For the past few weeks, I’ve been talking about my personal journey with finding a way to eat and move my body that now comes from a place of LOVE and not HATE. I spent way too many decades bullying my body into submission with food restriction, bingeing and over exercise. For a really long fucking time, I made myself believe that I did these things out of love for myself; out of my passion for being a competitive athlete and for wanting to show my ability to push through and grind the hardest and last the longest.
It was all emotional distraction. Me running away from feelings of things that I hadn’t been ready to face HEAD ON. Most people use drugs, sex, alcohol and food as their outlet. I used both food and exercise, but in a way that my distraction was disguised as being and doing all the things that were really really good for me.
If someone could hear my inside voice of all the hateful things I would tell myself and all the negative reinforcement I would force myself to thrive off of, they would be shocked. As I now Coach women about their own inner critic, I always find myself asking them this: “Is the way you talk to yourself, the same way you would talk to your child or a loved one?”
I stopped focusing on the outcome. I used to be obsessed with getting to a specific weight and size. When I made the switch to stop that and focus instead on how I performed and how I felt, truly, deeply, my body slowly changed. It literally was a change from the inside out.
I stop demonizing food and I stopped hanging around with people who did the same. I had to unlearn my brain washing that gluten was bad for me. Fruit was bad. Carbs were bad. I stopped telling myself old stories like “my body can’t have carbs and I can only lose weight if I do a lot of cardio.”
I started to eat in smaller meals in specific macro ratios. I kept myself fed and fueled every 2-3 hours. I had to learn how to not OVER EAT. I had to learn to sit with feeling cravings versus being legit hungry. I had to unlearn how to satisfy my anxiousness and my loneliness not with food but with other coping mechanisms that had nothing to do with eating or killing myself in in the gym.
I had to create a list of progress drivers (WINS) specific to me that I could rely on in any given moment so that I would not resort to punishing myself when I wasn’t hitting marks as my old mindset thought they should be. I used to think I was only worthy and successful if I was losing weight and metrics steadily. I learned this is far from the truth. I used to think I was only being good enough or working hard enough if I was able to consistently add weight to my lifts each week. I again learned that my idea (thoughts) and the reality (facts) often do not align. I thought that I was only doing epic shit if I was doing big races or chasing a weight loss goal. And then I realized that chasing something outside of yourself is never the answer to long term health, enjoyment and sustainable habits.
We are so hard on ourselves and if we can’t be kind to ourselves first, we will always drift towards the methods that only reinforce how we feel on the inside.
Progress will always look different for all of us. Progress will be different on any given day. Having a progress driver check list is a nice reminder that says “Hey, you are winning despite XXX. Keep going!”
View your progress as a continuous circle. Sometimes progress for you will be increasing your lifts in the gym. Sometimes it will be getting to the gym in the first place. Other times progress is reducing weight when you aren’t feeling good so you focus on tempo and technique. Progress can be saying no to pizza on one day and then having pizza on another day. Sometimes progress will be getting in your steps with your kids. And other times, progress will be not hitting your steps because your kid needed you. Once you have your progress drivers list, you can embrace the ups and downs of not only food and fitness, but in life in general!
Live, laugh and be happy! Focus on the things that bring you joy! And remember, look back often so you can remember just how far you’re come! Ask yourself, “How can I be a little bit better today?” And that babe, is beyond enough!