When I first started my fitness journey, my primary objective was – lose all the baby weight! I was miserable looking at myself in the mirror and seeing a body that was bloated, flabby, and 22 lbs over what I had known it to be for years. It was four months after I had my son, I joined Beachbody as a coach and started working out every day, drinking Shakeology every day and working my fitness business every day.
I became FANATICAL about fitness. I mean, nuts.
If I missed a day for whatever reason, you know, because life DOES happen, I would panic and immediately start the mental chatter of, “you’ve already failed, you’re not going to see results, you’re not committed enough” and on and on. It was truly debilitating and some days I just felt like a giant bully to my inner self.
But, this was not the first time I had experienced this. This was a continuation.
This behavior was a continuation of my life-long battle with self acceptance. It was a continuation on the arduous thought patterns that derail the good intentions of an individual desperately battling with body image issues and food issues. It was the continuation of a woman who had struggled her entire life to believe she was perfectly good AS SHE WAS.
While my desire to start a fitness program came from a healthy place – lose weight, decrease depression & anxiety, learn to eat better food – the side effect was it triggering all of my previous issues around body and food. When I missed a day of fitness (mind you, I was now working out like 6/7 days a week), I would berate myself and my entire mood/attitude would sour leaving little room for joy or a desire to connect with my husband or my baby son.
It was like my entire self worth was wrapped around “being committed” to a fitness program. Does this sound familiar?
I’ve now been a coach and in a regular fitness routine for almost a year. In that year I’ve learned some incredibly invaluable insight into my relationship with self worth, self appreciation, and self care. I think the fact that I am a coach, and a huge part of my job is teaching others how to take care of themselves, really amplified this process because it brought to light all the places where I was not doing this for myself.
Just this week, I was injured TWICE doing my current program, Bodybeast. I was not being mindful enough of my movements and because this program is exclusively weight lifting, the potential for hurting oneself if you are not paying attention to how to lift is exacerbated. I pulled my shoulder and then had a swollen peroneal muscle (back of calf/heel) which resulted in a swollen ankle.
My response to this was evidence of a huge milestone in self-care and grace towards myself: I did not lift weights for three days post pulling my shoulder, had a friend of mine work on my shoulder a little bit, worked on my own shoulder while I was home (I’m also a massage therapist), and then stayed off my feet for a day after I noticed the swelling in my ankle with some ice and elevation. I didn’t panic. I didn’t berate. I rested AND I enjoyed it.
I’ve come to the realization that I don’t workout anymore because of some way I imagine I should look. I workout because of some way I really want to FEEL.
Exercise has become a natural antidote for depression and anxiety. It’s become the platform where I get to shake off negative emotion and realign with my vibration. It’s become the place where I can get my head to quiet as I focus on moving my body in very specific ways. It’s become a ritual for taking care of me that I adore.
And, when life happens, as it inevitably does, and I realize I have to take care of myself in another way, i.e. resting totally from exercise, I’ve learned to accept that as an extension of the same self-care energy that keeps me exercising in the first place. I’ve learned to remove my self-worth from the act of exercising and from the results I may or may not get. I’ve learned to enjoy the process for what it is and that means some days you push and some days you REST.
This has transformed my mental health. It has assuaged my negative self talk. It has allowed me to enjoy my life and more and to be present with whatever is instead of resisting something I feel should be different.
Nothing should ever be different than it is. Everything is always just communication. Listen. Decide. Respond. This is what coaching has become for me, a platform from which to encourage others to fall in love with the process and to learn how to self care in all ways. It’s become a medium by which I teach others that we are NOT our “results” and we are not our difficult days – we are the witness. We are consciousness. And we are always just doing our very best every single day.
Here’s to self love and self care and the perpetual joy of being alive and learning all this shit.
P.s. If you are needing support/encouragement/accountability – CONTACT me here and I’ll respond within 24-48 hours to help you find a safe space where you can receive just that. My next challenge group opening is March 27th!