Each day I try to eat healthy, make good choices, and workout. I’ve logged calories, kept a food journal, religiously stepped on the scale… I’ve done it all. And you know what? It MAKES ME MISERABLE. I feel like I’ve become a slave to my nutrition/eating habits. I’m constantly feeling bad about myself if I have a small handful of candy corn at my desk during the day instead of eating the banana that I packed from home. I get depressed if I miss a workout at the gym. I become self-conscious on vacation because I didn’t workout for 4 days. When I’m at my skinniest – I’m hungry all the time and I’m grumpy. When I’m not at this point, I’m upset that I let myself be so lazy in my workouts and nutrition and begin on my strict intake of food…. and so the cycle begins again. While talking to my best friend the other day, I had a mini revelation: THIS IS NO WAY TO LIVE.
Am I suggesting that I fall off the wagon and go hog wild? Absolutely not. But I do think there is a point where taking it to the extreme can have an impact on your well-being. Sometimes I wonder if I put unrealistic goals on myself. For being 29 years-old, I am by far in the best shape of my life. I have gotten down to 14% body fat which is FANTASTIC but instead of focusing on that achievement, I get hung up on the fact that I can’t see my abs. Stupid, I know. I read an article by Jen Comas Keck who talked about being careful what you wished for in terms of your body. She mentioned that some people have to get down to some seriously low body fat percentages in order for you to see abdominal muscles while others can be displayed at a higher percentage. I’m guessing I’m in that first group, lucky me. In order for me to get down that far, I need to do some serious alterations on my workouts and nutrition. I’d have to give up some of the things I really love. But here’s the thing. I’m a full-time teacher, I hold 3 side jobs, and I’m a wife who needs to hold down the home front. I don’t have time to train the way I need to in order to look like the models on Fitness Magazine or Women’s Health. And really, why do I need to? I’m not training for a fitness competition. I’m not a fitness model. I’m just me and I’m perfectly okay with that.
Moral of the story – be healthy. Workout your body 3-5 days a week (what you can realistically fit in your schedule). If you can’t always hit your goal, that is okay. The point is, you’re going and that’s more than some people. Eat relatively clean (meaning no processed food). Does this mean you can’t indulge of that pumpkin scone from Starbucks? No, but don’t do it every day and don’t beat yourself up when you do. You only live life once, so you might as well enjoy it while you are here. If you have a banging body but your are miserable, are you really enjoying life? And the bottom line? Be positive and focus on your accomplishments. Instead of looking at what else you could improve upon, look at how far you’ve come.
For me – I ran 13.1 miles when one year ago I said I hated running. I’ve lowered by body fat percentage. I’m eating better (but with some indulgences here and there). And I am me and there is no one else in the world like me. When I am having an off day, I need to look in the mirror and remind myself of how truly amazing I am.
So next time you’re having an off day, go ahead and remind yourself of all the great things you are and all the great things you’ve done, big or small. It’s okay to give yourself a little love even if you don’t think you deserve it.
If you want to check out that article – you can read it here: Looking “Fit” Doesn’t Mean Being Healthy