Feeling Good vs Looking Good

looking good vs feeling good I read a line in a book the other day that resonated with me more than anything I have read for a while.

"I want to feel good more than I want to look good."

Just twelve little words, none of them particularly profound or exotic. It's a very simple, and somewhat obvious concept, but it struck a chord with me and really made me think about what I've been prioritising in my life.

If you read this post a couple of months ago, you'll know that I have been battling with body confidence for a while now. I have spent pretty much everyday since I was 14 worrying about looking good rather than focussing on feeling good. How bloody backwards is that?!

It means that I've spent hours slogging in the gym, even though I know going to the gym is like a special form of torture for me. All that time I've spent pounding away on a treadmill or being shouted at by a spinning instructor has been led by a desire to look good rather than feel good. I'm not saying that I didn't get some happy endorphins as a result, but if I had been solely focussed on feeling good instead of looking good, I would probably have opted to go for a nice walk along the canal or go for a swim or do some yoga. All of these things would have done my body some good, but would have made my soul feel a bit better too. Sure, they might not have yielded maximum calorie burnage, but I'm pretty bloody sure I'd have felt better doing them.

The same goes for food - so many times I've rescheduled dinner plans or chosen boring things in fab restaurants, all to fit in with whatever diet plan I was trying that week. The goal was always to lose weight, to look my best, to be able to wear those short shorts on holiday without any doubt. And then I'd fall off the diet bandwagon a few days later and chow down on enough junk food to leave me bouncing off the walls on a sugar high. So many times I have based my eating habits around a desire to be a certain weight or reach a certain dress size, as opposed to what would make me feel happy. And that's not to say that this is an excuse to eat whatever I want, because feeling sluggish and unhealthy and bloated is not conducive to feeling good. But neither is feeling hungry or deprived or bored.

I feel good when I drink enough water and eat a variety of foods and give my body the nutrition it deserves. I feel good when Sam and I cook a nice dinner together and open a good bottle of wine to go with it. I feel good when I spend quality time with my friends and family and get out in the fresh air and get plenty of sleep. I don't feel good when I'm dragging myself out of bed an hour and a half early to go to a way too busy gym and do my best hamster wheel impression on the treadmill. I don't feel good when I turn down a piece of the dessert that my friend has made or when I'm starving my body of the things it needs, just so the number on the scale is more appealing.

So many of us tell ourselves that if we just looked a certain way or dropped a dress size or toned up a bit or lost half a stone we would be happier. But then our happiness becomes based on an end result, and there is a certain understanding that we should forfeit our happiness and satisfaction until we reach that end goal. Doesn't it make more sense to make choices that make us happy everyday? Shouldn't the journey feel just as good as the destination?

This concept makes so much sense to me. When we are focussed on how we want to feel, our choices are so much more natural and intuitive. We will probably make healthier choices, because we are committed to feeling good, and our bodies need to be working efficiently to feel as great as we can.

I suppose, as ever, it comes down to balance. It's what we all strive for, but I can't help but think that it would be so much easier to achieve if looking good in a bikini wasn't what we rested our entire self worth on.

This post has turned into a bit of a rant hasn't it? Sorry about that. What do you think? Do you make your choices based on feeling good or looking good?