A Long and Slow Journey Forward

Just a friendly reminder that you CAN reach your goals, but it takes time and persistence.  I can’t tell you how many times people expect to see drastic changes in a week or a month or even 6 months. Stop focussing on the end result and start focusing on the lifestyle.  The people you see online, including myself, have been at this for years.  Remember that.”  ~ @bskyfitness (Instagram)

It’s one of the things I love most about social media – aimlessly scrolling through posts, when suddenly you find something that really hits home.  Well, this afternoon, the quote stated above did just that.  It spoke to me, giving me a reminder that I really needed today – that the super fit people I see on social media are not overnight sensations – they’ve been working hard for a long time to get where they are at.

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My motivation has taken a nosedive lately.  I have an internal battle each day with myself.  I know I should be eating better and exercising a lot harder, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.  I’ve been eating quite badly, not tracking in my food journal, and doing the bare minimum as far as workouts go.  Yet, every day I look in the mirror, and want to lose weight.  I want to be smaller again – to look good, and to wear, smaller and cuter clothes (especially now that it’s summer).  I want to be fit and strong and ripped.  I want others to see me as an inspiration.  I want to feel healthier and have more energy and know I am giving my body the best that I can.  But for some reason, I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Today, I am feeling a sense of motivation coming back though.  My husband has been eating extremely healthy this week (tons of raw fruits and veggies and cutting back drastically on sugar).  He said after a few days, he is already feeling better (plus, he’s down 8 lbs – it’s so unfair how quickly men can lose weight!).   The fact that my husband is eating better has also inspired my 12-year-old stepson who struggles with his own junk food and sugar addiction (poor child is just like me!) And now, as I see my son want to eat better, my motivation increases too – after all, what’s more motivating than being a healthy role model for your children?

But one of the struggles I often face is the challenge of not seeing results fast enough.  I scroll through social media admiring the tight, fit bodies of others and want the same results.  It’s not necessarily that I compare myself to these girls, but I certainly want what they have. But too often I forget to think of the extremely hard work, persistence, and dedication it takes to get those bodies.  I forget to think of the type of lifestyles people with those bodies have (and it certainly doesn’t involve very much ice cream, French fries, or long afternoons on the couch!)

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Most importantly, I have to remind myself that it takes time to get there.  Losing weight is a long journey.  New, healthier habits aren’t established over night.  It takes trial and error to figure out what works for you and it takes persistence and time to turn those things into an overall lifestyle.  It takes conscious decision-making each and every day.  It takes learning to pick yourself up when you fall and get right back on the wagon.  The weight loss journey is certainly not an easy one but it is a possible one.  With time, effort, persistence, and a hell of a lot of hard work.  With learning not to compare yourselves to where others are on their journey but to honour yourself where you’re at and to keep pushing forward.

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I need to remember that, not just today, but every day.  I need to know that reaching goals may not be easy, but it’s certainly possible.  More importantly, I need to lay off the ice cream, lace up my Nikes, and start pushing myself further in the right direction!

 

 

 

Turning Self-Pity into Positive Thoughts: It’s Not Easy but It’s a Necessity

It’s a tough day over here.  I’m feeling pretty terrible about myself and pretty much just need to throw a pity party and rant a little.  Besides just venting though, I’m really hoping that someone out there might be able to connect with what I’m about to tell you.

I am trying to lose weight again. For those of you who don’t know my story, about six-seven years ago I had finally reached my goal of shedding 65 lbs.  It was a long, tough journey and I learned a lot about taking better care of myself.  It sure wasn’t easy but I did it.  At age 30, I was at my smallest adult weight ever – 128 lbs. and felt amazing!  I felt proud, confident, and happy.  I worked out like a beast, ran 10k races, tracked my food in piles of food journals, and happily shopped for XS clothing.  I felt like I had hit the jackpot and finally, after years of struggle, had made it.  But then life took a turn (as it does) and within three years, I ended up gaining all of the weight back.  My workouts slowly came to a stop and when that happened, bad eating habits began to creep back in.  Fast foward to now, and here I am, hovering just under 200-lb and fighting hard to forgive myself for gaining all the weight back which is not something easy to do.  I have asked myself again and again why I let it happen.  Why did I work so hard, achieve my biggest goal, and then blow it and end up back at square one?  It’s not something that’s easy to forgive yourself for but thankfully, I have a wonderful support system who reminds me that I have to stop looking back and keep looking forward.

