My Personal Reasons To Exercise: What Are Yours?

Over the years, I have tried many different types of exercise ~ running, Zumba, yoga, weight lifting, rollerblading, walking, biking, cardio classes, dance, cross-country skiing, soccer, baseball, plyometrics, home DVDs… the list goes on!

But when it came to why I exercised, I only ever saw it as a means to an end – a way to lose weight. For most of my adult life I have battled my weight and I learned early on that exercise is a key component to any weight loss endeavour.  So throughout all those years, and many different types of exercise, I always had one goal in mind – If I do this, I will lose weight and if I lose weight I will look better.

Sure, sometimes I also told myself that exericse would make me feel better too, but I don’t think I ever truly paid attention to what that meant.

Until recently…

This past winter was the first time in my thirty-six years of life that I ever realized there is far more to exercise than simply being a tool to lose weight (nevermind the fact that there are far more important things to our health than simply losing weight – that’s another blog all on it’s own) This past winter was about the third year in a row where I noticed a marked difference in my mental state.  As late fall/ winter rolled around, along with it came a dark cloud over my head.  I lost my normal ambition and positive mindset, and felt unmotivated, anxious, and very, very exhausted all the time.  I hated how I felt and it dragged on for months – until summer rolled around.

At one point though, it started to become clear to me that just as my mood and mental state could be linked to the poor weather, it could also be linked to my lack of exercise.  Since then I’ve been doing more research and am reminded again and again that there are myriad reasons to exercise – and that some are far more important in our lives than the size of our waistline!

A couple of the people I have learned this from best are my former Beachbody coach Melanie Watson and a wonderful lady I follow on Instagram (Check her out: moms.can.be.fit – she is such an inspiration!) Both of these incredible woman are constantly preaching the real reasons to work out ~ not just to lose weight (although that can certainly be a positive side effect) but to have the right kind of mindset that will get us through life! Plus, so many other reasons that help us to achieve overall vibrant health.

With this, I started to consider my own personal reasons for working out.  Although I still have weight to lose, this alone hasn’t been enough to motivate me to exericse lately (yes, I’d like to lose some weight but at the same time, I’m sort of comfortable with the weight I am now. Also, I’ve been trying really hard not to focus on my “weight” and to focus on my health so this could be why too….).

But what got me started back to exercising this morning, after being off again for a couple of weeks, was the realization that just around the corner is back-to-school/ work!  Whether I like to admit it or not, I am about to enter a season where the lazy days of summer are going to come to an abrupt end and our days will be filled to the max with schedules, work, and responsibilities.  (I’m also preparing myself for a challenging year as I will have thirty sixth-graders which is the most kids I’ve ever had in a class!)

I know that the best way for me to handle the upcoming challenges of back-to-school/work (combined with some other challenges happening in our personal lives), is to get into a regular workout routine. That led me to start thinking about all my personal reasons for working out.  You’ll see that losing weight is on the list but there’s now so much more to it than that.  I hope that when I feel the urge to skip a workout or fall off the wagon next time, I can look to this list to keep myself on track!

My Personal Reasons To Exercise

1. Happy endorphins!

2. Mental clarity and focus!

3. To feel proud of myself!

4. Mental strength!

5. Positive mindset!

6. To gain physical strength and to feel strong!

7. So I don’t feel lazy! (A feeling I loathe)

8. It motivates me to make better food choices!

9. It gives me way more energy ~ I hate the feeling of constant exhaustion!

10. To lose and/or maintain weight

11. To overcome challenges (see: mental focus!)

12. To prove to myself that I can do what I couldn’t do before ( physically and/or mentally)

13. To make some things in life easier (ie. climbing stairs, walking long distances on hot/humid days)

14. To be overall healthy, vibrant, and positive!

15. To have confidence!

16.  To look good in cute clothes!

17. To like what I see in the mirror!

18. To feel accomplished!

19. To be an inspiration to others!

20. To be an inspiration to myself!

Are there other reasons you would add to this list?  I’d love to hear them! 

 

 

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Just Do It: Doing the Work Even When I Don’t Feel Like It

Ok guys, after months and months of being in a “slump” and feeling like I will never successfully get back on my weight loss journey, I finally feel like I’m about to make a comeback!   It’s all thanks to my Beachbody coach Melanie Watson who reached out to me and introduced me to author/ motivational speaker/ media personality Mel Robbins.  But before I get into that, let me tell the story from the beginning.

