We’ve all done it. Set a goal and when that goal doesn’t happen fast enough we use willpower, self-discipline and force to speed things along.
Trouble is this completely negates our efforts. Let me explain.
At the age of 16, I embarked on my first diet. Back then it was the low-fat craze with every kind of cookie and cake available without any fat. Never mind the massive sugar content, all I cared about was the fat. The idea that I could still feed my sugar addiction while eating my favorite foods AND lose weight made me giddy with joy. Back then it was drilled into our subconscious mind that eating fat made you fat and things like butter and meat were the cause for all our health problems. Back then we were told that our diet needed to be grain-based, and that essentially our ancestors had it all wrong.
Overnight I became a vegetarian and embarked on a strict workout regime.
As was typical for me back then, I plowed ahead, full throttle, into a low-fat vegetable-based diet, along with weight training and cardio workouts several times per week.
Then, when I didn’t see results fast enough, I eliminated fat, decreased calories, and increased my workouts to two times per day.
At 16 going on 17, I held steady for a while. I lost a lot of weight at first and this made me very happy, so I continued to push myself.
As expected, after several months, my energy plummeted. I also lost my period and became more and more depressed. At the time, I didn’t understand the connection between being thin and being healthy. All I cared about was how fast I could lose more weight and look good in my jeans.
Unfortunately, this set me up for a really painful relationship with food and my body where I ate compulsively and binged or denied myself of food altogether. As I got older, I developed hypothyroidism, digestive problems, skin problems, sleep disturbances, and many other ailments, but one thing remained.
I had to be thin.
Is this thought process familiar to you?
If so, I’m here to encourage you to rethink this strategy because in truth, it’s the little steps that you take every day that matter most. It’s swapping out coffee and a scone in the morning for a nourishing smoothie or going on a walk after you get home from work. At first this may seem trivial, but over time what begins to happen is that you start to appreciate yourself more, and when you appreciate yourself more you want to make self-care a priority.
What starts out as a smoothie turns into a salad with chicken for lunch, and then baked veggies with salmon for dinner. Then you decide to join a gym and take some classes. Then you decide you want to be strong so you lift weights. In other words, you build confidence in who you are and what you want out of life and that energy draws in what you want. Then it becomes less about being thin, and more about being healthy and loving your body exactly as you are. Right now. Today.
These days, I revel in the many wonderful things my body can do from walking around the grocery store to starting a new weight training program at the gym. My focus is no longer on being thin and getting there as fast as possible. Today, I’m in awe of how strong and healthy I’ve become. Today, I really appreciate the journey and look forward to the blessings that are to come.
Can you do that?
In the comments below I want to know:
1. What can you do to incorporate more self-care into your life?
2. Can you step back and take inventory of patterns that may not be serving you?