hunger. There were no binges. No eating in secret. I tasted every bite of ice cream, chips, chocolate or other nutrient light foods and enjoyed the crap out of them. And I hadn’t indulged in negative thoughts about my body when they popped up. But I didn’t trust that these things were true because there was a part of me that was feeling like sabotaging my current ease with food.

I had let go of holding my “tools” so tightly and thought it was going to lead me down a familiar ugly path, but instead, it has proven to me that I actually have made some incredible healthy progress. It may sound fucked up to call 6 weeks of iffy eating as progress but it is, as I am trusting my body. I can trust what I’ve been taught and what I teach others. What I’ve been practicing for 2 and half years is having a deep effect on me. That not worrying so much about my weight means I can worry less about my weight. Eating “more” now doesn’t look like what it used to (clearing entire boxes of cheez-its or eating 4 slices of pizza for dinner). That is why I didn’t gain a huge amount of weight.

I guess the point of this long post is that we really need to be willing to trust ourselves completely and if you practice anything long enough, you’re going to get really good at it, even when you aren’t really trying all that hard. Knowing that I can let go of the reins a little more and not have disaster strike feels really empowering. It feels more like healing than I thought was even possible. I know that a truly healthy relationship with food means having a healthy relationship with yourself first – and that’s not possible if you don’t trust yourself.

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You Are Going to Make Mistakes (Lots of Them)!

photo credit: Keepers II via photopin (license)

Just a treat or a spiral back down into disordered eating?                       photo credit: Keepers II via photopin (license)

I’ve noticed that many women who are trying to heal their relationship with food think that at some point in their journey, they’ll be completely healed and never have a bad day of eating or restricting ever again. I’ve had days where I got caught up in that idea too. They either have an idea of how other “normal” eaters must live or they’ve have had such a long streak of good days that in this moment they can’t see how they could ever have an issue again.

They believe that they’ll never have another binge, that they’ll never be tempted to calorie count again, that they won’t see a fad diet or new product and be tempted to just try it once, that their weight won’t fluctuate at all, that they’ll never have another bad thought or thing to say about their body, that they’ll never feel bad about what they ate or didn’t eat, or that they’ll never overeat again.

None of that is true.

It’s not all glitter and rainbows when you figure out how to have a better relationship with food and your body. It’s not 100% smooth sailing.

Occasionally, you’re going to make mistakes. Sometimes you’ll have a whole month of daily mistakes! To be honest, I actually hate to even call it mistakes because these types of mistakes are normal for healing eaters! You’ll resort to old habits and old ways of thinking. You’ll feel like you’re sliding backwards rather than moving forward at all. You’ll think for a minute, that maybe you should give it up and just let yourself get really heavy again. You’ll want to rationalize the crappy food you keep putting in your mouth (I deserve this. I want it. I’ve been so good for so long. I really just buy it for the kids. etc) so that you can eat more of it.

Don’t worry, I know your game because I’ve participated in it myself. I’ve bought cookies “because John likes them” and then proceeded to eat 500 calories of them myself before he even saw them. I’ve eaten an entire 3 serving candybar in my car after a yoga class. I’ve rationalized skipping my workouts for a week or more because it was good to rest sometimes (and that rationalization also comes with extra eating too).

I know it’s kind of terrifying to learn that healing can look a bit like screwing up again but I promise you, for most, it’s part of the process.

So how do you determine if you are making progress (healing) or you are stuck in the same hell hole you were in in the past?

It’s how you respond when you get tripped up. It’s how long you let these slip ups go on before you get yourself back on track or ask someone else to help you. It’s whether you let a bad thought about your body pass on through or you decide to hold it hostage and indulge it and make it mean something. If you identify with everything I’ve written above, check out the questions I’ve written below and answer them for yourself to help determine whether your slip ups are a normal part of healing or if you may need extra support to progress.

Timing & Practice
-Do you fall off track for a day or two?
-Or do you fall off and can’t get back on track for a long time?
-Do you allow yourself to have a meal once in awhile where anything goes?
-Can you eat normally and thoughtfully after that meal?
-Do you practice emotionally healthy eating habits when you are eating well? (mindful eating, only eating when hungry etc)

It’s not a big deal to stop listening to your hunger cues for a meal or a couple of days and then get back on it. Problems arise when we stop listening to those cues long enough that the cues become foreign again or when we know we have absolutely no intention of getting back on it. Overeating one night isn’t going to set you back at all but overeating every night for a month or more might.

