Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows it is not easy. It takes a lot of dedication and motivation, and it requires work every day, day after day. After a few weeks, the excitement of starting a new lifestyle wears off, reality settles in, and many people often give up.
With that in mind, if you are still committed to taking better care of your body, hurray for you!!! You have worked hard, even when you didn’t feel like it. And you have persisted when many would have quit.
It is time to tell your body “thank you”.
You have been pushing your body to its limits repeatedly, even when your muscles ached. It hasn’t let you down thus far. Now it deserves a payback. Here are some ideas.
Your leg muscles have worked hard to survive squats and lunges, running and high knees, and warrior one and two. Your arms have endured tricep kickbacks, pushups, curls, and presses. Your back and abs have supported you through planks, crunches, and twists.
All your muscles have stretched and strengthened; sometimes they even screamed back at you. They deserve an hour (or even 30 minutes) of relaxation in return.
If you’ve never had a massage before, you are in for a real treat. It is a chance to simply lie on a massage table and just relax. Your only job is to enjoy yourself (sometimes I’ve even fallen asleep). The masseuse will work his or her magic, sensing which muscles are the tightest, and knowing exactly how to rub them to restore and revive them.
Warning: You might be so relaxed after the massage that you won’t want to do anything else for a while. In order to reap the most from your massage (physically and emotionally), plan some down time afterward so you can continue to relax and recover from all your hard work.
You feel better about your body, so let it show. Get your hands or feet pampered, and choose a happy shade of polish to daily remind you of the good deeds you’ve done for your body.
If you don’t want to spend money on a professional service, you can treat yourself at home. My sister and I used to give ourselves “hand-cials” – a play on a facial for our hands. We used a Mary Kay kit which has since been updated, but it was always a treat. I have also used Ocean Salt face and body scrub by Lush; this is just a one-step process, but it leaves your hands (or feet) feeling soft, smooth, and wonderful.
3. NEW CLOTHES
Another treat for your hard-worked body is a new item of clothing to complement it.
Sometimes it might be a brighter color that you used to feel too obvious in. Or maybe it is an item you’ve always envied, but it never quite fit your body type before…now it does. It could also be a more fitted piece that you avoided before, and now it is not quite as fitted as it used to be.
Whatever it is, a new outfit can be a fun way to celebrate your progress and show your body that you care.
I used to think of yoga as exercise, but I now view it as a treat. While I still cannot do the “bow” pose, my muscles love the opportunity to stretch, lengthen, and strengthen. The 21 Day Fix includes a yoga workout once a week as an “active recovery” day.
I thoroughly enjoy the time focusing on breathing and stretching and discovering each week how I can do things that I couldn’t do the week before. It is exciting and rewarding.
So next time your muscles are tight and aching, try a yoga routine. Trust me; your body will thank you.
5. TRY SOMETHING NEW
After all of your hard work and exercise, your body is likely capable of things you couldn’t do before. Another way to celebrate your growth is to try something new and different. Maybe you are ready to try cross-fit or running, ballet or ice-skating. Or if you’re really feeling adventurous, you could try bouldering or working out with “aerial silks” like in Cirque du Soleil. The possibilities are endless.
Your consistent efforts have likely improved your capabilities when it comes to cardio, strength, endurance, flexibility, and coordination. So step out of your comfort zone and try something new. You just might discover a new favorite activity!
Congratulations on your progress thus far. How do you plan to thank and reward yourself and your body for all of your hard work and dedication?