“Number one, like yourself. Number two, you have to eat healthy. And number three, you’ve got to squeeze your buns. That’s my formula.”— Richard Simmons
I have fond memories of my mom throwing on an old T-shirt, shoving the coffee table to one corner of the living room, pushing play on the VCR, and dancing to ’70s music with the amazing Richard Simmons. To me, the man was ridiculous, although I’m not sure if it was the knee socks or the short-shorts that really pushed him over the edge.
Whatever my opinions of him, however, without a doubt the man not only loved people, but he got them smiling and burning calories at the same time. That’s quite the feat!
All silliness aside, Simmons was on to something: Fitness is about so much more than losing weight. Your body reflects your inner self. So to make exercise stick, you absolutely have to treat it as a way to love and honor your body.
How you treat yourself, your body, and your mind is a direct reflection of how much you like and respect yourself. A general disregard for one’s best interests is one of the most common reasons people are unhealthy.
It’s easy to make excuses such as “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have the money.” However, when you utter such phrases, I would challenge you to pause and dig a little deeper. Too often, people don’t think they deserve to be fit. People don’t think they are capable of having the body they want, and we often sabotage ourselves with a poor diet instead of listening to our body (and mind) pleading for a change.
Here’s the hard truth. You may not love everything about yourself, but you have to decide to like yourself enough to do what it takes to take good care of your health.
You can hire a trainer, and go on a restrictive diet. You could begin intermediate fasting and work out twice a day. You could buy all the weight-loss pills and supplements the world has to offer. Do these sorts of things, and you may lose weight. You may get in shape—for a time.
Yet if you don’t actually like yourself, none of this will stick. The only way fitness is sustainable is if you develop the mindset that undergirds it: one of respect and care for the gift of your body.
There’s no reason to put away the quart of ice cream or to close the bag of chips if you don’t really respect yourself. What’s the point of shrinking that waist or getting those shoulder gains if you can’t stand the person in the mirror?
Try looking in the mirror and setting aside that disdain. Perhaps you could even name three things you like (or even LOVE!) about that body or that face looking back at you, or three reasons getting healthy expresses care for something precious. Write those three things down. Tape them to your mirror. Post them in your closet.
Realize that even if there is nothing else about you that you like, you have those three things. Focus on the good. Work to make yourself better. And work on liking yourself enough to take care of your body instead of abusing it. You’ll be shocked at the changes that follow.