If you struggle to stop once you do fall off the wagon, you may need more support from an outside source (a coach might help) or may need more practice in putting mindful eating practices in place. When we practice emotionally healthy eating habits and do them over and over again, they become our norm, they become second nature. Think of muscle memory – when you do a sport over and over, even if you take a break from it, your body remembers the activity when you return to it (even if it’s been a long time) and you won’t have to work as hard as someone who is brand new to the sport. We get good at whatever we practice, so if you practice eating in a thoughtful way vs. eating in a disordered way, the thoughtful way will get stronger and when you fall off track, it will be brief, as you’ll have the muscle memory to right you again. Making an effort to practice your healthier eating skills is a sign you are healing. Choosing to not practice them because it’s hard is a sign we’re not making progress.

Intentions
-When you go grocery shopping, are you buying items that you know you struggle with, under the guise that you have to because someone in your home likes them?
-Do you eat sparingly in public but plan to go home and eat more when you’re alone?
-Do the majority of your intentions around eating have to do with fueling your body or fueling an emotion that you do or don’t want to feel?

If you know full well that you are planning to eat the food, don’t pretend (even in your head) otherwise. Owning that you are planning to eat something that you know is troublesome for you is less problematic than pretending your intentions have nothing to do with your desire to eat. Lying to ourselves is a sign we’re moving backwards in our progress. Being able to call yourself on it so that you can step out of it, is a sign of healing. Create a habit of calling yourself out on your bullshit – if you can’t hide from yourself, there will be less desire to have these secret food habits.

Thoughts
-When you do slip up, what do you think about it?
-What do you think about yourself?
-If you think negatively about yourself, how long do those thoughts last?
-Do you hold onto them and allow them to become more than just a thought?
-Or do you allow them to happen and move on with your day?

It’s entirely normal for someone healing from a food issue to have a bad thought appear about their body or themselves once in awhile (and “once in awhile” is something you define). In some cases, daily thoughts aren’t a big deal. It’s really how we react to it that is the important thing. Negative thoughts that we intentionally play over and over in our heads become issues – issues that we turn to food to deal with so it’s best to not indulge them. You’re going to have negative thoughts about your belly, your weight, your thighs, your hair etc, every so often, so just let them pass through, like a train going on to the next station. There isn’t a “stop” at this station so don’t drive there to pick anyone up. Hanging around the station, looking for passengers to pick up is a sign we are stepping back in our progress. Letting the train and it’s passengers (thoughts) pass by to where it needs to go is a sign we’re healing.

Don’t be wigged out by the idea that you are going to screw up along the way! If you are legitimately practicing everything you’ve learned about managing emotional eating and not indulging in lying to yourself or replaying those negative thoughts, it does get easier and the mistakes you’ll make will be less of a big deal over time. You’ll recover from them faster and have more confidence that you can do this. You won’t have to think so much about eating intuitively, mindfully or thoughtfully – it will just be how you operate. And if you’re not practicing the tools you’ve learned (or don’t even know what those tools might be), there is help for you too – but you need to ask for it and you need to be willing to work! If you are – I have total faith that you’ll heal your relationship with food.

If you are struggling and want support – please contact me to set up a mini session.

I am a “Sometimes” Runner.

Sometimes I run, even if I can't do it regularly!

Sometimes I run, even if I can’t do it regularly!

Yesterday was such a beautiful fall day, I decided to skip barre and take my workout outside. I had a bruise on my palm that I wanted to baby a bit too (barre has been heavy on planks lately). Monday, John and I went for a walk on the new rail trail in town and it was nice, so I decided that’s where I’d go. It’s not very long (just 3.3 miles roundtrip) but it’s pretty, especially with the changing leaves, and very close to our house. It’s also flat – which is a nice break from all the steep hills in our neighborhood!

I started off walking but when I hit the 1/4 mile marker I decided to do some running intervals, just to take it up a notch. Several years ago, I did a lot of running and at my peak was running 25 miles a week. I loved it but it was way too hard on my body. I ended up with a couple of foot injuries and it was never very comfortable for my knees. I’d take some time off to heal and then try to get back out there and I kept having the same issues – eventually I decided that my body just wasn’t made for running and if I want to be able to stay active, I need to do activities that don’t cause injury regularly. Needless to say, it’s been a long time since I’ve done any running – even short intervals are rare because I’ve been focused on biking, weights and barre this year.

