Feeling guilty for missing a workout? Punishing yourself for that lunch with friends? That horrible feeling of drowning in judgement is not cool and a fast track to an unhealthy relationship with exercise, food and most importantly your own self-image (aka happiness).
There are two simple lessons that I have learned through meditation that I feel directly relate to improving the way we eat, move and live. One is the importance of awareness and the second is the importance of acceptance.
The opposing force to acceptance for most of us is judgement, we judge ourselves for missing a workout or having a biscuit and then feel guilty and take excessive action. If you are serious about getting lean, strong, healthy and happy, then judgement and guilt have no place in your daily routine.
Meditation made simple
Meditation, at it’s most simple, is about focussing on the breath and nothing else. It sounds simple enough and it is….just don’t mistake simple for easy.
Try it now. Take 2-minutes to focus on nothing else but your breathing…
How did you do? Harder than it sounds right. Most of you will have got a few breaths in before the mind begins to wander. The trick is not to get frustrated but simply to smile, relax and start again. You could spend 10-minutes and only ever achieve a few focused breaths and that’s still a success because next time you will do a little better.
It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about judging yourself and it’s most certainly not a competition. It’s about learning to be more mindful with a level of acceptance and non-judgement when things don’t go to plan.
You plan to get to the gym five times this week but only make two. You smile, relax and start again because in the grand scheme of things a few missed sessions may not be ideal but most certainly not the end of the world. Plus there is a lesson to be learned about why things didn’t go to plan. Ditch the judgement and self-flagellation and you’re free to explore it.
It’s this very attitude I strive to embrace myself and encourage my clients to do so too; and I highly recommend that you do the same.
Judgement in action
It sounds silly when I say it like that but for many of us a missed training session or a “bad” meal results in a high degree of negative judgement that leaves us feeling like crap and in my experience probably reaching for a chocolate biscuit or glass of wine (or two).
Then comes the guilt. If you ate a “bad” lunch today you will:
Punish yourself at the gym tomorrow.
Miss dinner tonight to make up for it.
Eat nothing but chicken and salad leaves for the rest of the week.
…or whatever punishment you fancy.
You tied so much negative self talk to the simple act of having lunch that you forgot to enjoy it in the first place. Now where is the fun in that!
Mix in the fact that you are so caught up in your self-judgement and self-deprecation that you forgot to learn the lesson of why things didn’t go so well in the first place. Maybe you missed those workouts because you left it too late in the day and would always be too tired. An early morning or lunch time gym routine could fix that?
Bring a little more acceptance to the table
When your mind starts to drift during mediation the trick is to stop, smile and bring your thoughts back to your breath and not to waste time judging or getting angry.
Do the same with your nutrition and exercise. Anytime you begin to drift stop, smile and bring yourself back on course. A great question to ask yourself is “If I were to do ………….again what would I do differently”. Accept that things didn’t go to plan but in doing so you can now learn a lesson to avoid it happening again.
By doing so you are in fact stronger for your missed workout or “bad” meal, not weaker.
If you ready to stop judging yourself so harshly and want to learn more about discovering a leaner, stronger, healthier and happier you click here to apply for a FREE Online Transformation Session.