No one sets out to ruin their body and feel crappy all the time. Yet it happens to a lot of us. We put on a few pounds and then a few more before we realize our pants are not buttoning so easily anymore. Then the guilt, judgement and criticism set in within our own minds and maybe from those around us too, that we have let ourselves go. Then comes the horrid idea of needing to shop for the next size or two up for something to wear that fits better these days. It seems like a vicious circle where we only end up bigger and in a smaller circle.
I certainly don’t enjoy trying to squeeze into my clothes and then feeling like I can’t breathe or move in them. For a few years I refused to wear shorts outside of the house when I had to go somewhere. My legs were once one of my best features. Carrying my tall 6 foot frame they were long, lean and pretty. Now they were round tubs carrying my equally tubby body. I was embarrassed and would change into at least capris or preferably jeans to hide them when I had to run an errand. I had taken to hiding a lot of my body in black, floral, or anything I could to play off hiding the rolls.
There would be times I would get mad at myself about it. I would set off using the treadmill we have at home, buying low carb foods and swearing this was it this time! Then I would get busy at work, not have time to prepare food or workout and soon it would be right back to where I was. I didn’t have the energy to keep up with everything and my needs were down the list. All this talk about self-care sounds nice but when you try to fit it into reality and have it actually feel good to do that doesn’t always work out. Most of the time it just ends up leaving me more exhausted and stressed trying to cram it in on top of everything else.
I even tried getting up at 5AM to workout. This lasted about 3 months where every other day I would get up, dressed and go walk on our treadmill. There I was passing the coffee maker on my way to the treadmill while it was still dark and cold out all to say I had completed my workout that day. It would get easier I heard though I never found that to be true for me. Then when I saw the scale didn’t move I stopped getting up that early to workout. I don’t consider myself one who needs instant returns but I figured after 3 months something would be different.
If you could do it on your own, you would right? There would be results of your effort to mark progress. This is the line a lot of trainers, health services and diet products will say to you in an effort to get you to sign up with them. You need help with it. Maybe and maybe not. I have found it is not so much discipline we need as love and grace with ourselves. Most of us rebel at the idea of more restriction and discipline in our lives, I sure as hell do. If you want to help me, then applying restrictions and tsk’ing me when I fail at them is the quickest way to have me give up. It is the reason I think a lot of us give up on the gyms, trainers, products and services all aimed at supposedly helping us.
The truth is, it is up to us. No one can do this for us and there is not a magic pill, drink, diet or exercise routine that will give us those results. This is about us, inside and out. The relationship we have with our body and the unifying of our mind and body to work together for our health. Hiding my legs under jeans in 100 degree weather because I am ashamed is abusive. The same is true of depriving my body of food when I’m clearly hungry for the sake of sticking to some ridiculous diet that leaves me hungry. What we need to succeed at the obesity game is ourselves aligned in doing what it is right for ourselves.
The pressure of losing weight on top of a stressful life seems like just one more thing we will never get to on our to-do list. I realized it was why I kept failing at diets and keeping up with exercising. It also didn’t work to call it self-care because that immediately went to the bottom of the list whenever something else became urgent. The truth was I needed something that fit my life with the ups and downs that occur daily. It needed to wrap around my emotions of when I was tired and stressed out too. Adding on a workout when I’m tired and feeling low on energy isn’t going to be something I’m motivated to keep up with it, let’s just be honest. The answer lied in my mind.
Turning off that negative self-talk is harder than any exercise I will ever do with my body. Accepting who I am at any size and uncovering my body belly, thick thighs and flabby arms is incredibly tough. As we work to improve ourselves it is very easy to slip back into that judgement of what we think we should be able to do or what results we should be seeing. That mind work will never end until we are aligned in grace of who we are as a whole person. That is where I think most trainers, diet and health products and services fail too as they only focus on the body.
Getting my mind to feel my best regardless of my size leads to the motivation to grab cucumbers over chips or put in 30 minutes on the treadmill after work. Accepting that I’m more than a number on the scale or tag size in my pants is still a challenge but focusing on my mind has helped steer the emphasis to where it matters most. When I feel as good as I can, I’m more inclined to make the healthier decisions that can help improve my waistline. When I focus on my body first my mind is only there judging and tearing down anything I’m doing.
The work of getting healthy, dropping the weight and even sticking to a diet comes from the top of our body in our body, not our belly. Like most things in life it is when we look up we realize the bigger perspective. That viewpoint gives us the advantage to make a lot in our life possible and obtainable.
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