While my intention was to just do some walking/running intervals, I started running at the 1/4 mile mark and kept going until the end of the trail! I ran 1 and 1/4 miles without stopping. I walked about a 1/4 mile again and then I ran another 3/4 of a mile (before finishing the route by walking the rest of the way). So I ran 2 whole miles yesterday!

That may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is to me! While I feel like my heart and lungs are strong enough to run (I exercise at high intensity several days a week), I’m certainly not training for any type of distance or endurance and it’s been a long time since I’ve even attempted to run more than a minute at time. It felt really good!

Today, I’m feeling a bit achy and my hips are stiff (that’s nothing a good stretch can’t fix) but I’m itching to get out there and do it again. Maybe I’m not going to be a regular runner anymore, but I like knowing that I can run a mile or two, once in awhile. I love having variety in my workouts.

Not from the rail trail, but another pic from my time outside yesterday.

Not from the rail trail, but another pic from my time outside yesterday.

I used to see the fact that I couldn’t run daily anymore as a reason to not do it at all – but yesterday’s impromptu run was a good reminder that I can throw out absolutes and rules I make for myself, and instead focus on what the body wants/needs at any given moment. I can enjoy the occasional short run, even if I’m not able do it several days a week. I’m the one who decides this stuff.

There’s nothing boxing me in to either side. I don’t have to choose running all the time or not running at all. I can find a middle ground that works for me (even if that means it’s only 3 times a year). I can be a “sometimes” runner if that’s what I want.

This is something I always need to work on. I often have an all or nothing mindset. I usually won’t do something unless I know I can do it perfectly, or at least really really well. I get incredibly uncomfortable diving into things for the first time.  Over the years, there were countless diet attempts that I failed on and then gave up entirely because I couldn’t do it exactly as I was supposed to. If I had one emotional eating episode after two weeks of none, I saw it as a reason to just give up and binge constantly. I’d skip exercising if I couldn’t get a whole hour in. I’m the type of person who can’t enjoy a movie if I miss the first few minutes of it. And if I start a book, you better believe I’m going to finish it, even if it’s boring me to death and takes me a year to get through. All or nothing. No inbetween.

But life doesn’t have to be all or nothing. We’re not stuck obeying the rules we set for ourselves forever. I can be a sometimes runner. I can eat well most of the time. I can enjoy a cocktail and a dessert sometimes. I can exercise when I can. I can put the book that bores me back on the shelf (and pick up one that doesn’t!). I can take a week to respond to email or not respond at all (the horror!). I’m the boss of me.

Just as I’ve been practicing listening to my body more – paying attention to those hunger & satisfaction cues, knowing when I need to rest, knowing when I can push it harder, I have to listen to my soul more. If my soul doesn’t dig a certain book, who gives a shit? Who is keeping count? If my soul wants to dabble in an activity once in awhile, why not?

I don’t have to label or limit myself. You don’t have to label or limit yourself either. You don’t have to be a healthy eater or someone who enjoys cake. You can be both or neither. You are you. I am me. All of the time. Whatever that looks like.

 

This is Exactly Where You Belong

Your path is unique to you and you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

Your path is unique to you and you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re not as far ahead in life as everyone around you?Sometimes it seems like everyone else has what you want and you’re not exactly sure how to get it. It’s like they know more than you.  You watch as friends get married, have babies, start exciting careers and take vacations in beautiful places you’ve never even heard of. You hear coworkers talk about all they get done during their morning routines before they come to work and you’re impressed that you even made to work today with your teeth brushed. You watch girls at the gym seemingly magically drop pound after pound effortlessly, while you trudge away and stay at the same weight. They’re running marathons and you’re just learning to walk. Comparison is the worst “skill” our brains have.

Sometimes it feels as though you’re 25 instead of 35, 45 or 55. You feel like you should have accomplished more by now, that you should be making more money, that you should have your shit together, that you should know what you want to do with your life, that you should have lost the weight already, that you should . . .

The “should” demons. Everyone has them to a degree. The “shoulds” are pressures we put on ourselves that are mostly fiction based junk that lives in our heads. Nowhere does it say that you need to accomplish X by a certain age or time in your life – yet we wake up in the middle of the night with racing thoughts or drenched with sweat in anxiety about where we think we “should” be. We feel envious of other’s joys instead of feeling happy for them, as if there is some delicate balance of happiness in the world and if they’re getting some of it, then there won’t be enough for us. The should demons make us feel like we’re being judged (but by who??), that we’re dumb, we’re not good enough or not ambitious enough.

