Hey friends! I just realized today that it has been 2 months since my last post! I knew it had been a while, but I didn’t think it was that long. Anyway, the reason for my absence hasn’t been entirely due to laziness. I’m working on a few things to make my blog better than ever! I’ve been brainstorming some ideas and working on figuring out exactly where I want to take it. I’ve also been working on some personal development which, unfortunately, has taken up quite a bit of my time as well. Hopefully I’ll have some good news to share on that soon!
Anyway, I just wanted to pop in with a quick post on something that has really been bothering me lately. I’m noticing it more and more, especially in a few health and fitness groups I’m a part of, and I just wanted to share a little encouragement with you if you’re dealing with it as well…
Has this ever happened to you…? You’re at a friend’s birthday party having a good time, and you’ve managed to stay away from the chips, soda, and sugary treats. You’re feeling pretty good about yourself, but then they bring out the cake… and, oh great, it’s your favorite! And there’s ice cream to go with it… even better!
You engage yourself in an internal debate about whether or not you should have a piece, thinking, well maybe just a tiny slice, and I’ll only take a bite and throw away the rest. Then you get your slice and take a bite, and it’s even better than you thought, so you decide to take just one more bite, and then another, and then another, and then the whole piece is gone, and it was a little bigger than you would have cut for yourself, but that’s what they gave you, and you didn’t want to be rude.
Once you realize you’ve eaten the whole thing, you start to get down on yourself. Why couldn’t you have more self-control? You should have just stopped at one bite like you planned! As you sit there mulling over how bad you were, you start feeling a little hungry, so you make your way over to the food table. Since you’ve already blown it by eating the cake, what’s a handful (or three) of chips to go with it? You’ll just start over tomorrow.
I don’t know about you, but that scenario has happened to me more times than I’m proud to admit. You make a resolution to finally get back on track, eating only good foods, not allowing any bad foods into your diet. You vow to make it to the gym every day, not missing a single one. You’ve got a plan, and this time, you’re really going to do it… until you mess up… You cave in and eat that cookie your co-worker brought in to share and throw in the towel. You miss a work out, and that’s it… what’s the point of even trying?! *Cue bingeing on Netflix while stuffing your face with all the junk food you can find.* You’ve fallen off the wagon again. It sucks and you feel guilty, but you have hope because you’ll just start over and get back on the wagon tomorrow.
Well, it’s time to stop. It’s time to dump that wagon once and for all! Burn it to the ground and say buh-bye! Because guess what… you can’t fall off the wagon if there’s no wagon to fall off of! Whatever your specific wagon looks like, it usually consists of two parts-diet and exercise. By being too rigid or trying to conform to a plan that doesn’t really work for you, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. So how do you get rid of your wagon?
Part 1-The Diet
First, it’s time to get out of the diet mentality and find what is going to work for you. If you love carbs and don’t think you could give them up forever, don’t try to go on a low-carb diet. Sure, you’ll lose weight, but you won’t be able to stick with it long term. You’ll eventually go back to carbs, and all the weight you lost will creep back on usually bringing some friends along for the ride. Ditch the diets and start making small changes that you can stick with, and you’ll be setting yourself up for a lifetime of good choices.
Second, aside from allergies, nothing should be off limits. We need to stop assigning morality to food! Food is neither good nor bad; it’s just food. Yes, there are some foods that are healthier and some that are less healthy, but that doesn’t make them good or bad, and it doesn’t make you good or bad for eating them. Depriving yourself of foods that you truly enjoy just because they are less healthy doesn’t make you good; it just makes you feel deprived! I firmly believe there is room in any diet for any food as long as you work it into your plan.
On a personal note, I’ve always fallen into assigning morality to foods. I’ve always known which foods were “good” and which ones were”bad.” I’ve tried for years to get myself to stop liking and wanting the “bad” foods to no avail. I’d force myself to stop eating them, and then I’d become obsessed with them. Obviously this is not a normal and healthy relationship with food. Over the last few months, I’ve learned to stop assigning morality to food, and it has been so freeing!
I’ve opened my mind to the fact that I can eat anything I want as long as I make room for it in my diet, and now I find that I just don’t want all the junk I used to eat as much. I don’t get anxiety when someone brings in a treat at work because I know that I can either have some or not have some, and either option is okay. I have made room in my diet to include foods that are less healthy (hello daily ice cream cone! 😉 ), and I’m actually losing weight a lot more easily!
Just as with food, it’s time to get out of our disordered thinking patterns when it comes to exercise. It’s time we stop thinking of exercise as a chore that we have to do in order to lose weight or as a punishment for when we missed the mark in our diet. Exercising is so good for your body in so many ways, and it’s something that we should all be doing every day in some form or another as a way to love ourselves. You just need to find what works for you.
I don’t know about you, but, personally, I hate going to the gym. I hate driving across town to work out in a room with a bunch of other people. To me, this is the worst, but I used to force myself to do it because this is what I thought serious exercising was all about. I would go for a while and then start making excuses for why I couldn’t go. Once I stopped going, I’d feel guilty about not going and get down on myself for being a failure. Then a few months ago, I rediscovered Pilates.
I used to love Pilates back when I was in high school. I’d get up early before school and get a quick 20 minute workout in because it made me feel good, and I enjoyed it. Then over the years, I stopped doing it and fell into the thinking that in order for it to really count as exercise, it had to be done in the gym. Since I hated going to the gym, I just stopped working out.
Now I’m back to Pilates, and I love it! Admittedly, when I first started out, it was hard to get back into the routine. Because it was something I used to be so good at, I felt frustrated because I couldn’t do a lot of the moves I had been able to do years ago, but I stuck with it and got over the initial hump. It turned into a habit, and now I do it because it’s something that I enjoy that makes me feel good. I’ve even gotten to the point that I look forward to getting my workout in… something I never thought would happen.
So what’s your Pilates? Maybe it’s running or Zumba or hula-hooping (or Pilates)! Sometimes it takes some trial and error to figure out what it is that you enjoy, but once you figure it out, it will be so worth it! Don’t force yourself to do something you hate because there are hundreds of different ways to get your exercise in and you just have to find the one(s) that works for you. And remember that missing one workout does not make you a failure!
Life is all about choices. When it comes to diet and exercise, you can make healthier choices and less healthy choices. When you make a less healthy choice, own your decision. Don’t get down on yourself about it. It doesn’t make you a bad person or a failure. It just means that in that moment, the less healthy option is the one that felt right for you. We can’t be perfect 100% of the time, so as long as most of your choices are on the healthier side, you’ll be doing just fine! 🙂
If you’ve struggled with getting on and falling off the wagon numerous times or finally found a way to get off of it for good, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share your story in the comments below to get or provide some encouragement!