February 20, 2008

Someone you REALLY want to keep happy

[By Merry]

There is someone you really want to keep happy.

No, not your significant other. Not your mother, either.

The scenario: You want someone to do something for you.

Do you:
a) Ask them nicely and thank them afterwards?
b) Use guilt, insults, and contempt to pressure them into doing what you want?

Counting hands Wow. That's a lot of people who went straight for the second option. Let me re-phrase the scenario. You want something done and you need to make sure the person you're asking the favor of will still be on good terms with you later. The person you're asking the favor of is someone you really, really don't want to abandon you. In fact, the person you're asking the favor of is the person you see when you look in the mirror.

So many approaches to fitness focus on denying yourself – 'you can't have that brownie, it's bad for you' or 'you will run that last mile, you need to do it, push yourself.' What if you tried the opposite approach and treated your body with some appreciation? It feels really good to do something to pamper yourself. Make the body feel appreciated instead of punished.

I know, the first impulse at this point would be to reach for the fudge ice cream, or glass of red wine, the cigarette or whatever else provides immediate gratification to the taste buds. But feeding a junk craving rarely benefits the body. I would suggest that the junk/comfort foods are largely created by forces outside of yourself – what your parents gave you to eat, what advertisers pushed on you, things like that. Once you satisfy the craving, your body often feels worse. And – come on, admit it. If you try a health-food diet for a few months, your body does feel better.

So, instead of gratifying your cravings, do something nice for your body. For example, I just bought 3 new sweaters, the clingy kind that has angora woven in and feels incredibly soft and warm to wear.

The irrefutable logic behind this purchase:

Irrefutable Statement #1 - Wearing something nice makes you feel good.
Irrefutable Statement #2 - Feeling good makes you appreciate your body.
Irrefutable Statement #3 - Appreciating the body you walk around in leads to wanting to do good things for your body. You reach for the peach instead of the peach schnapps, because it makes you feel good about yourself to treat your body well.

So what the hell. Take an hour or two to get a massage, soak in a hot tub, buy that soft, angora sweater. Do something fun. Do something nice today for somebody you really want to be happy for a long time to come.


  1. Great idea!

    It's amazing when you think about how bossy and obnoxious we often are with ourselves--we say things to ourselves we'd NEVER say to anyone else we cared about.

    For me, I do think edible treats will always be part of my reward system, (I'm pretty stubborn that way), but it really is important to find better ways to nurture ourselves.

    Baths, naps, self-administered foot rubs--they don't even have to be expensive.

    Although a nice professional massage sure sounds delicious right now...

  2. Yes. Be good to yourself. Treat yourself with love and kindness.
    Thanks for making this point.

  3. Crabby, with all the moving stress you've been going through, you've definitely earned a weekend at a spa. Or maybe a whole week :)

    When I wrote about how eating comfort food can be bad for the body, I had in the back of my mind the picture of someone eating a whole bowl of frosting, or an entire Big Mac (shudder). Anyway, something that seemed really good when you looked at it, but afterward all the grease or sugar or whatever made you feel sick.

    Um... not speaking from personal experience though. Nope, not me. No siree.

    Leah, I'm glad you agree. I love the beautiful mountain pictures on your blog, by the way!

  4. I totally agree.
    When I started out trying to lose weight I would berate myself, beat myself up when I failed and deny mysefl things. I would think of myself and say things to myself that I would never say to anyone else. And I'd always make sure everyoen else was looked after at the expense of myself.
    Once I decided that I liked myself enough to be nice to myself, I found that I'd look for positive things in what I did and use them as rewards. I'd do nice things for myself, and make sure that
    I still push myself, but it's different now...I have some rewards (some food and dome not). I make "deals" with myself now. I'd rather be happy and fit than skinny.
    Having a loving supportive partner does a world of good too...

  5. Besides, the world needs more people wearing angora sweaters :)

  6. Geosomin, that's an important point. It's much harder to be nice to yourself when your partner is being harsh and critical!

  7. Great post- will definitely make that mani/pedi appt today! I was just beating myself up this morning about my weight. Instead of being happy about the pounds that I have lost, I was upset about the pounds I still had on my body.....

  8. I really like the way you presented that idea - to be nice to yourself. I am definitely going to keep this in mind.

  9. Merry - wow. The Bag Lady is of the "harder on herself than anyone else possibly would ever dream of being" school. She hates having her picture taken...gee, she even hates looking at herself in the mirror. Maybe she should try harder in the "learning to like herself" dept. Hmmm...food for thought.

  10. Good points (needed for those angora sweaters, lest they cling to flab instead) and great sentiment.

  11. Love it, Merry. And it makes me realize that I need some new sweaters. Time for a shopping trip!

  12. Excellent advice, and another reason to seek out healthy foods and exercises that you're going to enjoy. As a kid I watched my stepmom eat plain yogurt, which she hated, but by golly it was part of her diet plan! It's no wonder her diets never stuck.

    An overall health plan for life shouldn't feel like punishment, and unless someone has a truly unique set of dietary/physical/locational circumstances, there's no reason to approach fitness with a One Path mentality.

    Many roads will get you where you want to go. Keep searching until you find one with the kind of scenery you'll like! :-)

  13. Merry, What a great post! That is such an eye opener for me!


  14. What a good post Merry, now I just have to start complimenting myself instead of berating. Thanks!

  15. Ah, I am so mean to me sometimes. A nice fuzzy angora sweater sounds soooo good. Great post!

  16. Rewards for hard work are definitely the way to go...
    I reward my girls when they have a great practice or a phenomenal game, and that makes them want to work harder and be successful in their lives...

    I reward myself too...Right now I've picked out my bathing suit (VS bikini) and I will buy it this year...I'm not focused on the weight anymore, I'm focused on looking good in that suit and being confident in my body to walk out of the house in it and have a good time...The boyfriend approved the selection and he is helping by pushing me in the gym and keeping me ontrack with my snacking...The reward will be mine!!!

  17. Gosh, I'm blushing here. Thank you all! I figure angora sweaters or bikinis, so long as it's a thank you that your body will appreciate it works :)

  18. Thanks, Merry! I had just returned from a hard workout when I read your post. I DO deserve to do something that makes me feel nice. What about giving myself a home manicure while indulging in "How I Met Your Mother" repeats on DVD? Sold!!

  19. This is so true! Unfortunately, the cookies are so much cheaper than the massage. :)

  20. I had the most amazing massage last week at a beautiful spa and it reminded me of the importance of human touch, not sexual touch per say but just the warm and kind touch of another human being. This is why hugs always makes people feel good :-)


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