So let me explain the title of this post some.
For a couple years I was very focused on my physical process when it came to the gym. Sure, I cared about living a healthy lifestyle but what does that really mean? Now I would say that living a healthy lifestyle is one that is truly balanced in all aspects–mental, emotional, physical. When I first started working out though, I was very much focused on the physical. So much so that I started to neglect the other elements. I would see other transformations online, or other women who were very “fit” and think–I want to look that way.
I learned quickly that in order to have a certain physique you have to be very disciplined. So that’s what I did. I’d workout 6x a week, and have my one cheat meal a week. And each week it was always a stress of–what if someone asks me to go out to eat more than once? What if there aren’t any super healthy options at a restaurant? Or I’ve already had a glass of wine this week, I should’t have another one. My life started to revolve around my workouts and my eating routine. But hey, I was super lean and had great abs and that’s what I wanted right?
This mindset of mine shifted Christmas 2016. I remember being stressed the few days I was home and out of my routine, Christmas dinner, and just in general the food around the holidays and not being as “on track”, etc. I was standing in front of my mirror ready to take a progress picture to see how my body had changed after being out of my strict routine for a couple weeks and I thought to myself’– “Is this what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life?” For the rest of my life am I going to be taking progress photos? Am I going to be so stressed about holidays and vacations that it takes the enjoyment out of them? Am I going to be panicked if I go out with friends more than 1x a week? It was in that moment that I was like, what am I doing?! This is ridiculous. This is not how I want to live the rest of my life; this is not sustainable or enjoyable. Like I’m doing all this to myself just for the sake of being leaner?
Now I’m not saying that you should say “fuck it!” and never exercise or take care of your body. But my point is that unless your competing there isn’t a reason to be so hard and strict on yourself. Yes, it’s great to have fitness and health goals but if it’s stressing you out instead of bringing you enjoyment and furthering your quality of life then you need to take a step back and reevaluate.
And I get it. It can be hard looking at people who are in really good shape and may dedicate their life to their training and nutrition. And I think when looking at those people it can be easy to forget that it is their life. Staying fit is their job, but it’s not ours–so our everyday actions when it comes to fitness and health are not going to be exactly like theirs. I started to ask myself though: when I look in the mirror at myself and not compare my body to others–am I happy? And if the answer is yes, then I’m good with it.
Like now for example, I look in the mirror and I know my physique “suffers” a little bit because I am more lenient with macros, I drink wine, and I don’t usually workout 6x a week anymore but you know what? I’m more than okay with that. I am happy with not only how I look but my life as a whole. There are plenty of other things beside my physical body that bring me happiness. Fitness is a priority in my life but I also now am much more focused on the health aspect as well; workouts can be a priority for you without being the only priority.
Anyway, this is just my two cents! I too often see women on social media so stressed about their physical appearance that they let it consume their entire life. I’ve been there and I get it. And I’m here to tell you that your overall quality of life will be much better when you allow yourself some grace and force yourself to adopt a more balanced approach. It’s definitely not easy at first because you have to train your mind to view your body and health in a different light. But you will get there! I promise! xx C