Reflections on Self Criticism & Fitness

It is an accepted truism that very few people are able to be objective about themselves. At no time is this more apparent than when discussing weight management and dietary habits.

What we observe is that all too often people are hyper critical of themselves. While a tremendous marketing success, the “just do it” philosophy can generate a sense of failure for those struggling with fitness. Often despondent clients will ask rhetorically, “why can’t I just do it?”

While some people thrive on big challenges, most wellness counselors appreciate the wisdom of starting with small, realistic lifestyle changes. Having incremental success creates greater confidence and a sense of accomplishment. True, the ultimate long range fitness goals may require changing one’s all thinking and behavior around food and exercise, but the process still begins with small steps.

Ironically, the same lack of objectivity also prevents us from our seeing our fitness foibles. We can be simultaneously – too hard and too easy on ourselves. This is where a food and activity log comes in. Hardly anyone enjoys daily tracking, but it is an essential tool for recognizing downfalls. This log should be kept in real time – no one is good at recalling details at the end of the day. Furthermore, it should also include a brief personal entry regarding state of mind and emotions that day. It is not just a matter of accounting – the process is one of self-awareness and enlightenment. It forces us to be honest with ourselves in many ways.

While it is true that every action begins as a thought, we must not get stuck in thought. Action is required for change. Be a good parent to yourself. Create an environment of loving, balanced and healthy discipline and health benefits will follow.

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