I have spent a good decade plus being active. I remember the first night that I decided to make the trip to the gym at my University and make a change in my health 13 years ago. I even remember the exact clothes I was wearing. I’ve grown a lot in my health since then, since I lost 60 pounds, since I’ve gained about 15 of those pounds back, and maintained the rest. It’s hard for me to say that. That I’ve gained 15 pounds, though steadily, since 2007. Because I have a notion that it says that I’ve given up, when really, I have a different life and I”m a decade older. I’ve stopped starving myself, I’ve stopped obsessing over working out every single day for an 2 hours, I’ve stopped saying that I have to be perfect or noone will love me. I’ve moved to a different state four times, I’ve received my Master’s degree (in 2011), I’ve gotten married, I’ve established my career, I’ve started weightlifting, I’ve ran a marathon, I’ve allowed myself sleep, and I’ve struggled and overcome work-life balance. A lot has changed since I was 21 years old.
A couple of years ago I started working my first office job. I was used to being on my feet for my job at the time. Like the years I was in college and grad school, I was on my feet, running around like crazy, and then I would fit in a workout. At the time I started this office job, I had only gained about 5-6 pounds of the weight I originally lost back in college. But I was active and healthy and fit and older, so while I struggled at times with it, I wasn’t too hard on myself. But then in the first five months after this new office job, I gained ten pounds. I wasn’t eating more than usual, but I also was now sitting on my butt all day. So I got into kettlebell workouts three times a week and lost a few inches but only a few pounds. I adjusted my eating, and though I was hungry most of the time, I managed to maintain where I was. My goal was to lose 10 pounds and be back to where I was before I started this office job.
I’ve been on this journey for 2 years.
It’s not that there is no effort being put in. I log what I eat, I eat really clean and healthy and only hit a certain amount of calories a day. I make sure I drink 8 glasses of water. I watch my sodium intake (for bloating purposes). I exercise 4-5 days a week. I lift weights and I do cardio. My original idea of running a marathon was due to the idea that it might help me lose weight, after all I had seen it so many times in blogs (mostly men but some women) where a person starts training for a marathon and then drop weight as a result. Some days it feels like I do math formulas in my head to get where I want to be. And it all becomes overwhelming.
The reason I’m writing is that this whole getting fit thing is so rewarding. But sometimes it becomes overwhelming. exhausting. frustrating. and sometimes, downright unfair.
Here are some tips that I use when my confident ass gets down on myself. They work for me, because I know me, and I know how my mind works. So maybe they’ll work for some of you!
- Give Yourself a Break
Okay, shut up and listen. Sounds simplistic and stupid because it’s so simplistic. But seriously, give yourself a break. A literal break. Take a couple of days and just focus on what you want to focus on. Maybe meditation is something that might help, but taking a break and letting yourself just be is something that I have to do in order to get my wits together. I usually take a day or two to eat things I enjoy, no matter what they may be….usually it’s pizza. Not a crap ton of binge eating should go on here, but letting yourself eat foods because you enjoy eating them.
Also, reflect on why being healthy or being fit is important for you. Starting out 13 years ago, losing weight was to get my size 20 self to a healthy version of me. I took it slow, and I ate right, I portioned, and I began walking a mile or two every day at the gym. I got rid of ulcers, I lowered my anxiety levels, and after three and half years, I dropped down to a size 12/14. I’m still a 14 today because when I get overwhelmed I think back to why I got fit in the first place or why I strive to be more fit, and better, and faster, and it comes back to me taking it really slow because I am healthy and I want to stay that way. When I look at myself now, I don’t say, “well, of the 60 pounds you lost nine years ago, you’ve gained 15 back!” I instead say, “you have managed to keep off 45 pounds over the past nine years, and you’ve been active for 13. You’ll get those pesky 10 pounds off, just give yourself time and patience. Give yourself a break!”
2. Create a base that you can always go back to when you get overwhelmed
I was talk to a friend a couple of weeks ago, and she was down on herself because she had not been running like she was used for a couple of months. I told her I was in the same boat. Listen, I love running! I love it to the moon and back. But I have phases of running all the time to not feeling it. I can be in love with running for two or three years, and then decide I am putting too much pressure on myself to enjoy running even though I am not. I wish I could say that every day is a running day for me. But I get bored of the same routes, or I get interested in other physical activities that take up more of my concentration. What I told my friend, is that when I lose interest in something with fitness (like running, kickboxing, etc) I always have a base to go back to. 13 years ago, I started my fitness journey with walking. I love running, but I am in love with walking. I like strolling, I like hill climbs, I like speed walking with my arms swinging like those old ladies you see in the mall. I am in love with walking. It’s physical, you burn the calories, you get your heart in good health, your lungs…but you can enjoy the scenery more. You can really enjoy that song you’re listening to. you can dance while simultaneously walking. It’s my base and something I know I can always do when I’m losing drive to do something else. Find your base. For some people it might be eating a certain type of meal plan or clean eating lifestyle. For some it might be running. For others it might be yoga or pilates. Whatever it is, figure out your base, and go to it when you’re overwhelmed.
3. Keep a journal.
Seriously. You heard me say I sometimes feel like I do mathematical equations earlier. I keep a journal. I say whatever is on my mind in that sucker, and noone else will ever see it. I might write negative things about myself, I might write positive things about myself, I write about meditation sessions and how well they are going, whether I got distracted or I stayed focused the whole time. When life throws you mathematical equations, write it down. Crack a joke in your journal. write down goals. whatever you want, just write it down!
4. Ask yourself why this issue matters
I used to have awful AWFUL self esteem. I put stress and pressure on myself to look a certain way. I used to say ” I never want to look like I’ve let myself go” or “look like I’ve given up”. It’s something I struggle with every now and then even today. But I’m a confident enough person to admit that I’ve struggled with that. I no longer place a number on the scale as the solid most important thing that defines me. I used to panic when I was about to see a friend or family member that I hadn’t seen in a while because I would think “are they going to think I’m fatter since I’ve gained 5 pounds? Can they tell I’m insecure?” And now, if a thought like that occurs in my brain, I say to myself “is this person going to stop loving me because I’ve gained a few pounds? Like…does that really fu$%ing matter!?”
the answer is no. it doesn’t.
Don’t allow yourself to get too overwhelmed with weight loss or being fit. You’re doing this because you want to be healthy, not unstable or depriving your body of self love. Be kind to your body, it’s the only one you’ll get.
WHAT ARE SOME TIPS YOU USE WHEN THINGS GET TOO OVERWHELMING?
Let me know in the comments below!