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Pilates is my jam. I took one mat class and was hooked. From teaching mat classes in my basement to teaching the Advanced System on the equipment (side note – we don’t call it “Pilates machines”) at a studio and now teaching my beloved Spin-lates at FITT (quick plug – join me Tuesdays 9am!) – I’ve taught Pilates to all sorts of people over the last 11 years. Mostly women. All sizes, shapes, ages and fitness levels. And I’ve noticed something….

Women are WAY too hard on themselves. Especially about their bodies! Anything sound familiar? I hate my stomach; How can I get rid of “this”? (said while pointing to a body part); I have “grandma” arms; My butt is too flat…. You get the idea. And I’ve heard these comments from some of the strongest, most fit goddesses I know. When was the last time you heard a man complain about his thighs? IKR?!

The reasons behind this negative self-talk are no doubt varied and complex, and the journey to loving our bodies can be deeply personal. But what if we simply substitute gratitude for negative messaging? What would that look like in our lives? Try to remind yourself of how fortunate you are to have the physical capabilities to exercise, that you are grateful to your body for serving you well, and exercise is a way to thank it.

To facilitate this change of thinking, try “RET” when you find yourself focusing on your so-called flaws.

* REPLACE negative thoughts about how your body looks with something positive about what it can do— how well it works, letting you walk, stand, jump, and dance (right, Rozmus?).

* Use EXERCISE as a tool to show ourselves love rather than as penance for eating too many chips. Exercise as punishment only drains the joy from our workouts.

* Be THANKFUL we can do burpees, pushups or teasers (if you are not sure what a teaser is, come to Spin-lates!) – recognizing that some day we may no longer have those capabilities.

This shift in thinking can lead to being more present in our workouts, while making those workouts even more enjoyable. But more importantly, we can free our minds and spirits from the grasp of thinking that does not serve us well.

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