Studies show that there are specific actions that increase our success with diet and exercise. One such action step that can increase success with exercise is accountability. Our dedication to an exercise program is directly related to how many people know we are engaged in the activity. We tend to increase dedication to a routine when we know other people are aware of our commitment. Anyone can enter a workout regimen, do 2 days, and then quit when they are the only ones that knew about the attempt. If we tell everyone we know that we are going to begin a program, post pictures, track and share our progress, and log daily, we are statistically more likely to continue forward and less likely to drop out.
Emotionally, the support of our family and friends is vital for our success. Whether or not we believe our exercising is good for others is an important factor to address, especially if we avoid or drop out of physical activities. An example of this was an overweight woman that I worked with who desperately wanted to lose weight through diet and exercise. In exploring her barriers she became aware that her husband seemed to be sabotaging her efforts. He would make high calorie meals and snacks and always seemed to block her workouts. He told her he didn’t want her to change her physical appearance and loved her just the way she was.
What we discovered was that his jealousy and insecurity were the reasons he was not only withholding support, but purposely doing things to keep her unhealthy. In a couple’s therapy session, he admitted he was worried that if her appearance changed, she might leave him for another man. Although it is great for our loved ones to be accepting of our physical appearance, it is wrong for them not to want us to be as healthy as we can. “She/he loves me just the way I am” can be a death sentence. It is good for others for us to exercise!
I’ve also witnessed many parents, mothers more often than fathers; feel guilty about taking time away from tending to their children or spouse. Mothers have a tendency to care for everyone except themselves. Dedicating time and energy for themselves can seem selfish to parents. I always remind them that all airlines are quick to point out that in an emergency they are to put the oxygen mask on themselves before their children. What would happen to the children if the parent passes out while trying to put their masks on? What they need to remember is, if they weren’t there to take care of their families, due to health concern, who would? We need to take care of ourselves in order to be able to take care of those around us.
Parents need to be aware of modeling the right behaviors for their children. If children are raised in families that value exercise and engage in activities that are physically challenging, they are more likely to establish those same habits. We teach our children more about life with our actions then we do with our words. Don’t be that parent that is caught screaming at your child while sitting in a folding chair on the sideline. Your credibility is destroyed when you tell your child how great exercise is while they observe you doing nothing
There are countless emotional barriers that could be ingrained in our subconscious relating to why we believe our exercising would not be good for others. Releasing negative belief patterns increases the joy of exercise. Exercising without guilt, fear, or self doubt will be more enjoyable and lead to better results. Exercise elevates your mood and relieves stress. Would you rather deal with someone who is relaxed and happy or when they’re stressed out and angry? Trust me, your children and spouse would much rather be with the happy and relaxed you. So exercise, it’s good for you and them!
I am OK with exercising
I am ready, willing and able to exercise
It is safe to exercise
It is good for me to exercise
It is good for others for me to exercise
I want to exercise
I believe I can exercise
I can honor exercising
I am worthy of exercising
I can be supported by others for me to exercise
I can have the energy to exercise
I can have the time to exercise