Balance

It’s pretty common knowledge that most people don’t stick to their New Year’s resolutions.  Usually, I’m right there with those that have the best intentions, but fall off the wagon just a few weeks in.  This time around though, I am happy to say that three months into the new year, my resolutions are still ringing true for me.  In fact, the two mantras I had pinpointed as my “themes” for the year (Good enough is good enough, and Be gentle with yourself) are ideas I still think about almost daily.

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Lately, though, this idea of being gentle with myself has taken a slight twist.  While I still definitely need to remember to be gentle with myself and that good enough is good enough, I’ve started to realize that, in life, there is also a place for pushing oneself.  For striving.  For achieving.  And for setting tough goals.  I started to consider this contradiction.  I want to be more gentle with myself, but in light of some new goals I’ve set, I also need to be a little tough on myself (more about that in a minute). Then as I was reading one of my favourite books The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I found a quote that summed this up perfectly.  Rubin states. “There is a constant tug between striving and accepting… there is a time for both pursuing and accepting.”   I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Recently, I’ve jumped back on the “getting healthy” bandwagon.  I’ve started working out (3-4 times per week), re-joined Weight Watchers, and started the same Learn to Run program I had so much success with in the past.  This, of course, can’t happen without a little self discipline and hard work.  In other words, I have to be a little tough on myself.  I have to tell myself no when the cookies and cakes are calling my name and I have to push myself to lace up my sneakers and get my workout in, when I’d rather be lounging on the couch.  I have to skip the junk food aisle in the grocery store, and stock up on fruits and veggies instead.  I have to go to the gym when I’d rather be sipping hot cocoa and blogging.  It’s definitely not easy and if I’m too gentle on myself, I’ll be diving into the closest chip bag and subsisting on pizza before we know it.

That being said, in retrospect I truly believe that one of the reasons I gained all of my weight back (after losing 65 lbs.) is that I wasn’t gentle on myself last time.  Every time I slipped up, fell of program, or indulged just a little too much, I’d become so upset with myself that I’d quit altogether.  I was resentful because I felt like I had to be “good” all the time to lose weight.  (And there certainly wasn’t room for pizza when I’m being “good”.)  So this time around, while I have to push myself, I know I also have to be gentle on myself.  Some days I’ll eat healthy, workout, and feel amazing and strong.  Other days, I’ll stay in my pyjamas, eat junk food, and feel……. Guilt-free.

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All this, of course, is called balance which ironically is another one of my “themes” for 2016.  When I chose “balance”, I was focussed more on letting go of my over-achieving, perfectionist ways and making more room for rest and relaxation.  But now I’m starting to truly understand what balance means.  It means that there’s still a place for pushing myself.  There’s still a place for striving, achieving, working hard, saying no when you want to say yes, and being just a little bit of a perfectionist. But there’s also a time for being gentle.  For accepting that I will make mistakes, that not all days will be perfect, and that at the end of the day, life all is about balance and I’m finally starting to figure that out.

 

How are you doing with your 2016 resolutions?

Fitting Room Nightmares

shoppingWhen I was smaller, I used to love shopping for clothes.  I could always find my size and nearly everything I tried on looked pretty great (if I do say so myself).  I remember the thrill of realizing that I needed an extra-small, something that had never happened to me before.  Not only that but aren’t the clearance racks always full of too-cute, adorable, size 2s?

Now that I am struggling with my weight again, I once again have to battle what I like to call the Fitting Room Nightmare.  It’s not the room itself that I hate (although granted they are usually much too small, with bad lighting, and not enough hooks to hang all your stuff on).  It’s the actual trying on of the clothes that I despise.

When you’re not exactly a size 4,  (let’s say you happen to be more like a size 14) and have junk not only in the trunk but upstairs too, it can be very frustrating to dress your body.  Some fabric is much too clingy, some cuts make you look bigger than you are, other styles just look so much cuter on the hanger or on much smaller or taller girls.

clothing rackI had such an experience this evening and it’s left me feeling frustrated, disappointed and a little down on myself (although I am trying really hard to stay positive!) My wardrobe has been in dire need of a facelift for some time now but my husband and I have been pinching pennies like crazy to try to pay down some debt.  Now that I finally have a few extra dollars in my bank account (and the warmer weather has finally arrived!) I decided that it’s time to pick up some cute and fresh pieces for spring.

Now granted, I live in a fairly small city with one fairly small shopping centre and the selection of women’s clothing is generally terrible.  There are about four or five stores that I can check out, that might have something.  If I’m lucky.  And if I do find something that I like, and it actually fits, chances are it won’t be on the sale rack.  Because heaven forbid, I not only find something I like, but also get a deal!

I miss buying cute dresses like this one.

I miss buying cute dresses like this one.

Tonight, I tried on heaps of clothes.  I even branched out and tried some styles that I haven’t tried before (palazzo pants anyone?)  I decided to have an open-mind and just try.  So I dressed, and undressed, and dressed again, and undressed, and dressed again, and undressed…. you get the idea.  It was exhausting, I became increasingly frustrated as nothing I tried on looked halfway decent, and not only that, but all that dressing and undressing did some weird and not-so-wonderful things to my hair!  Yuck.

After nearly three hours of searching tirelessly, I came out with one pair of grey chinos and a pair of workout pants (maybe the fact that I found workout pants is a sign?  I will just live in them for the next two months, workout all the time, and by summer I might be able to find something more suitable to wear).  Haha, no worries, I am only joking.

This experience has been pretty frustrating. It’s very hard to maintain self-confidence and a positive body image when it’s so difficult to find something that looks semi-decent on my body.  Naturally, I start being hard on myself – wondering if I’ve been working out enough, questioning whether or not there are more changes I could make to my diet.  Then I think of all the cute, size 6 clothes I have packed away in my basement (because they no longer fit), and well… you can see where this is going.

But the lesson is, I have been here before.  I’ve been though the Fitting Room Nightmare many, many times (I can even recall at least one time when I was reduced to tears).  And I survived.  What I have to realize is that there’s more to this experience than just a body that’s hard to dress.  Maybe the timing was off, maybe I need to save more money (man, decent clothes are pricey!), maybe I am just being too hard on myself.  What I am trying to say is that although I want to sit down right now, feel sorry for myself, and dwell in overall feelings of crummy-ness, I’m not going to let that happen.

I am going to stay positive.  I am going to stay focussed on the small changes I have made and remember that they are having a positive effect, even if I haven’t seen a big physical one yet.  And most of all, I am not going to let a couple crummy hours in a fitting room (or a small mountain of clothes), dictate how I feel about my body or myself.   I’ve got my eye on the prize and I’m only looking up.