Back in early January, like so many others I made the resolution to get back on track with my weight loss journey.  After years of doing Weight Watchers, I decided to shake things up and signed up with Beachbody.  I started using the containers of the 21 Day Fix program and purchased Beachbody On Demand so I could workout whenever I wanted in my basement.  I easily found the Beachbody community online – literally hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other people trying to do the exact same thing I was trying to do.  It was online that I found and “met” my coach Melanie Watson.  Melanie seemed to “get” my struggles right away and had experienced many of them herself!  At the time, I was struggling with the winter blues, mild depression, and a major lack of motivation to do anything.   Despite being a complete stranger, Melanie seemed to know me so well and understood all my goals – plus she had the tools to get me there.   I signed up to her Facebook groups and followed her on Instragram eager to be successful. But after about the first month, things started sliding and I lost my motivation.  The winter blues were overwhelming and nights on the coach won over working out in my basement.  Carb-heavy, comfort food beat out nutritious and heart-healthy meals.  I started to tell myself that all the hard work and sacrifices it took to lose weight weren’t worth it.  Life was too short not to eat sweets. I should just learn to love myself the way I am.  Maybe for the first time in my adult life I could not be on a diet program and actually just learn to accept myself. But something deep inside me, an inner voice (or as Mel Robbins’ would call my inner wisdom) was still there.  No matter how much I tried to convince myself that I could feel satisfied, fulfilled and confident without losing weight, my inner wisdom was telling me differently. But still, nothing changed.  I still consumed calorie-rich foods all day long and snuggled into the couch as soon as humanly possible after work.  Every day I thought about working out but talked myself out of it within seconds.  I knew what I had to do to lose weight (and had all the programs and supports imaginable) but I still wasn’t doing it.

But the inner voice continued to talk.  I considered emailing Melanie.  By this point, I had completely turned my back on the Beachbody program.  I had unfollowed some of the groups online and began to feel resentful towards the cheery messages of success others were sharing in the groups.  I even contemplated unfollowing Melanie’s profile.  I was feeling so overwhelmed by all the messages about what I knew I had to do, but still, did not feel like doing. Then, last week, Melanie reached out to me.  I was shocked but so pleasantly surprised.  Although she had been so good to me previously, I had assumed I was just another “customer” helping to grow her business.  But by reaching out to me after weeks of not hearing from me or seeing my posts in group, Melanie proved that she actually wants me to be successful I immediately responded, openly expressing to her the struggle I had been experiencing.  I wrote about not being in the right “mindset” to get started and how I’d been struggling for months to get there. This is when Melanie gifted me with the invitation to check out Mel Robbins’ work.  As I mentioned earlier, Robbins is a media personality, motivational speaker, and author.  She wrote The Five Second Rule which I am currently devouring and taking copious notes from.  The minute I read Melanie’s email, I started obsessively watching Robbins’ videos on YouTube and spent my two-hour drive yesterday listening to her podcasts. It is like Mel Robbin’s was living inside my head.  So much of what she has to say is exactly what I have been struggling with for months!  And the fact that Melanie knew to suggest her work to me blows my mind even more.  How can a complete stranger know just what I needed?!

So what is this Five-Second Rule and why am I so excited about it?  As I mentioned, I just started reading the book to fully understand the concept but I am so excited by it that I felt I had to write a blog post right now.   Here are some of the main principles I’ve taken from Robbins’ work so far including how they relate to my life.

1. You will never feel like doing it, you have to do it anyway. Robbins speaks about the notion that we all know what we should do.  And we know how to do it.  For example, the Weight Watchers program (which I have been a member of for years), or the Beachbody program tell you exactly how to lose weight.  But yet I don’t do it.  Why not?  Because I don’t feel like it.   Robbins’ says that we’ll never feel like it but that we have to just start doing it anyway.  That’s why she says motivation is garbage.  Because we will never truly feel like doing things in the  moment that we should.

2. The Five Second Rule In a nutshell, the five second rule is a theory that you can train your brain to listen to your inner wisdom and do what you know you have to do, rather than hold yourself back from doing it.  It’s kind of like the Nike slogan Just Do It (which Robbins also refers to in the book).  Robbin’s tells of her personal struggles and how she discovered that by simply counting down 5-4-3-2-1 you can distract your brain and refocus on doing what you need to do.

3. Get out of your own head. Robbins says that our inner wisdom is constantly telling us what we should do to lead a healthier, happier, fulfilled, and satisfying life but that we have the habit of talking ourselves out of following through on these ideas.  As soon as we start thinking about the idea too much, we easily and effortlessly talk ourselves out of it.  The magic of the Five Second Rule is that we can change that!

