There is a distinct difference between enjoying and forcing.
At first you may read that and think….well that’s pretty obvious. Okay fair, it should be…and a lot of times it’s not. We get use to our routines, our workouts, and even our structured ways of eating that we so easily forget to slow down and tune in. For me, it came in the form of physical activity and the way I was nourishing my body. Six years ago, I started running. I fell in love with it. The rush, the energy, the excitement. All of it. I fell in love with the energy it gave me and how quickly it took away my stress. Unfortunately, as a person of habit, it quickly turned into “I need to run”.
When I was in that phase, I ran because I “had” to. I ran even on days I didn’t feel like it or on days I was too exhausted. More specifically, days where my body was truly exhausted. Somewhere in there, the number of times I enjoyed running became fewer and fewer, especially if I was running on my own or having to run an exact number of miles. It became exhausting. In those moments, running was definitely forced.
Same thing with food. It’s so easy to jump on the next “health craze” or the new “healthy food” that’s out there— you know, the one that everyone swears will change your life and instantly make you more fit, healthy, prevent and cure all diseases, and somehow make you a better person [side note, there is not one food or way of eating that will magically make you invincible or perfect, okay ….moving on]. It is so easy to fall into the trap of “no matter what my body wants or craves, I need to eat _____”. Think about it, how miserable is that?
So yes, it is SUPER simple to fall into the trap of forcing vs enjoying. We all like to think that we don’t, but to some degree we can easily forget how different those two things are and how different they feel.
So here’s my advice to you, the next time you tell yourself you “should” run, you “should” eat _____, or you “should” do ______, stop and ask yourself if that feels like something your body actually needs in the moment or if you’re simply doing it out of routine.
Until you allow yourself to feel the difference in your own body, you may not understand it. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and your routine.
I can’t promise you that you’ll always choose the right thing for you, but I can tell you that no matter what, you’ll appreciate yourself and your body a lot more if you give it what it needs. Forcing a workout or forcing yourself to eat something that you don’t want will only make you bitter, exhausted, and unhappy…..and that is no way to live.