I get caught up in it too. Sometimes I worry about how far other health/life coaches have gotten with their businesses and I worry about why I’m not where they are. Heck, I even find myself getting down about even finding this career path so “late” when it seems like most of my peers have been working in careers they love for a decade or more. I freak out about still not knowing if John and I are going to have a kid – we “should” know that by now, right?? I have a whole list of “shoulds” that come up from time to time.

We think that by paying attention to these thoughts about where we’re lacking, that it’s going to motivate us to push forward and accomplish whatever it is that we think is just out of our reach. But focusing on “shoulds” actually clouds us from discovering what it is we truly want in our lives. If we stopped and listened to our hearts, we may find that we don’t want what someone else has after all, it’s just that we think we’re supposed to want it.

Where you are right now is exactly where you are supposed to be.

Whatever it is you are currently working on is what you’re supposed to be working on. Whatever you think is eluding you is eluding you for a good reason.

Every decision we make is the correct decision for us at that particular time. We do or don’t do things for a reason.

Trust that when you decide to do X, it’s because that is the right thing for you at that time. And when you decide not to do something, there was a good reason for that as well.

Everything we experience in life has a purpose (even if we have no clue what that purpose is) and is taking us a step close to where we’re going.

We learn from each misstep as well as from our great achievements. Even when things appear to have gone “wrong”, when you look back at the experience, I bet you can think of a few lessons that you took from it.

All our twists and turns shape us for who we ultimately will be. At the end of our life, all of our decisions will have created the person who others will remember.

When you think of the people you have lost in your life (assuming you have experienced the death of a loved one), do you compile a list of their outer accomplishments? Ph.D, CEO, 6 figure salary, always had a clean house, super fit body? No, of course not.

We remember how genuine their smile was. How happy hearing their voice made you. How little it took to get them to laugh. How cranky they were without their morning coffee. How good they made others feel. How much fun they had. What a good storyteller they were.

We don’t remember their GPA or what their highest title at work was. We don’t give two shits about how fast they achieved things in life or how much money they made. We care about the person they were – and how they affected us and the world around them.

We are the sum of our lives, not the little bits and pieces.

Trust that you are where you are supposed to be and that you will get to where you are going.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t have to work for the things we want – for sure, achievement does take work! But, ease up on questioning where you are on the path, ease up on comparison, ease up on judging and pressure and ease up when you make mistakes. It might take you longer or less time than others to lose weight, earn that degree, get the job, have children, whatever. Just trust that you are on your path and keep moving forward.

No one else will have the life that you have. No one else will learn the lessons you’re going to learn so it’s not fair to expect that we will all achieve the same things (or even want to achieve the same things) and certainly not at the same point in time. Comparing doesn’t make us set out to do more, it just makes us feel smug or bad about ourselves – and neither of those are desirable or going to produce what you’re after.

No more shoulds. No more comparison. Focus on listening to your heart and making decisions from there instead of from a place of fear, panic or not being enough. Because you have everything you need to be you.

Now I want to hear from you. Do you get caught up in comparison and a list of “shoulds”? What makes you think you are lacking in some way? How can you turn your focus inward and trust your decisions?

If you are struggling with your path, I invite you to schedule a discovery session with me. It’s a chance for you to get undivided attention towards one of your goals.

Is Your Way Really the Best Way? Letting Go of the Need to Fix Others.

One of the most difficult things I’ve been working on is letting go of the idea that I can change other people.

I can’t help someone who is unhappy be happy.
I can’t help someone who doesn’t pay their bills on time become a responsible person.
I can’t change how someone is raising their kids.
I can’t make someone eat better if they don’t want to.
I can’t make someone care for their health, their future, or their security.

Even though in my core, I know these things, sometimes I still find myself thinking, maybe if I do X they will be happier.
If I say X they will feel better.
If I do X they won’t have this problem anymore.
If I suggest X they might be more motivated to change.

But I can’t make them want what I want for them.
I can’t make them take actions that I want them to take.

Salt ‘n Pepa said it best: it’s none of my business.  How others live their lives is actually none of my business.

It may feel like my business sometimes – especially if the person who is unhappy is close to me or if the person who doesn’t pay their bills asks me to bail them out.