4. Your have to parent yourself. I love where Robbins talks about how no one tells us when we become an adult that now we are going to have to parent ourselves.  When we are kids, our parents are there to tell us no.  They are there to make sure we do the things we are supposed to do.  As adults, there is no one to do that, so we have to do it ourselves.  We have to learn to tell ourselves no and to do the work even when we don’t want to.

All this being said, I want to recognize that I probably just did a terrible job of summarizing some of Robbins’ main ideas.  Also, please take into consideration my other disclaimer – I just started reading the book.  I know I have just scraped the surface of some of this woman’s amazing ideas!  I can’t wait to learn more.

But more importantly, I feel like I have been given a tool that is finally going to get me out of this slump that I’ve been in.  I’ve spent all winter making excuses for myself, talking myself out of doing the work, holding myself back, trying to convince myself that I could be happy without losing weight. Now I see that I need to get out of my own head.  I always overthink everything and I’ve been overthinking my weight loss journey for years.  What I am starting to see now is that I will never truly be ready so why am I still waiting?  Just last week, I wrote to Melanie that I needed to be in the right “mindset” before I could get started!  What I see now is that by just doing it, by just getting started, the actions I need to take will put me in the right mindset! Most importantly, what I see now is that making change is hard work and our brain is pre-wired to protect ourselves from hard work.  Our brain doesn’t want us to be uncomfortable.  Therefore, it will try to talk me out of everything that I need to do in order to lose weight successfully.  Also, I am never going to feel like doing the things I know I should do (eat healthfully, plan meals, go for a run, workout) but I just have to put on my big girl panties and do it anyway.  After all without hard work, there is no reward. So instead of thinking about things, I have to just start doing.  And the best way to do that (according to both Robbins’ and coach Melanie), is to do it one day at a time.  Every time my instinct kicks in to do something healthy, I have to get my ass in gear and do it before my mind takes over and talks me out of it!  I have to parent myself, tell myself no, and just do what needs to be done. The best part of all this is if I do the actions that I need to do, the positive, happy, self-loving mindset that I thought I needed to get started, will develop all on it’s own!  Wow!

One last thing about all this.  I couldn’t help but think of a Weight Watchers leader I had years ago.  At the time, I knew I loved her approach, I just didn’t understand why.  Every week at our regular meeting, she would tell us what we had to do.  “Eat your fruit and vegetables.” “Drink your water”.  “Move every day”.  Now I realize that her no-nonsense approach is what helped me to be so successful.  She didn’t give us a choice. She didn’t give us time to think about things, she simply told us to Just Do It.  

My Newest (and most Important) Reason to Get Healthy!

I feel like I’ve made a revelation of sorts recently.  In fact, it’s one that’s so huge, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to figure it out.  It seems like something I should have realized years ago, but somehow I missed the boat.  It’s taken me almost twenty years to realize this:

Nutrition and exercise are directly related to mental health.

As I said, it seems so obvious that I can’t believe I never really saw or understood that before.  I mean, sure I’ve read it and heard it, but it’s never hit home for me until now.

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For me, losing weight was always about looking good.  It was about trying to meet some kind of ideal of “healthy” and “thin” which I always, always linked with beautiful, sexy, successful.  For years the desire to be those things was enough to make me want to lose weight.  But something has shifted in my life and although I still want to be beautiful, sexy, and successful, those things in themselves don’t seem to be enough to motivate me to put in the hard work that it takes to lose weight and maintain it.

So I’ve been struggling.  I haven’t been able to find the inspiration and the motivation to get back on the wagon.  Terrible eating habits and nights on the couch in my PJs are my daily routine again.

Also part of my daily routine, especially at this time of year, are a major lack of motivation, incredible feelings of laziness, always, always feeling exhausted, and some feelings of anxiety, overwhelmness, and hopelessness.  Not to mention headaches, bloating, gas and a multitude of digestive problems.  Ugh.

Why did it take me so long to link the two?

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For the first time, in my decades-long journey of weight loss, I have finally found a source of inspiration that I believe could be a real turning point in my life.   It’s like a giant, golden light bulb has gone off and what I have been looking for for years, is suddenly here, loud and clear.

I have a new, and significant, reason to want to eat better and exercise. Because now I know that doing those two things will impact my life in ways I may have experienced but never really understood before.  Fueling my body with healthy foods and exercising won’t just make me “skinny” and “self-confident”, it will directly impact my mental health and in essence, my overall life.

