I teach an online Yamuna Body Rolling class. It functions like a “regular” class, insofar as there are 2 classes a week.
I’m fascinated by the guilt complex that happens when participants “fall behind”. (And PS – it’s around this time of year when the “I didn’t achieve my New Years Resolution” guilt hits as well).
There is no such thing as “falling behind” in exercise. Your body doesn’t know what the schedule is. Or was. Or was supposed to be. Or will be.
As far as your body goes, exercise and movement is binary: ✅ or ❌
Guilt is a paralyzing element when it comes to achieving goals. And I assume the goal of participants is to complete the package of sessions and achieve results.
It doesn’t particularly make any difference to me if those sessions are done back to back, or if they are paused and returned to. Or if you miss a week (or even two) and then do three (or four) a week for a few weeks.
And unless you are training for an athletic competition, it won’t make any difference to your body either.
Your body doesn’t know that you planned to do it on Friday and got sidelined by pizza and a movie (go you!)
Your body, however, does know that there’s a rush of guilt and shame and pushes out a stress hormone to help manage the situation.
So here’s what I say if you have “exercise guilt”.
- Take 5 minutes to re-plan your exercise today. Get out your calendar and schedule it in.
- Be reasonable with yourself if your plan needs to change (sometimes it will). Address changes like you would changes to social plans: simply reschedule without a negative dialogue.
- Don’t worry about what past things haven’t happened: do what you can to move forward, rather than look behind. Nobody gets out of a hole by staring at the hole: they get out by reaching for the light.
- Don’t rely on willpower, guilt, shame and self-flagellation to help you reach your goals (they rarely help beyond the short term, although the entire diet and fitness industry uses them as “motivation”). Negative self talk is so in-grained in females when it comes to our bodies that we subconsciously do it. Try to break this habit today, because, quite frankly, it’s holding you back.
- Rely on the “adding in” principles of working toward a goal rather than punishment for what you haven’t done.
- Consider “temptation bundling“.
- If you are one of my students, continue using me for accountability. I am certainly not judging you or your schedule, so help me help you celebrate your achievements and remind you of your goals.
I believe in feeling good, enjoying exercise, and celebrating your achievements. Guilt, shame and hatred aren’t going to help you “catch up”.
So carefully assess how you talk to yourself (or to others) about your body, your workout schedule and your eating habits.
And ditch the guilt.