Hey hey! Thanks for stopping by!
Today I want to talk about how self love might be the missing piece in your wellness puzzle. Self love is a super cliché topic nowadays. From Instagram posts about self care to podcast episodes about how to love your body, it seems like everyone everywhere (at least in the wellness space) is talking about self love.
Well I think there's a reason the topic is so popular right now. I would say it's because we're raised in a culture that doesn't teach us to value ourselves (especially as women, am I right?). We're taught to believe that behavioural changes, like starting a workout routine or being more productive, come about through admonishing ourselves. That might work for a little while, but in most cases any change that stems from self-punishment is unsustainable. Moving forward in that way only makes life miserable - I speak from experience.
I used to hate my body (and myself)
When I started my fitness journey, it was about losing weight. I had picked up some weight in boarding school and I suddenly woke up one day and realised I didn't like my body. That became my motivation to get fit and eat more healthily. I generally always had a desire to live a healthy lifestyle, but this lit the flame for me. Initially it was exciting; I was thrilled to be on a new journey of educating myself about how to eat well and exercise and I was excited about embarking on a new challenge. But after a few months of counting calories, waking up at 5AM to go to the gym before varsity even when I was extremely exhausted, I soon started to get over the whole thing. I was tired of hating myself. I was exhausted from being so hungry and feeling so deprived all the time. I was tired of life revolving around the end-point of weight loss.
So in 2018 I decided that I was going to stop working out and eating well to lose weight. I was going to cut the obsession with the dream body and live for now. Live for health now. Live for joy now. And start learning to love my body now. This sparked my life-long journey to self love. Though I still have certain health and fitness milestones I want to reach, I'm happy with who I am and how I look now. This unconditional self love has freed up the space to find workout routines that I actually love, and which make me feel calm and restored while challenging me, instead of killing myself with the HIIT workouts that I used to do 3-4 times every week. I have an attitude of curiosity and flexibility when it comes to food - and although sometimes I still wish I would have made better food decisions, I treat those moments as lessons and keep moving forward.
But after a few months of counting calories, waking up at 5AM to go to the gym before varsity even when I was extremely exhausted, I soon started to get over the whole thing. I was tired of hating myself.
Self love is the spark that keeps me moving forward now. Even when I think of goals to reach new heights in my health and fitness, it's from a place of self love. A new mantra that I developed for myself today is "If I focussed on self love today, what would I do?". I came up with this to help myself move forward in my professional development, but it totally applies to my health journey, and yours, too. If you focused on self love, would it make it easier to choose the healthier option that will nourish your body instead of the one that will cause inflammation and spike your blood sugar? If you focussed on self love, would it make it easier to get up and move your body - challenge yourself a bit more in your workout or listen to your body and move gently on a day when you're fatigued?
If you've ever heard of the idea of push versus pull motivation, I think you'll understand what I mean when I say that love pulls you towards positive action. It pulls you toward your goals, contrary to self-negativity which forces you to push yourself toward your goals. The first option is more effortless and yields a deep sense of satisfaction and reward. For me, there's nothing better than the fulfilment of making a healthy decision for myself, as a result on meditating on self love....especially when I wasn't motivated to make the healthier choice. This is how I've been able to maintain an overall lifestyle of health and wellness since I started my journey in 2017. And this is how you can do it too. Focus on workouts you love. Focus on adding healthful foods that you love, not the ones that you see other people eating on Instagram. Focus on what makes you feel good, not what other people say is good for you. The best way to start and stay consistent is to take action from a place of self love and to do things that you love.
I hope that me sharing this simple story of how self love has helped in my health journey has made you see how essential it is to your success. Not only that, self love is just important for you as a human being; it's important to value yourself. You're important and so are your goals and dreams. Focus on how much you love and value yourself and watch yourself wake up one day and realise how your life has changed for the better.
Let me know what change this inspires in your life over at Instagram (@iamtshepangpooe). I'd love to hear from you!
Lots of love