It will give me energy again.  It will give me the fuel I need to make it through the day.  It will alleviate my headaches and prevent me from feeling so tired by 4 p.m that I don’t want to do anything but bury myself under a blanket and never come out or cry. It will help to heal my digestive issues, build physical strength to prevent achy legs and hips, and take away the bloating and gas I so often deal with.  It will improve my self-confidence and drive me to want to improve other areas of my life.  It will fill me with positive self-talk and help me to be kinder, more gentle, and more patient with others – all things I want so desperately in my life but often don’t have the energy for.

I still can’t believe I never understood this before! 

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Many times my husband has told me that he thought I was “happier” during the few years in my life when I had met my goal weight, was working out like crazy, and eating on plan.  For so long, I disagreed with him.  I even wrongly perceived his comment. I took it as his way of saying that he prefers me to be skinny rather than overweight. I would shrug off his comment with the argument that I am just as happy now as I was back then.

But now I finally realize what he meant.  It doesn’t mean that I am unhappy now.  It’s just that the habits I had established then had such a direct impact on all aspects of my life.  It’s that eating well and working out regularly affects you in so many ways that I didn’t even realize it.  Yes, it’s possible to be happy without diet and exercise in your life, but it’s so much easier to be happy with those things.

For the last several months I have wallowed in self-pity and guilt. I have felt discouraged and was searching desperately for reasons to justify my lack of healthy eating and working out.  And now I can so clearly see that all that was doing was bringing more negativity into my life.

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So finally, finally, finally I feel like I have found my motivation again.  I have always known that eating healthy foods and exercising is important but I just couldn’t find the inspiration to do it.  Now that it is so obvious to me the direct impact they have on my mental health (and overall well-being) it doesn’t seem so daunting.  And although a new year is just around the corner, and it’d be so easy to say I’ll just start then, this new reason to want to get healthy doesn’t seem like something that can wait.   It needs to happen now.  And I can’t wait to get started!

 

Hot and Miserable: Why Being Overweight in the Summer Sucks

Well it’s been a rough couple of weeks in the “back on track” department.  I haven’t exactly been eating on plan and have been slacking big-time with my workouts.  But today, something happened that has me re-motivated and ready to get back on track, again.

Before I tell you what happened today, let me take you back to a day last summer when I experienced a pretty big wake-up call.  My husband and I were on our annual trip to Toronto to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  Our hotel was located about a 20-30- minute walk from the Rogers Centre where we were going to see our favourite team, the Toronto Blue Jays.  Upon arrival at the hotel, we were notified that the elevators were broken and we’d have to carry our luggage up several flights of steep stairs.  This task was so difficult for me (because I had allowed myself to get so incredibly out of shape) that my husband ended up having to carry all of our luggage, while I still struggled to make it up the stairs.  After that fiasco, we set out on foot to head to the Blue Jays game.  Well it was a 40-degree day admist the concrete jungle of Toronto where the humidity rises to well above the actual temperature.  In the air-conditioned comfort of our hotel room, I had foolishly chosen to wear dark denim capris, sandals, and my Jays jersey (made from extremely heavy, non-breathable material!) Let me get to the point, and say that that walk was torture.  I started sweating immediately upon stepping foot outside.  I could feel sweat dripping from everywhere – making my hairline wet, rolling down my back, and soaking my clothes.  I felt terrible.  I hate being hot and throughout that entire walk I was so miserable.  Once we arrived, I made my husband force his way through the packed Jays shop in hopes of finding a lightweight tank I could fit into.  Unfortunately the crowds inside made my condition even more unbearable and we finally opted to just find our seats, which thankfully, were in the shade.

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All smiles even after I sweated my way to the stadium!

The whole point of this is to say that this experience was a major wake-up call for me.  Summers are hard when you are overweight and out of shape.  Sweating from everywhere makes you feel gross (and you’re probably already struggling with self-acceptance, as I was) and the heat caused by excess body fat, simply makes you miserable. I realized then that had I not let myself get so out of shape both climbing the stairs at the hotel, and walking on a hot summer day, would not have been such miserable tasks.  This revelation, of course, just made me feel more miserable as I began wallowing in frustration and disappointment.

