The enemy to self-acceptance, self-assurance and self-confidence, self-sabotage can tear away hard-earned work in the gym or a healthy eating regime. It can destroy our mental and emotional health and leave friends and family wondering what happened to our so-called goals. The interesting thing is how we justify our thoughts, feelings and actions and are left in dismay at how our fitness and health regime has vanished. I will showcase some top excuses we give ourselves and offer effective suggestions on how to flee this “Frienemy” and find our fitness goals again.
“I screwed up already so I might as well……(eat the whole box of cookies, sit on the couch all day instead of going to the gym, etc).” Never allowing ourselves to fail is similar to walking on a tight rope preparing to fall. Let me explain. The less freedom we give ourselves, the more narrow and claustrophobic our steps become. If we don’t sometimes allow ourselves a cheat meal or a day or two off from the gym if we want, we are stuck holding ourselves to a fine line of perfectionistic ideals. Think of a circus performer on a tight rope. One slip and BAM! He or she falls to…hopefully a net. Now put yourself on that tight rope. How long do you think you can walk on that narrow strip before you get anxious, fearful or just plain give up? When we focus on “perfect,” that leaves us no room for fun, enjoyment or just plain relaxation. Now, that doesn’t give you license to eat a whole pizza or a take a month break from the gym just because you need to feel free. The balance is found in a once or twice a week cheat meal or a piece of candy every day. Balance is in taking one or two days a week off from the gym to rest or go to yoga or play basketball. You will know what feels “right” for your body, mind and soul – and in doing so, you will give yourself freedom to step off the tightrope and run on land.
“I do so much already, I’ve earned this…(cake, lazy time, etc).” What we assume is a reward, is actually a hindrance to our success. We do have stressful jobs, or families for whom to take care or personal issues with which to deal that make the daily grind of eating clean and working out to our max seem like a daunting daily task. So to make our self-proclaimed drudgery seem more bearable, we reward ourselves…with less drudgery. And in doing so we have accomplished something interesting. We still have the stressful jobs, families for whom to care and personal issues with which to deal. But now we get the benefit of a bigger waistline, lack of energy, spotty immune system and maybe some medical bills from doctors’ visits for your high blood pressure and cholesterol issues. By giving ourselves some slack to lessen our problem load, we have ironically tightened our leash even more by tacking on more long-term health problems.
To reward ourselves properly, we should give ourselves healthy meals and snacks, energizing cardio sessions, bone and muscle-strengthening weight-training and joint-friendly flexibility exercises. Other rewards can include getting a massage, going to the movies or taking a vacation. The added bonus? These rewards will not only lengthen your life, they will make your life feel less as a daily grind and more as a gift from God.
“Everything seems to go wrong! Why me? I guess this is just how life is for me”. This poor-man’s mentality just brings on the same. You really do attract what you think about most. If we open ourselves to new thinking, new ideas, new habits, new actions, we can completely transform our lives. Imagine a song that you used to love, it was great until the 300th time it played…in a row. Now the song that you used to love is the song from hell that you never want to hear again yet, it keeps playing in your head over and over and…you get the picture. Now the same goes for our thinking. The scenarios of “I have always been overweight,” “I always over-indulge when I go out to eat,” or “I have never been a gym person” keep playing in your head like that overplayed song. We keep these views because they are habitual. Yet, we can manifest new habits, attitudes and ideas. Begin by believing and saying to yourself: “I may have gained some extra weight but I am working toward a healthy weight now,” “I may sometimes over-indulge when I go out to eat but overall, I am a healthy eater,” and “I may not use the gym that often but I am excited to work out every week.”
When we re-train ourselves to acknowledge negative thoughts, even if they are true, and then to re-phrase them in a more positive and life-affirming light, we can admit what’s holding us back and move forward stronger than before.