We’ve taken to watching Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix recently and one particular episode titled “This Diet is Bananas” had a panel discussion that really got me thinking about how I’m tackling this lifestyle change, as well as how I’m dealing with the physical exhaustion and the lack of motivation that I’ve been feeling lately. The fact is, despite my positivity about moving forward I have been slacking a bit lately and while I’d say I’ve not fallen off the wagon, I’m definitely hanging off the edge.
On the panel the psychologist and the fitness coach had a bit of a disagreement about motivation; particularly about whether or not it was enough for people to change their bodies in a way that they want. The psychologist’s view was that motivation and will power do not last and while we can put our energy into these things, the fact is that even if we resist the bowl of M&M’s for a few minutes, hours or even days, eventually we’re going to put our hands into the bowl and undo everything our will power had done. This view is quite defeatist and suggests there is only so much we can change about our bodies since a large portion of weight (they suggest 70 some percent) comes from genetics and how you were raised.
The fitness coach on the other hand suggested that it is her motivation that gets her up every morning to work her ass off in the gym so she can maintain the way she looks (which was amazing by the way) and that doing that lets her know that sometimes she can give in and have a few M&Ms without undoing her progress.
The big part of me that wants to change my body sides with the fitness coach of course, because the other side very much leaves me with no chance of ever seeing the major changes I want to. But I do believe there is a lesson in what the psychologist says, and it’s something that I’m quick to remind other people of but still seem forget myself and that is that motivation is not a constant.
I don’t know about all of you, but I do not wake up every day pumped to work out and totally excited to be drenched in sweat. Many days it would be easier to lay in bed, to eat whatever you want, and to not worry about what you’re doing with your body. But other days we count every calorie, we put our all into a HIIT routine, and we truly do take care of ourselves. Some days you will feel ready to conquer the world and some days you will wish you could get off of it. That’s normal and I think it’s important to remember that.
I’m six months into this journey and I will admit I am really struggling right now. I’m finding it harder to meal plan and even more difficult to peel myself off the couch for a workout. Juggling my jobs has made me tired all the time and so it’s hard to find motivation to exhaust myself further when I’d really just like to take a nap. But rather than give up I’ve decided it’s time to relearn some of the lessons that helped me push through the hard parts in the beginning. Those lessons have brought me here to a place where I dropped a pant size and my clothes fit better over all. Sticking with these lessons has allowed me to become stronger and to see changes in my body that I didn’t know were possible. I believe these lessons can help me keep going if I just take the time to remember them. Maybe this will be a good reminder for some of you who are struggling as well, or it could even be a starting place for those who are about to jump in.
While I’ve learned many lessons over the past six months, there are three that really came to mind when writing this post:
Stay hydrated and be mindful of what you eat – I really believe that slacking off on my water intake has played a big part in why I’ve expired in the middle of workouts that I used to blast through. That, combined with the lack of tracking I’ve done with my food has meant my diet has not been as good which could be playing into my sluggishness. I had got to the point where I was doing fine without tracking but then I started to slip up so I think it’s time to go back to writing everything down to help myself stay accountable. Old habits of eating everything and anything can be a lot harder to break than you ever imagine but I find writing things down or tracking things through an app has always made it a bit easier to stay on track.
(This is not an advertisement for VOSS: that’s tap water, I just like the bottle)
One bad day doesn’t have to be a bad week – This is the lesson I definitely forgot this month. I missed a couple of workouts and then I more or less said “what’s the point?”. It was silly of me and I’m definitely paying for it.The same issue came up with eating where one slip up would turn into a week of bad habits. I’ve just got to remember that reaching into that bowl of M&Ms doesn’t mean I’ve failed, I just have to make sure I’m not doing it every single day. While I’m not about to lose all of my progress or anything, I have noticed certain workouts that I was doing regularly before take a bit more effort. I’ve got to train myself back up to the point where I was and then keep pushing. It’s why I’ve made a July calendar that is a little more balanced with light beginner workouts and some more challenging ones: all of which I have tried before.
Work yourself up to the harder challenges – I personally think this is why my June workout calendar failed. Some of the workouts (particularly the Fitness Blender Boot Camp) were too far past my comfort zone. It’s good to challenge yourself, to push past your limits a little bit so you’ll change but you don’t want to jump too far. I’ve said this about walking and of course it applied to workouts too. Choose a difficultly that makes you work but doesn’t make you want to vomit or pass out. I’ve made a new calendar for July that goes a bit easier on me and also lets me workout with Matt (on the days with the hearts) I’m hoping this will allow both of us to work up to some harder workouts again.
(Calendar template from The Girl Creative)
I’ve learned many more lessons over the past six months but these are the three that I’m really focusing on now that we’re into month seven. These are the things that I think will help me push through. We learn a lot in our lives but I think sometimes we forget to go back and review the material. We might have a vague memory of the lesson but if we’re not reminding ourselves of it after some time it may fade away. Take time to think about the things you’ve learned. It doesn’t have to be health or weight loss focused, it could be about anything really. It’s important to remind ourselves of the valuable lessons we’ve been taught, they’re what make our lives better.
If you’re struggling with something, anything at all, don’t beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself and take it slow. Even if you have to take a few steps back before you can move forward that’s okay. You are a work of art, one that no one could ever dream of recreating. Treat yourself well.