So what does all this have to do with today?  So far it’s been a decent spring.  We’ve had plenty of 20-degree days where it feels amazing to be outside and it makes me feel excited for summer.  But what day did my husband and I choose to leave all of our outside jobs to?  The hottest day of the spring so far.  Today it was 30-degrees and just doing the simplest job (ie. Washing patio furniture) was completely exhausting.  The heat felt unbearable and I wanted nothing more to escape it.  This was frustrating because I had intended to get a whole lot of work done outside today (our yard always needs it badly after a long winter) but I just couldn’t take the heat.  Once again, I came to realize that if I wasn’t so overweight and was eating better and working out more regularly, these sort of tasks probably wouldn’t be so arduous.

But instead of being angry with myself this time (which I am trying hard not to do – although it isn’t easy), I am trying to take this reminder of that terrible day last summer and let it be my motivation.  I am tired of being so miserably hot and out of shape in the summer.  I am tired of not having enough energy and suffering headaches due to bad eating habits.

As of today, our annual Toronto trip is about 10 weeks away. That’s 10 weeks to change my diet and get back to working out.  It’s only been three weeks since I fell off track of my latest attempt and I am determined not to let these three weeks off the wagon become three months.  I understand that I won’t always be “perfect”, but I also have to realize when something needs  to be done, and do something about it.

So, I’m starting with soccer practice tonight.  It’s still extremely hot out and I haven’t played in several years, so I am fully expecting this practice to be brutal.  But I am going to honour where my body is at today, and I am going to push it just a little past where it comfortably wants to go.  That, and I am going to drink lots, and lots, and lots of water.  Wish me luck, I am certainly going to need it!

Staying True to You: The Key to Real Success

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I was thinking about weight loss today (haha, what else is new?) when a pretty significant realization came to me suddenly – the key to losing weight is obviously eating healthfully and exercising.  But there’s more to it than just that.  What’s really and truly key in successfully losing weight is that each person has to find the ways of doing it that best suit them as an individual.

This realization came to me as I was thinking about the bombardment of messages we receive regularly about the “best” way to lose weight.  Every day in the news, in the media, online, and from our family/friends/co-workers (and sometimes perfect strangers) there is contradicting information about the “right” way to get fit and lose weight.  You’ve likely heard it before:  cut carbs, avoid carbs, drink smoothies, try juicing, eat more protein, never skip breakfast, don’t eat after 7pm, cut sugar, detox, use supplements, don’t drink your calories, go gluten-free, become a vegan, join Weight Watchers, track your calories, keep a food journal, use an app, see a nutritionist, drink more water, eat clean, eat only organic… The list goes on and on.

But it’s not just nutrition – the same contradictory messages are given about fitness too.  Lift heavy, do more cardio, start jogging, work out at home, go for a walk, take the stairs, track your fitness, wear a heart rate monitor, get 10,000 steps……. The same kind of endless advice that’s given to us about what we should (or shouldn’t) eat is given to us about how we should (or shouldn’t) exercise in order to successfully lose weight and keep it off.

 

To someone who’s new to their weight loss journey, these messages can be overwhelming and confusing.  They can make you constantly second guess if what you’re doing is right, discourage or frustrate you, and can even prevent some people from getting started.

But what I’m beginning to realize is that out of the myriads of tips, suggestions, tricks, hints, and ideas about eating right and exercising, there is only one true key to success –  out of all the advice and information that’s out there, you have to figure out what works best for you.

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There’s no one recipe of success for everybody.  What works for some won’t necessarily work for others.   You have to find the things that you enjoy (that goes for food and exercise), the things that suit your lifestyle, and the things that work best with your schedule.  You have to find the things that interest you, motivate you, and energize you.

If you don’t do this, and simply try to follow one specific program handed to you by someone else, you may be setting yourself up for failure.  That’s not to say that there aren’t wonderful programs or advice out there (I am a tried-and-true believer in Weight Watchers, for example).  But no matter what plan you follow, I do believe you need to make it your own by following the things that work for you and forgetting about the things that don’t.

So how do you figure out what works best for you?  It’s all about experimentation.  Try new foods and recipes.  Give smoothies or juicing a shot.  Cut back on carbs and increase your protein.  Try cutting back on sugar.  Attempt a new type of exericse.  Join a sport or running club.  Even if it takes a lot of trial and error, you will eventually find what works for you.  And once you do, stick with it for as long as it suits you.  If you need to make changes, you’ll know when and what changes to make.  But no matter what, don’t let somebody else tell you what your body needs.  Take their advice, consider it, test it out, and then you decide.  Because nobody knows what you need more than you.  By staying true to you, you’re sure to find success.

 

 

 

 

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?