Midway through summer, I found my weight loss motivation had all but disappeared. I could blame it on the time of year, and the fact the kids were out of school and I could never find time for myself, but that’s not true. In fact, if anything, I have more time in the summer because my work load drops off drastically. If you’re one of my regular followers, you might have noticed I wasn’t around much for a while.
Life was hard — my responsibilities, my job, my relationships, my workout plan, my clean eating “diet,” finances, blah, blah, blah. I wasn’t sure I could handle everything on my plate, and I used that as an excuse to give up on myself.
Slowly, unhealthy habits started creeping back in. I found my mind resorting to all of my old mantras. “I’ve already messed up today, so I might as well enjoy myself.” “I’ll start over on Monday.” “It’s too hard, I’ll just be happy being fat.” You know the drill. Anything to make the choices I was making feel okay. The key word there is CHOICES. I knew the choices I was making were up to me. If anything, reminding myself of that only made me feel worse. It’s my fault. I’m the one doing this to myself.
It’s a downward spiral that’s very hard to stop. At the bottom of my spiral, I was almost back up to my highest weight. Yep, eight months of hard-fought effort down the drain. You can see why I was silent for a while. How can I help and motivate all of you when I can’t even keep my own life together?
A Shift in Perspective
I had a mindset shift when I heard someone suggest asking yourself if your dieting behaviors felt controlling or supportive. I wish I could find the reference, but I don’t remember where I read it. They went on to talk about the energetic effects of doing something that felt controlling, even something like clean eating that should be good for your body. It made so much sense to me, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
I reexamined my goals and followed my own advice to start again, but start small, and most of all, to be gentle and loving with myself. I approached these changes with the mindset that I wanted my lifestyle to feel supportive and not controlling.
That being said, I am a perfectionist by nature (working on it) and I thrive on organization and structure, so I still set some goals for myself.
My New Goals
1) Workout a minimum of 3 times per week for 15 minutes. You have no idea how hard this goal was to make. Everything inside me wants to say 6 days a week for no less than 30 minutes, and at least 60 minutes whenever possible. Controlling and perfectionistic much?
2) Continue meal planning and clean eating, but with more flexibility. I previously felt like I not only had to eat exactly what I had planned, but on the exact day I had planned for it, with every meal spaced out perfectly. Anytime life happened and I didn’t follow the plan, I’d feel disappointed in myself. Looking back, I see that’s ridiculous. It doesn’t matter if I eat the chicken burrito bowl on Monday or Wednesday, right? Or if life happens and I have to stop by the drive through on the way home from work.
3) Be more present and focus on building the relationships in my life. My family is the most important thing to me, but I wasn’t living as though that was true.
3 goals. That’s it. There’s so much more I want to do, but if I do those three things, I’ve decided to be okay with that.
Honestly, it’s feels like a huge sigh of relief.
Since I had already established some healthy habits, and know a lot about what foods work well in my body and which ones don’t, it wasn’t hard to start eating clean again. The difference I feel letting go of that tight control is amazing. I’m honestly not eating a whole lot different than I was before, but if I want to eat something I love that isn’t completely clean, I do it. Because I know that I can, I find myself not wanting to as much. It’s funny how strong the psyche is and when you feel deprived or controlled, you automatically want the things you’re telling yourself you can’t have. As I let go of my control over exercise, I realized I love it and I exercise because of what it adds to my life, not because it’s going to burn calories.
I’ve lost 35 pounds in the last 3 months and worked out 76 of the last 90 days. I can honestly tell you that I’m not really doing things different than I was before, but I’ve let go of the control. Supporting myself is a new thing for me. Honestly, it feels awesome, and the fact that I’m actually seeing more progress than when I tightly controlled things is pretty enlightening.
So What Can You Do?
Ask yourself the question — Does my current eating, exercise plan, etc. feel controlling or supportive?
If it feels controlling, ask yourself why. Make a list of the ways it feels controlling. Does it take too much of your time? Does food consume your thoughts? Do you feel like you can never go out to eat without worrying about breaking your diet? Do you push through and exercise, even if you feel too tired? Do you obsessively weigh and measure foods? Do you feel guilty if you eat “off plan” or miss a workout?
Stop it! No, really. Stop!
[Tweet “Do the very best you can, in this exact moment. Then let that be enough.”]
Anytime you start to feel that controlling mindset slipping in, breathe, then ask yourself what you could do in that specific situation to feel more supported. Make the best decision you can in that moment for your physical, mental, and emotional health.
While I was in the middle of this mindset shift myself, I ran across the #wycwyc (what you can, when you can) movement online. It’s the perfect description of what I’m aiming for. A description from the #wycwyc website:
“Born from a longing to end perfectionist tendencies and the “start tomorrow” mindset, the #wycwyc movement reminds us doing what we can when we can is enough. There is no starting over, no magic day of the week, no throwing away the day.
By doing what we can when we can, we can, and WILL reach our goals.
Doing something is ALWAYS better than doing nothing and incremental shifts add up to change over time.”
So join me in the movement. Tag your instagram photos, tweets, whatever with #wycwyc and #sublimereflection so I can follow your journey away from control and toward supporting and loving yourself today, just the way you are! Because I think you’re pretty awesome!