Don’t be so hard on yourself

soft body

It’s the first issue of the New Year, and I have to admit, I’m quite excited, as it’s usually my chance to have a good old rant as the nation embarks on their diets, detoxes and life transformations.

I love being a rebel, but it’s more than that, it’s my chance to inspire people to step away from it all, and instead enjoy a cosier and generally more enjoyable January than it would be living on juices, salads and green tea.

In the days I used to manage health clubs, it was a running joke, all the people flooding in through the gates, every day for two weeks, never to be seen again for the rest of the year.

Those sitting in the cafe bar, eating and apple and a yoghurt, counting the days until the scales told them they were attractive again.

I look back and I hope people aren’t still doing this. If you’re wanting to make a commitment to a healthier lifestyle, I think that’s great, but if you’re not going to be able to sustain it, don’t bother. You’ll only end up feeling worse when you fail.

It’s understandable and I don’t mean to be scathing of all diets (actually I do, but that’s another column), but from my experience, I know there’s another way.

You may have put on a few pounds over Christmas, who hasn’t, but we need that extra layer in the coldest month. So why not embrace it?

Accepting yourself, your new softer body, is a lot more likely to lead to you losing it again when you need to than going on a strict diet or detox.

I’m loving my new softer body today. It may be a bit unfashionable to say this, but I’ve no desire to look like a pumped-up mass of muscles and skin. My body feels stressed when it’s hard. I get an achy back and I can’t move as well.

In my classes I’ve been talking about finding the balance between strong and soft. Strength is great, but without flexibility and mobility, the body is tight, stressed and becomes like dry, hardened clay.

I prefer to be like Morph –  soft, malleable clay.

Not just in my body, but in how I approach life. When I’m doing too much, pounding the treadmill of life, I feel contracted, like I’m holding my breath. But taking time to relax, have time off, I feel myself decompress. The strange knock-on effect has been my body has responded well and my weight has stabilised over the last few years to mean I’ve never needed a diet.

You see, it’s not just about what you put into the body that matters, or what you take away, it’s about creating the right environment for it to thrive.

Strict diets, detoxes and punishing exercise regimes just put you into a stressed state. You may lose water weight in the short term, but long-term it’s counter-productive.

My advice, which is based on over 25 years of experience, would be to use January as a month to relax as much as you can, get outside whilst there is light, and keep moving, but not too fast, and don’t stress about it. Get soft, warm and cosy, eat nourishing, warming foods, get lots of cuddles, and watch the body respond.

Don’t let the world make you hard. Be soft. Be kind to yourself and your body. Don’t punish your body for over-indulgence, but love the extra layer for the warmth it brings you. It will go when it’s ready to go as long as you treat your body kindly.

Please don’t go on a punishing diet that’s going to make you miserable.

Instead love your body and it will love you right back.

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