Loving yourself through divorce encompasses all areas of your life from managing your emotions to self-care and exercise. Refocusing on your health and wellness is a great way to increase your energy and confidence during divorce. I invited Rachel Aldrich Rader to share some tips on how you can create an exercise plan that is in alignment with who you are. She has great advice to help you stress less about exercise and help you create a unique plan that brings results.
As a young mom wanting to “get my body back” I thought exercise was the thing that would make all my dreams come true. Sound familiar?
I know I am not alone here. Many women jump to fitness as "The Answer" when they don't feel good about their bodies. Going through a divorce doesn’t help a woman’s body image either.
Why do we focus so hard on exercise as the part of our wellness that will make us happy?
Honestly, because exercise can be treated as a to-do list item which is comfortable and comparatively easy to a lot of women.
Even to those of us who already have too much on our plate, it seems easier to add a 30-60 minute workout a few times a week than to really commit to examining every aspect of our wellness to make long lasting behavioral changes.
Can you relate? Have you committed to an ambiguous “get in shape” or “lose weight” health regimen? Have you made some unhealthy food choices but then told yourself that you’ll burn it all off in a Zumba class? Have you started exercising, hoping it will somehow balance out all the other poor health choices?
Maybe you have jumped to fitness as your answer in the past and put all your hopes and dreams on a specific exercise plan. Or maybe you’ve just put all your hopes into a gym membership.
And how many people do you know (maybe you’re one of them) who have a gym membership and go … once in awhile? … never? If this is you, you’re certainly not alone! This is just an example of having very good intentions and wanting to do something to improve your life but then not being able to figure out exactly how this is going to fit into your life.
Real talk: If your fitness plan is not in line with who you are, it's not gonna work. The key to your success is to view exercise as a part of your overall wellness plan, not the only ingredient. You need a clear, holistic goal that examines your choices in all areas of health and wellness.
Fitness programs and gym memberships are TOOLS to get you to where you want to be. The best way to get healthy is to use these tools as a strategic part of your health plan.
Here are a few ideas for making fitness fit into your overall wellness plan:
Know what you want. Have a clear goal, not just “lose weight” or “get in shape”. Make your goal something meaningful that will keep you going.
Find something you enjoy. Remember if physical activity is something that you’re going to incorporate into your day, there has to be something about it that you like. If you like to be around other people, find something you can do with others. If you like to workout alone, find an exercise that helps you focus on yourself without distraction. Maybe you like to get up early, maybe you DON’T like to get up early. Don’t force yourself into something that’s not aligned with who you are.
Focus on better, not perfect. As a recovering perfectionist, I know how hard it is to silence that little voice in the back of your head that tells you you’re not good enough, not doing enough, should be doing more, should have the perfect exercise routine, should be keeping up with this person or that person, should be consistent and never miss a workout. Give yourself a break. Every time you hear the word “should” pop into your thought stream pause, acknowledge it and then silence it.
Make it all about you. You may have some very well-intentioned people in your life trying to sell you on this program or that program that has worked great for them. They want to help you and you should appreciate that part BUT always remember that what’s good for them isn’t necessarily good for you. Decide what it is that you want, make a plan to get there, take action and be consistent.
Be flexible. Don’t be so locked into a certain plan that you don’t give yourself wiggle room.
Don’t make excuses. Barriers happen, that is just life. Acknowledge your barriers and own them, then figure out a way around them. Don’t let a barrier turn into an excuse or a reason to stop. Just don’t.
Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. Know your “why” and make it something specific. This will help keep your motivation strong every day.
I'm Rachel and I'm the founder of MomLife Wellness. I help moms who are stuck on the hamster wheel of diet and exercise misery create their ideal healthy lifestyle using mindset training and real momlife-compatible strategies. No diets, no supplements, no ab challenges because....been there, done that. You can get my free "Get Unstuck Guide" at rachelaldrichrader.com/getunstuckguide.