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Tag Archives: exercise
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How many times a day do you hear “I should…” statements run through your head? Everyone always wants to tell us what we “should” and “shouldn’t” be doing in literally every area of our life.
Our moms, our relatives, our friends, our co-workers, complete strangers, our health-care providers, the media…
What we should do with our life, what we should weigh, what we should eat, how we should raise our kids, how we should look, who we should be, what we should know, how we should take care of ourselves, what skills we should have, how we should age, how we should dress, how we should do our hair or our make-up, what things we should care about in life, how we should have sex or “please our men”, how we should decorate our house, what we should read, what we should think, how we should act…
We get programmed by outside influences to believe all these things we “should” be doing and then we obsessively remunerate over them — usually while flogging ourselves because we haven’t or don’t.
There’s literally a “women should” piece of advice for EVERY single aspect of our lives, they usually differ depending on who you talk to and we often we tend to carry way too many of them with us every day, as though constantly reminding ourselves is going to make us do them.
Then, we judge ourselves accordingly based on how we think we’re measuring up – or not. Usually not.
And we wonder why we walk around with guilt, shame, anxiety, depression & obsessed with food every day?
“Should statements” are all of those things you’re telling yourself you “should” be doing every day — but don’t.
They’re one of many cognitive distortions (or negative thinking patterns) that contribute to stress, fear, worry, guilt and shame.
“I should be eating better and losing weight and I can’t ever stop reminding myself of that every single day until I die — because then I’ll never do it.” “Ugh, the house is such a mess, I should be cleaning it. What’s wrong with me? Why I can’t I just make myself get up and clean the stupid bathroom?”
“I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t spent enough time with the kids. I should be doing more with them. I’m the worst mother.”
The next time you hear an “I should” thought run through your head or statement come out of your mouth, stop.
Notice what happens next. How do you feel about yourself in those moments? Empowered, happy and good? Or hopeless, helpless and bad?
And do you immediately follow that statement and those feelings by doing that thing you’re telling yourself you “should” be doing? Or not? See, the reason they’re problematic is they almost never result in more positive choices or the outcomes we want.
Rather, they make us feel badly about ourselves and often more hopeless about actually being able to do that thing we’re telling ourselves we “should” be doing.
“I should be eating that…” usually results in NOT eating that thing because we start thinking, “why can’t I have more self-control with food? I know what I’m supposed to be eating, why can’t I have some willpower and do that?”which reinforces feelings of being helpless to our circumstances and our choices not being within our control.
“I should be exercising more…” usually results in NOT exercising more because we follow it with, “but I’m just so lazy. If only I had more motivation.” which again, reinforces feelings of the choice being out of our control and makes us feel hopeless about changing it. We “should” be… but we’re just too lazy, we believe. So we carry around this belief that we’re unworthy or that we’re destroying our health because we’re too lazy to do the exercise everyone tells we “should” be to be healthy, or hot or skinnier or stronger or whatever.
And should statements aren’t limited to just what we eat and our exercise habits. We use them for everything – our parenting: “I should have more patience with my kids”,our homes: “I should be a better housekeeper”, our relationships: “I should be a better wife, mother, daughter, sibling, friend”… etc. Should statements are just one of many cognitive distortions that contribute to depression, anxiety, panic and can even keep us stuck in the weight & food battle.
And cognitive distortions often don’t act alone. Should statements, all or nothing thinking, and labeling/mislabeling can, and usually do pile on top of each other in one nasty thought bubble whenever we “fall off the wagon”.
“I should be eating salad but I really want pizza. Screw it, I may as well just have the pizza. I always just end up screwing up eventually anyway.” which then leads to “I may as well have a beer with it, and some chips and ice cream for dessert since I already ruined today. I’ll just start over tomorrow.” which then leads to “God, I’m such a pathetic screw up. I always do this. What’s wrong with me?”
That’s a should statement, all or nothing thinking, and labeling/mislabeling – a common threesome of cognitive distortions that often results in overeating (or in some cases a full-on binge) in people who struggle with weight & food all because they just wanted a piece of pizza.
Cognitive restructuring is a helpful cognitive-behavioral technique that I’ve incorporated in The Cognitive Eating Academy. It’s designed to help you overcome should statements and other cognitive distortions that keep you stuck in these faulty and self-destructive ways of thinking – and as a result, behaving.
The day I gave up should’ing myself to death was one of the best days ever. Now, when I hear myself thinking or saying, “I should…” before something, I next ask myself, “says who? Who says I should be doing that? What do I WANT? What does MY body need? What’s best for me? What do I need most right now?”
Rather than making ourselves miserable by trying to live up to what everyone else determines we “should” be doing, this switch gives us our power back. It gives us the power to start learning what makes us happy, what’s best for our own mental, emotional and physical health – and how to follow our own hearts, minds, bodies and dreams. And if you need it, I created The Cognitive Eating to help.
A 200 pound person burns about 150 calories during an average brisk walk of 2 km on a level path for 25 minutes. These are a lot of numbers to keep track of but if you did this daily for just 6 weeks (a month and a half) you would get 1050 minutes of exercise during that time and burn over 6000 calories at least. Now most walks over 2 km will have some hills involved, big or small so it is possible that this calorie estimate could be higher. Regardless of the debate of how many calories it takes to really burn a pound of fat (often quoted as 3500 calories), I defy you to do this for 6 weeks and only be down 2 pounds. The number of pounds dropped after this type of simple regimen will often exceed this significantly. Keep in mind it’s best to check with your doctor if you have chronic medical conditions before doing this.
In fact, before you start, ask your physician to take a baseline reading of a few simple biomarkers (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, and total body weight). By the way, we can do all of these numbers including body fat percent and hydration at Stone’s Drug Store. With the weather improving this plan can be achieved better now than 2 weeks ago. This will bring you into the second half of April, a time close to May 1st, a date that we start thinking, “why didn’t I follow through on that New Year’s resolution” or “why didn’t I make that New Year’s resolution” and “wow the Summer is coming and I am out of shape again this year.” Imagine the motivation in saying, “I’m glad I started this back in March.” Imagine the momentum that is in motion at that point, all from just walking for less than 1/2 hour a day, especially when you revisit the biomarker numbers above and realize how much of a change results from such a small effort.
There is one catch. Preventative results like cancer prevention click in only when this increase in physical activity is combined with a diet of five fruits and vegetables daily. So do that. This is not rocket science. In fact you can walk to the grocery store, get your healthy food and carry it home. In regards to other disease states like arthritis, parkinsons, psychological symptoms, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, sexual dysfunction, stress, hormone issues, sleep apnea, and and many chronic diseases all have been shown to respond favourably to this type of activity level. Do any of these describe you?
So, before your six week window runs into next Fall, start tomorrow. Just 25 minutes of walking, even if it’s just on your lunch break, for just six weeks. We’ll see you on April 22nd, just before May starts your Summer panic to be in shape for your summer clothes. If the way you look during the Summer isn’t a motivating factor, how about adding years onto your life as a motivator?
Remember: 25 minutes per day, every day, for six weeks. This gives you 1050 minutes of exercise. Perhaps 1000 more minutes of exorcise more than you had planned for the next six weeks. That’s it. If you’re really half serious about this, then get your five fruits and vegetables daily and really just watch what you eat. Take water with you on your walk. NO fruit juice, pop, or vitamin water – ever. If you need a friend to accomplish this then get one that you want to see live longer and extend their life as well. Good luck and keep us up to date on your progress over the next month and a half (firstname.lastname@example.org or Stone’s Drug Store on Facebook) and we’ll share it with everyone to help motivate them!!