There was a great article in BuzzFeed last week titled “11 Easy Things You Can Do When You’re Just Not Feeling Yourself.”

The article offers a few good laughs and gives some fun tips on personal things we can do to feel better about ourselves. Some favorites include:

  • Smile in the mirror.
  • Give mental compliments to everyone you pass.
  • Give yourself the same pep talk you would give your best friend.
  • Do something that tests your strength, endurance, or coordination.
  • Eat something that both feels and tastes good.

So often we struggle to love ourselves and to stay positive on our journey to live a healthy lifestyle, especially when we fail to meet our expectations. During these times, it’s so important to become our own cheerleader and not our own health police. No one can live joyfully in a constant police state.

No one who wants the health police (even those with good intentions) correcting their every move.

Three years ago I had the privilege of seeing Joel Peterson, chairman of the board for JetBlue Airways Corporation, speak at an event. He’s an amazing speaker and shared insights into lessons he’s learned over the years. One really stood out to me… “be a cheerleader—not a policeman—for my kids.”

When I returned home, I shared his advice with my husband and we strive to make “Cheerleading” part of our parenting style. Obviously there are times when kids need their parents to “wear the hat” of a police officer, but there are so many more occasions to be their cheerleader when mindfully seeking the opportunities to cheer vs. correct.

Recently, I came across an article from Mr. Peterson, “If I Could Start Over, Here’s What I’d Do Differently.”

He offers such great advice, but this time when I saw the reference to being a cheerleader vs. police officer, it made me think about why it’s important to be our own cheerleader throughout our journey to live a healthy lifestyle vs. constantly living in corrections officer mode and being overly critical of ourselves.

For anyone trying to get healthy, surely we can find ways to become our own cheerleaders and support our everyday efforts, whether it’s celebrating eating fewer or cleaner calories, squeezing in a short workout, getting to the gym more frequently, hitting the home fitness equipment, or training for a marathon.

WebMD has a wonderful list “10 Ways to Help a Loved One Lose Weight” that also applies to cheering ourselves towards accomplishing our health goals.

Here’s our spin on it!

Be your own best cheerleader.

  1. Invite your family and friends to become an active part of your program.
  2. Develop healthy incentives and reward yourself for your personal accomplishments.
  3. Show your family and friends that you are doing this for you and a healthy lifestyle, not some cultural trend or certain jean size.
  4. When you’ve had a bad day, don’t judge yourself harshly. Acknowledge it and move on.
  5. Be “aggressively supportive” of other people who are striving to live a healthy lifestyle (be their cheerleader too and perhaps they will cheer for you too).
  6. Find non-food ways to celebrate accomplishing small goals along the way.
  7. Embrace a healthy lifestyle, not just weight loss.
  8. Talk to others about what they are doing and incorporate new ideas into your own routine.
  9. Be positive!

So, are you your own health cheerleader or the health police? Something to think about the next time you are too hard on yourself! Pep talk yourself just like you would pep talk your best friend!

By Michele Mehl (@michelecmehl)

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