Everyone who knows me is well aware that I am an advocate of moderation, balance, and choice when it comes to eating. I encourage people to become friendly with the gray area between black and white (all or nothing) thinking. More and more, I am successful at helping people see results by working within the human limitations that require a more realistic approach.
This week, an interesting revelation occurred for one of my weight loss clients. She understands why it is important to make thoughtful changes and ditch the guilt and negative reflections about her eating. She knows that I will call her on any negative comments and she has even begun to remind others to stay positive and not dwell on past disappointment . . . when it relates to eating. The funny thing was that she had not realized before that this whole concept – staying positive and keeping realistic expectations – also applies to exercise.
She was tired and not feeling well, but also feeling an obligation to work out after a long day. She expressed how guilty she knew she would feel if she did not follow through on this “obligation”. Then can the “AHA!” as she saw the similarities with eating. Laughing at the clear logic of it, she said, “Black and white thinking with exercise isn’t great either, is it?”
No, it is not! Choice is still important. While sometimes, admittedly, I find that pushing myself a little to exercise when I feel a little tired can sometimes give me energy, there are other times when it just doesn’t make sense. In all cases, the choice is what’s important. Each person must be able to choose what is best for them at that time, and then be done with it . . . without guilt, because guilt just doesn’t help.
It does help to keep in mind that it is one situation and does not necessarily predict a trend of slovenliness. If it leads to a more consistent decrease in activity, that can be a problem, but that is something to address if and when you cross that bridge. Chances are good that without the guilt, the next day will offer more motivation and nothing has been truly lost. What is gained is trust in personal choice and judgment – a very important benefit.