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Kindness is Key

Our guest blogger for October is Melanie Kenworthy. Melanie is the owner of Thousand Reasons health + fitness. For more great tips from Melanie, visit her facebook page. You can find it at facebook.com/thousandreasons.

Kindness is key, and it starts with a little perspective

As a Personal Trainer, when my clients come to me after they reach their goals and tell me they’re still not happy with how they look, I get really disheartened. I know they’ve worked so hard, and I’m so proud of what they’ve done and the results that they achieved, but no matter what I say, they still don’t see it. When it comes down to it, what they say to themselves, determines how they feel about themselves. And feeling good about yourself begins with being kind to yourself. So, when any of my clients come to me with this problem, my favourite thing to do to help them change their negative and often destructive thought patterns, is to simply change their perspective.

I find the things my clients are harshest on themselves for are not sticking to their diets, and giving up when life gets in the way. I’m not a fan of diets (they have an end date and you can ‘fail’ at them), and I hate unnecessary self-loathing for totally normal parts of life, so here are my two favourite perspective swaps to help my clients stick to their goals and be kinder to themselves.

Take the moral code out of your food decisions

Diet and nutrition can be a minefield of guilt and self-loathing for a lot of people. In this perspective swap, I suggest swapping the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’ (in terms of good/healthy food and bad/unhealthy food) for ‘healthful’ and ‘indulgent’. The reason for this is two-fold – firstly it takes the emotion and judgement out of the decision. I think we quite often equate making ‘good’ decisions and ‘bad’ decisions with being a good or bad person, and especially when it comes to food, that’s just not the case. We all need to eat, so why not make eating just a thing we do rather than a thing we judge ourselves (and others) for?

Secondly, it makes choosing food wisely a whole lot easier. Foods in the ‘healthful’ category are foods that provide you with the nutrients you need to go about your daily life and thrive as a human being. Anything that’s not in the healthful category comes under the indulgent category, and if you are choosing to indulge, I want you to really indulge! Savour every moment and enjoy it like it was the best decision you ever made! So, if you are contemplating eating something that is not healthful, but you wouldn’t enjoy it fully as an indulgence, either don’t have it, or add something to it that makes it more healthful. I like to follow the 80-20 rule here. Aim for 80% healthful and no more than 20% indulgent.

On the way or in the way?

I got this one from a book called ‘The Values Factor’ by Dr. John Demartini and it’s the concept of choosing to see your obstacles as on the way, instead of in the way. I love to walk in nature along dirt trails and listen to the birds call out to each other, smell all the greenery and the fresh air and see all the beautiful flowers, especially in the spring time. When I walk along these trails I like to think of what I would do if a tree had fallen over the trail, and it’s the perfect example of the on the way/in the way analogy.

If I viewed the tree as in the way, I’d likely get frustrated or annoyed that it hindered my enjoyment of the walk, I’d wonder who was responsible for getting it out of the way, and if the tree were large and didn’t fall in a convenient place that allowed me to easily walk around it, I would probably huff and turn around, instead of finding a way to complete my usual walk.

On the other hand, if I viewed the tree as on the way, I would take it in my stride. I’d tell myself ‘oh here it is, I knew I’d get to it eventually’ and I’d start looking for ways to move/go around/climb over/call someone to help clear up the tree. It may be more difficult to get around than I initially expected, but it’s meant to be there and there is a way to solve the problem, so I just need to keep looking until I find it.

The same concept applies to any obstacle you come across in your life. Obstacles will always be there. That’s inevitable. But how you react will determine your outcome, and how you feel in the process.

Written by Melanie Kenworthy
Thousand Reasons health + fitness

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