Do Your Own Needs End Up at the Bottom of Your To Do List?


In my #gmKISS (Keep It Simple Sweetheart) strategy class today at Green Mountain at Fox Run we talked about Stepping into Selfness. Now selfness is something I have written about before. It means counting your own needs as you count others’ needs even when you are feeling fat or unmotivated to exercise. And really, the conversation was about how we STOP ourselves from  counting our own needs and  how we can START making ourselves a priority.

We talked about what words work; words that don’t make you cringe, don’t set off your BS meter and don’t make you want to roll your eyes. We were a group of 15 women, many had been at Green Mountain for 3 or more weeks, working on getting fit, healthy eating and increasing their sense of wellbeing and they wanted to take their well earned successes home with them to Sustain the ChangeTM.

Our brainstormed list of possible words:

  • Self nurturing
  • Self management
  • Self healthness
  • Self compassion
  • Self love

It soon became evident that each person had one word that worked for them and several that pushed their buttons. What seemed to matter is how the word helped them imagine implementing an action plan. We all agreed that it is ACTION that would make the difference to help them Sustain the Change™.

So this took us back to the conversation about selfness and what gets in our way of counting our own exercise, food and downtime needs. Some of the culprits included: guilt, inertia, habit, time, and not feeling deserving. It was lively discussion as we explored our individual challenges and ideas about how to get around our own internal and/or external barriers.

Here are some of our ideas. Perhaps you can find one that might support you in your own selfness practice. (I suggest stealing any good idea you hear that might help you on your path to self care.)

  • Know that you can feel the guilt and do it anyway. And the guilt will decrease with practice and increase your self esteem
  • Change your word for exercise inside your head, e.g. get fit to travel, move, walk strong and tall, fun action
  • Look for ways to add movement to what you are already doing: watch tv sitting on the fit ball and use the commercial for sneaking in some abs
  • Schedule your exercise time so that you have a way to say ‘no’ to requests for meetings during your selfing time.
  • Treat it like an appointment with the president
  • Create an exercise challenge for yourself using blocks, minutes, stairs to see your progress.
  • Work towards a goal like a walking trip in Ireland or decreasing the number of stops your make when you are walking up a hill
  • Be aware of the “shoulds” you lay on yourself because they can invite reactive rebel energy that says “Oh, yeah! Just try and make me get out the door and do my walk!

What is one small thing you can do today to make yourself a priority?

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

Marsha has been a guiding force at Green Mountain at Fox Run since 1986. In addition to overseeing a professional program that helps women establish sustainable approaches to healthy living, she is a respected thought leader when it comes to managing eating, emotions and weight. She has been a voice of reason for the last three decades in helping people move away from diets, an area in which she is personally as well as professionally versed. An accomplished writer and speaker, Marsha is the author of six books, including the online course Disordered Eating in Active and Sedentary Individuals (co-authored by Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, Human Kinetics), What You Need to Know about Carbohydrates (Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics [The Academy]), What You Need to Know about Vitamin and Mineral Supplements (The Academy), and The Pregnancy Cookbook (co-authored by Donna Shields, RD, Berkeley Publishing). She has worked extensively on a national basis to educate the public about nutrition and the impact of dieting on eating behaviors, including binge eating and emotional eating. Active in many organizations helping to further the cause of health and wellness, Marsha currently serves as vice chair of the Binge Eating Disorder Association and vice president of The Center for Mindful Eating and has been active in the Association for Size Diversity and Health in support of Health at Every Size(R) principles.

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