The terms self-control and willpower are often used interchangeably to describe the seemingly “virtuous” act of restricting something such as a desire or emotion.
Based on my experience both personally as a human and professionally as a dietitian & health coach making a behavior or lifestyle change rooted in self-control/restriction *doesn’t* actually help many people with their goals in the long-term. Instead, behaviors rooted in *self-care* and *compassion* are what help us create sustainable habits that keep both our physical and mental health in check.
The idea of “self-care, not self-control” is something that really resonated with me this past week after I heard it on the ‘Food Psych’ Podcast by Christy Harrison and came to me at the perfect timing as I’ve been spending the week in the DR at the beach where rest and self-care has been my primary focus. Embracing the concept of self-care over control really takes the stress (not to mention the shame) out of traveling when our typical health routines might take a seat on the sidelines — often this is even for the best if our body truly needs the extra rest!
An example of how I used self-care and intuition to guide my food, drink and movement decisions this past week was by basing them on how I wanted to FEEL. For example, I woke up and engaged in movement at either the beach or the gym each morning not because I felt like I *should* but because I knew it would energize me and make me feel GOOD. Side note: truly dislike the word should since it can invoke a lot of feelings of shame when we dont do that thing we think we “should do”.
What do you find works best for you (either self-care or self-control) when it comes to food choices, movement whether at home or traveling? Would love to hear your thoughts.