Rome wasn’t built in a day …
It’s January so we are being bombarded by tv, magazines, newspapers, telling us to get exercising, suggesting we have spent the whole of the Christmas period sat on our sofas watching back to back box sets … Basically tuning into our guilt and making us feel pretty bad about ourselves. So off we go to the supermarket searching out ingredients that we are told will make us healthier and will help us lose weight. Then we head to the gym and embark on new exercise classes, HIIT workouts, kettlesize, bootcamps, or power lifting, treadmills, rowing machines, static bikes … by the middle of the week, our muscles are aching, we can barely lift our arms to get dressed, our stomachs are rumbling, our heads are aching from the lack of caffeine – so how long do we last on this new regime? How long does this motivation last when it is driven by guilt. Unfortunately, it will probably run out, and research shows that 80% of new starters at gyms, or health clubs, have dropped off by 6 weeks into the new year!

Guilt is not a good foundation for embarking on a new lifestyle choice. Firstly, guilt is a negative emotion, and negative emotions do not get us results, they don’t move us forward. It eats away at our energy levels, it doesn’t provide us with contentment or satisfaction it makes us resentful, so instead of feeling like we ‘want’ to eat healthily and exercise we feel we ‘have’ to, resulting in a lack of motivation to keep going. Secondly, this emotional state then feeds our physical state. By launching into a new exercise routine our bodies will quite naturally react, muscle soreness and sometimes injury result, which affects our motivation to continue… and if we are already feeling resentful …. Well you can see where all this is going, we were much happier sitting on the sofa eating chocolate, weren’t we?

Let’s compare this state to building a house. In order for a house to be built successfully, and become a comfortable home, it needs good foundations. So in order for our bodies to become more healthy, we have to set good foundations. We can do this through Pilates. Our posture, balance and alignment need checking, so that when we move our muscles respond more effectively. This helps to prevent injury when we become more active. Pilates starts to build strength with correct balance, working our deep supportive muscles which stabilise us when moving. We start to move more freely, which enables us to become more active without problems. Then when we are getting a more positive physical response to exercise, we ‘want’ to do more. Our emotional state is more positive, and when this is happening then we can start to look at the fuel we use to keep our bodies healthy. Again starting with the foundations, making small changes to our diets that are achievable, and that initially we won’t miss. For example, focus on health rather than cutting calories, so start replacing foods that you feel are unhealthy with a healthier option. Start with main meals, change your regular breakfast cereal for porridge with some added fruit. Choose a colourful range of vegetables to have with your dinner instead of potatoes. Replace a cup of tea/coffee with a glass of water – cold or hot with a slice of lemon.

The old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is correct, but remember that it was “built” and I am sure there were some hitches along the way, and obstacles to get over. Think of your body in the same way, firstly focus on the foundations:

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