Updated: Mar 27
If we do the right exercise, we will burn up calories during the exercise and continue to use up fat reserves after our exercise session.
But this is only partly the explanation; it is also believed that exercise plays an important part in improving a person's psychological outlook. It makes them feel good.
We definitely know that exercise stimulates an endorphin rush which makes people feel good when they complete the exercise, but also it's believed it helps improves somebody's self-image, i.e. what they think about themselves.
This principle is also quite simple to understand. If we feel good about ourselves, then we will naturally want to look after ourselves, and we will take care to exercise and eat well.
On the other hand, if we don't particularly like ourselves, then the chances are we won't feel the need to take care of ourselves. This is obviously a subconscious response but nonetheless very powerful.
Think about it like one of our possessions, for example, a car or garden. When we place a lot of value on them, then we look after them, we clean our car and weed our garden. If we didn't like them, we are likely to let them go to pieces and consequently, the car would begin to rust and the garden would get overgrown.
Sometimes this happens so slowly that we don't realise what is happening until it is too late.
Then it becomes a case of thinking that it is not worth the effort and we get into a downward spiral. We get into the trap of not liking how we feel and look so we begin to reinforce the negative view we have of ourselves.
Another aspect that relates closely to this issue is that we place other priorities in front of looking after ourselves physically.
Once people get into their 30s, health is virtually always placed in the top three of the things that they regard as most important in their lives, yet when it comes to doing something about it, they do little.
We tend to focus on other things like our work or other people, such as our children, rather than our own wellbeing. You don't need me to tell you how misguided this can be because unless we look after ourselves, nothing else will get done!
To this end, it's important for us to look closely at our 'identity'; who do we see ourselves as, what roles do we perform, what do we believe about ourselves, and what do we like or dislike about ourselves?
In previous weeks we have discussed how beliefs either help or hinder us in achieving what we want in life. The most powerful beliefs that we can hold are those about ourselves.
If we don't see ourselves as a worthy person then we won't take care of ourselves. If we don't believe we can ever be in good shape, then we won't be, primarily because we will never do the things that get us there.
One of my clients weighs between 11 and 12 stone and has done since he was about 16 years old. On many occasions, I have heard people say to him that it's okay for him because he is naturally thin. He always smiles and, in reply, says, "maybe, or could it be possible that it's because I exercise 5 times a week and know precisely what I should be eating and eat accordingly."
He sees himself as worth looking after and has created a series of habits that help that view become a self-fulfilling prophecy. What's your self-fulfilling prophecy?
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