Fitness plays a vital part in our journey to a healthy and happy life. As women, we strive to project a positive image related to our bodies, at every age and stage of life. A healthy lifestyle, which includes fitness and exercise, is important for everyone – but are you doing it for the right reasons?

According to the The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report (a report that interviewed 10,500 females across 13 countries) low self-esteem heavily impacts women. We often struggle with our relationship with food and with our bodies. In fact, 85% of women and 79% of girls say they will opt out of important life activities when they don’t feel good about the way they look. This is a troubling statistic. Our relationship with our bodies should be an empowering one – not one that prevents us from living life to the fullest.

We have the power to change our mindset and our relationship with food, fitness, and health. My own journey has included on-going struggles with food and weight, and fitness helped me to accept and appreciate my body. For me, success is based on making a long-term commitment to self-care, setting realistic goals, and creating daily habits and rituals to stay motivated.

Here are three ways to get started:

  1. Focus on the act of moving and your WHY

Fitness is about more than just working out to get in shape. Truly think about why you want to exercise – is it simply to look good? Change your mindset to feeling good. If your goal is internal, rather than external, you’ll find more long-term satisfaction in the new habits and routines you develop.

Try to be mindful of the present moment as you move through your fitness activities. Focus on the feeling of your breath as you walk or run, the sound of your feet hitting the ground, the length of your stretch during yoga, or your sense of achievement as you complete your last lap in the pool. It is these moments that will bring you true joy and power.

  1. View food as fuel for your body

Develop a healthy relationship with food, as an important step in your personal journey. Embrace healthier choices to achieve your mental and physical goals. Learn balance, rather than resistance.

Take the time and do some research to learn about how much protein you should eat, where you can find good fats, and which snacks are healthier and more satisfying.

  1. Connect with your personal journey

“Believe in yourself and don’t compare. You are unique and so is your journey. And it’s okay to have a down day but get over it fast. Your success is waiting.”

-Fran Green, jewelry designer

This is a powerful and motivating quote for many reasons. Everyone has a unique journey and success is very personal. To understand your own success, keep a journal and track your feelings before and after your fitness routine. By focusing on your present success – rather than your perceived failures of the past and anxiety about the future – you can start to celebrate all of your successes, large and small.

Embrace your journey and be patient. Each day is a new opportunity and each workout, run, swim, yoga class, walk, or day of rest is a new experience. Enjoy these experiences and be kind to yourself – you are on a unique, exciting journey and that is your power.

HOLLIE: INSERT PHOTO OF SUSAN

About Susan Sommers

Susan Sommers completed two Marathons (walking the 42 kilometers in 7 ½ hours) and 30 other races in her late 50’s amd 60’s. She launched her new book, Love Your Body…Embrace Your Life! (Hay House Publishing /Balboa Press) in the Fall, 2016.

Through her company, Power Source for Women, Susan offers a variety of Keynote presentations, workshops, and weekend retreats in Canada and in the United States. Visit her website at www.powersourceforwomen.com and contact her at susan@susansommers.ca

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