Start by setting small exercise goals

You don’t have to be a size two to cut your risk of diabetes or to be healthier. According to John Hopkins Medicine losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can reduce your risk of diabetes by 58% . That is only 10 to 20 pounds if you weigh 200. Go ahead and get started on your fitness plan. Exercise is a great way to practice self care because it feels good and it is good for you.

Start by setting small goals

You have probably heard the expression – a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Why not make fitness a part of your journey toward wellness? Think of health changes such as losing weight and inches or committing to a self care fitness plan as points along the journey. Establish mile markers along the way to keep yourself feeling encouraged. Here are some examples:

  • I will start my exercise program on August 1 and exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes for the next four weeks.
  • I will lose five pounds in the next four weeks.
  • I will lose three inches in the next four weeks.
  • I will be able to run for 30 seconds without stopping by September 1

Although your overall goal may be to lose twenty pounds you are more likely to be successful if you set smaller goals along the way. Setting incremental goals keeps you encouraged because you give yourself the opportunity to see results and experience success quickly. You are also more likely to stick with your plan, which means you develop trust in yourself about doing what you say you will do. Use the feeling of being successful to motivate yourself to keep going or push even more. Before you know it your doctor will say you are safely out of the danger zone.

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Planning for self-care

Women are often urged to look everywhere except within for comfort, centering, love and self-care thus reinforcing the idea that we don’t have what it takes to restore, heal or encourage ourselves. We do. We just have to find the strategies and connections that work for us. Consider combining community services and support with your own internal resources for a self care plan that you can build, direct and own. Here are a couple of strategies to try.

  • Cognitively Based Compassion Training (CBCT), Mindfulness and Meditation Practice – learning to observe your feelings as they come up can make not identifying with them or not letting them lead you astray feel easier.
  • Exercise and yoga (can be as effective as antidepressants) are good ways of claiming and using “me” time.
  • Sister Circles – join with other women to harness the power of community caring, concern, accountability and support. Choose women that are emotionally healthy enough to support you in ways that are meaningful, and meet at least once monthly. Be sure to establish important group rules, for example – you may agree that members must observe confidentiality and agree to disagree respectfully.
  • Journaling – Use the pages to explore your truths, values, fears and hopes.
  • Counseling – Regard your therapist as a partner. You can choose the right one for you and fire therapists that are not a good fit. You don’t have to accept just anyone