If I care deeply about them, it really does feel like it’s my business and it feels like I’d be failing them if I didn’t give it my all to help them change.

It’s painful to not be able to snap my fingers and create the result I want to see for them.

Not being able to help the way I want to leads to frustration for me.

And sometimes for them too.

Because if I’m putting all my energy into what they are doing wrong or not doing the way I want them to do it or trying to get them to feel differently than they do, my time with them doesn’t feel good. I don’t feel good. They don’t feel good. I’m actually failing them by focusing on what I want for them.

What I can do is focus on how I want to feel in my relationship with this person or how I want the other person to feel when they are with me. In all of these situations, I want the other person to feel loved and supported. Understood. Listened to. Heard. Not alone. I want to feel like I am being the most helpful I can be.

That comes from being kind and supportive.

And letting go of my need to fix how they live or experience their lives.

photo credit: tsny los angeles via photopin (license)

Sometimes you have to let go to get to the next level in your relationships    (photo credit: tsny los angeles via photopin (license))

Maybe, happiness, good parenting, responsible finances or healthy eating to them doesn’t look like what I think it should look like.

I have a client who says, “This isn’t my circus. These aren’t my monkeys”.  She’s right. It’s simply good advice. (Sometimes I’m the client and they’re the coach!)

In my coaching practice, I have no problem with this. Showing up. Listening. Supporting. Asking questions without judgement. Encouraging when needed. Not being attached to the outcome. Going where the client needs/wants to go.

But it so much harder to do in my personal life.

Just like with anything else that we get good at and becomes second nature, we have to practice it. Over and over.

The only way for me to feel better about my relationships and help them have more of what they desire in their lives is for me to show up in them with love. And to practice that over and over (and not give up when I slip back into an old way of interacting with someone).

The awesome thing that happens is that when people are loved and supported (instead of judged or pressured), they are more apt to make changes to better their lives (whatever that looks like to them).

I don’t have to like what someone is doing or how they are living to be able to feel love towards them.

Truly, the best way for me to help someone change is to change myself first.

I’d love to hear from you. Are there relationships in your life that you struggle with wanting to control? Have you ever successfully convinced someone that your way is better? What was the result? What helps you distinguish your “circus” or your “monkeys” from someone else’s? Have you experienced a shift in your relationships by changing how you show up in them?

Hey are you joining my Free Exercise challenge that starts next Monday October 12? You should! It’s 30 days of short workouts, encouragement and support – great for beginners! Create an exercise habit that you can be proud of!

A Few Awesome Reasons to Get Your Bum off the Couch (Besides Looking Better)

photo credit: The endemic fauna of the Amsterdam AirBNB Apartment: Poezi via photopin (license)

Great reasons to not be a couch potato like this little guy.    (photo credit: The endemic fauna of the Amsterdam AirBNB Apartment: Poezi via photopin (license))

Most people who exercise do it to look better, either from expected weight loss or more defined muscles. It’s true. We do it because we’re vain! Yes, there’s a subset of us who do it to be healthier (myself included) but we’d be lying if we said the outer appearance benefits didn’t help propel us to lace up our sneakers and work up a sweat.

But aside from stroking our vanity, exercise has a wide range of benefits, some that you may not even be aware of! Physical activity is quite possibly a panacea for everything that can go wrong in the human body – mental, emotional and physical. Knowing that, it’s hard to imagine why more people don’t do it – but then again, not everyone is tuned in to quite how beneficial it can be aside from out appearance.

If you keep vowing to start exercising but don’t, read on to see some of the “side effects” physical exercise can bring you. Maybe these will be enough to motivate you to get going (and if not – I highly recommend you join the free Light A Fire Under Your Butt 30 Day Exercise Challenge that starts October 12)!

Here are just a few studies that show the benefits of physical activity:

I literally could make this list a few pages longer but I don’t want to bore you! There is no shortage of evidence that exercise is vital for a healthier life. If looking better isn’t enough for you to get moving, what would motivate you? A longer lifespan? Less cognitive decline as you age? Reduced risk of heart attack or diabetes? Better sleep? Less aches and pains? Preventing depression? All of these things are possible if you start today.

How much could your life be improved with just a tiny bit of exercise? I bet quite a bit!

Need some hand holding as you get started? I’m running a casual free exercise challenge that starts October 12, 2015. You should join in – it’s just a few minutes of activity per day for 30 days. I want to get people moving! It’s called Light A Fire Under Your Butt. See you there!

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