The Power of Experience for Developing a Healthy Lifestyle

Yesterday was an amazing gift! Thanks to the eccentricities of Chicago weather, it was sunny and mid-70s. After a week stuck inside with that cold, it was wonderful to get out in the breeze. I walked about 5 miles. I started my day with a kettlebell routine and did a core workout in the evening. I’ve been desperate to break out of the week-long mire of illness!

It’s amazing to me to think of my former life and how I believed back then that avoiding physical activity was more comfortable and felt better. I did not realize that I was actually running my body down and reducing its abilities.

We often approach weight loss and exercise as something that we “have” to do. We expect it to be an ordeal, a painful struggle. Those of us who avoided physical activity, especially if that avoidance started in childhood with the dread of PE class, may develop an aversion to exercise. It feels like something that seemingly punches us in the face with our physical limitations. We feel simply worn out and beaten down.

A key element of the New Paradigm I present in Powerful Hunger is the necessity for positive experience to nurture sustainable change. You have no good reason to develop an exercise habit if you hate it! Being active really does feel much better than being sedentary but it takes work to get to that point. A day like today makes me very grateful that I’ve done the work! I passed that point where exercise stops feeling like an ordeal and instead feels invigorating. I did it on my terms. I found a way that worked for me to steadily increase the physical activity in my life. I put no time limits or expectations on it. I just kept at it, day after day, building on what I was doing, until months had passed and I barely even realized how what I’d been doing had changed me.

In my book, I lay out straight-forward strategies for making that critical connection to your body and developing an exercise habit through positive experiences with physical activity, not dread!

Have you been unable to develop a regular exercise habit? Have you had a negative attitude about physical activity? Do you feel disconnected from your body? Do you have physical limitations you would like to break out from?