Do you count calories? Points? Carb grams? Maybe you have been weighing yourself daily or even several times a day? Are you someone who feels guilty when you don’t get your hour of exercise every day of the week?
While I am in favor of setting kind boundaries in all areas of life – not just eating and exercise, but also in relationships and work/life balance – I often hear about rules that are no longer working or never worked in the first place. Imagine needing to get up at midnight every night to walk on a treadmill or skipping meals if the scale wasn’t at the “right” number. These are examples of rules that people set that end up hurting more than helping.
I don’t even like the word “rule” when it comes to building healthy lifestyle habits. It sounds so punitive. I can almost envision the black-caped figure in the corner with a whip in hand, ready to hand out a suitable punishment for stepping outside the lines. How about the word “boundary” or “guideline” instead? These sound more movable and forgiving to me, more like a supportive helper than a drill sergeant.
Do you have an expectation of your eating or activity that is unrealistic and/or unkind and ineffective? I believe it is a good idea to mentally clean house once in a while. Otherwise we can tend to be hoarders of garbage that no longer serves us (or never did). Out with the rules that keep us feeling bad! Toss the expectations that hold the yo-yo cycles in place! There is nothing like defeated feelings to prevent real self-care and improved health. And there is nothing quite like feeling the comfort and security of kind, self-respecting boundaries that are freely chosen for an individual’s wellbeing. No one can set those kinds of boundaries better than you.