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But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  And today is just one of those days.  It’s the kind of day where I feel overwhelmed, scared, beaten down, and frankly, even angry.  WHY DOES LOSING WEIGHT HAVE TO BE SO HARD?   Why does it take so much planning and prepping and determination to eat healthy?  Why are cookies, and chips, and pizza (all things I love) so easy to grab and shove down my hatch?  Why does working out take so much time, energy, and motivation?  And why does laying on the couch, watching trashy TV, and napping, feel so damn good?  But as my darling, patient, and biggest supporter-husband regularly reminds  me, if it were easy, everyone would be skinny.  UGH.  I know he is right but I hate to admit it. (I can be extremely stubborn at times… Okay, most of the time!)  Then he ever-s0-sweetly reminds me that I can do it.  I can lose the weight and get healthy again. He knows I can do it (and according to him, I know I can do it too, which of course, he’s right about… Again).  So why do I fight him so hard when I know he’s right?  When I know his pep talks come from such a loving and supportive place?  I fight him because sometimes I just want to wallow in my own self-pity.  Because sometimes I’m not strong enough to turn off that terrible voice in my mind that tell me I’m not good enough.  That I’m fat.  That I can’t do it.  Sometimes I need him to rescue me, and to make me believe again.

One of the things people used to always tell me when I was thinner was that they envied how motivated I was.  They asked how I had so much energy and told me that I inspired them.   Those compliments used to make me feel like I was walking on clouds.  I felt so proud of myself.  It was one of the best feelings in the world.  And the rational, intelligent girl inside of me knows that those feelings of motivation and self-worth and energy came from working out.  They came from feeding my body well and pushing it to its limits physically.  So then, knowing that there’s such huge rewards, why is it so hard to get motivated to get back there again?

My husband and I were discussing this today.  I was complaining about the vicious cycle people get caught up in of knowing if we started working out we’d have more energy, but not having enough energy to get started.  (It’s the trap I am currently in).  And he explained it the best way.  He told me that “getting the train rolling” (so to speak) is the hardest part, and he really couldn’t be more right.  “Once you get the train rolling,” he told me, “There’s no stopping you.  I know that and, you know that.”  And as much as I may hate it (because one of the hardest parts of losing weight is patience), there’s only one way to get that “train rolling” – baby steps.  Small changes, one at a time, forgiving myself when I slip up, and getting right back on the (train) track.  It sure as hell isn’t easy, but it’s the only way.

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So for all of you out there who are fighting this battle like me, please know that you are not alone.  Take it from me, that I know it isn’t easy. I know how hard it is, how time consuming it is, and how badly you can want something but hate everything you have to do to get there.  But if you are feeling this way, I hope and pray that you have a support system like I do.  I hope you have someone to lift up your spirits when you’re feeling so low about yourself.  I hope you have someone to tell you you’re beautiful, when you can’t stop talking negatively to yourself.  I hope you have someone who will be patient with you when you are being stubborn and giving up on yourself.  And I hope that eventually all those loving words will start to break through that dark, sad, angry wall you’ve built up and that you will begin to see that there’s one way to do this.  It’s to start believing in yourself as much as others believe in you.

We can do it.

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?

Week 4 and 5 Check-in: Under the Weather

My new best friend lately.

My new best friend lately.

It’s been awhile since I have posted and with good reason – I have been sick with a cold for the last two weeks!  Despite still having a sore throat, I had a burst of energy tonight which is a sure sign that I’m on the mend.  That being said, there hasn’t been much progress with my weight loss efforts over the last couple of weeks.  (In fact, I think a few too many treats at my sister-in-law’s baby shower on the weekend, may have set me back just a bit!)

But that’s one thing I am trying to think about differently this time around with my weight loss efforts.  Just as life goes up and down, so will my weight and my ability to stay on plan.  I won’t be able to be 100% on the wagon at all times.  We all stumble along the way, we all cave in to temptations now and then, and no one is perfect.  As simple as it sounds, it is has taken me a long time to figure out that a few minor stumbles along the way doesn’t mean that my entire journey has failed and that I must “start over” to be successful.

Yum.

Yum.

In fact, it still amazes me how consumed with guilt I generally feel when I “fall off track”.  The other day, for instance, I didn’t feel completely terrible but I definitely had less-than-normal amounts of energy, a phlegm-y cough, and a bit of a sore throat.   I wanted more than anything to cuddle up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket and a bowl of chicken soup (which is what I ended up doing). But even though I was under the weather, I couldn’t help feeling guilty about missing my daily exercise.  I sat there for a significant part of the evening arguing with myself about whether I was just using my slight cold as an excuse even though in my heart I knew I should rest.  I worried that if I missed that day (after already having missed a few days before it), it would be the beginning of the end – I would fall off track and find myself right back where I started in the first place.

quoteI hate this guilt.  I hate worrying that one (or even a few) slip-ups will derail my entire plan.  So that’s why this time, I am trying to accept that these setbacks are not the end all, be all.  Instead of focussing on the lack of progress I have made over the last couple of weeks, I have decided to cut myself a break and to accept that life will naturally give us hiccups on whatever journey we are on (and besides, I was sick after all!)  I need to not be so hard on myself.  Instead of focussing on what I haven’t accomplished the last two weeks, I have to remember the steps I have taken in the right direction and keep my mind on where I am going.