Recently, I had a break from fitness. I was moving house, and life got in the way. I went from getting up at 5am everyday to work out, to not working out at all.
I stopped watching what I was eating and started eating crap again. A bad day turned into a bad week. A bad week turned into a bad month. Before I knew it, months had passed with barely a workout or a decent meal.
I had previously started tracking what weights I was lifting, which meant I could see the progress I was making. Sadly, it also meant I could see how far I had slipped back too. As I stood in the gym, struggling to lift the same weight I had lifted with ease a few weeks ago I was reminded of a saying I had seen on fitness motivation memes; if you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.
I didn’t mean to give up; and actually, when I think about it, I gave up because I was trying too hard. When I got busy and life meant I couldn’t follow the plan perfectly, my ‘all or nothing’ personality led me to give up. If I couldn’t do it perfectly, what’s the point in doing it at all? I realise now how destructive this mindset can be. Admittedly, when I’m in the ‘all’ frame of mind it’s brilliant; I’m focused, verging on obsessed, working single-mindedly towards my goals, living and breathing the task at hand.
The problem comes with the ‘nothing’. The nothing frame of mind is the voice that says, “you missed your workout out today so there’s no point in eating well” or “you slipped and had a ‘bad’ meal today so there’s no point in eating well for the rest of the day”. This perfectionism is as destructive as it is insidious. No matter how much you achieve with the ‘all’, the ‘nothing’ will sabotage it, dismantling it from the inside.
I’m back on the fitness kick now. I’ve got a month off work and I’m in Sydney where the sunshine is conducive to long walks, healthy salads and leisurely snoozes. Since arriving on Boxing Day I have only worn gym clothes or a bikini! But obviously, I can’t just take a month long holiday every time I fall off the wagon. I need to find a way to make it work even when I’m moving house, or on a tight deadline at work. I need to learn that ‘good enough’ is, well, good enough!
So, as is the custom this time of year, I’m making a resolution. But my resolution is not to lose weight, or to work out more, my resolution is to just keep going; to stop trying so hard to be perfect and just be good enough. If I can’t work out for a day, week or even a month, I can at least keep up the healthy eating. If I slip and made bad food choices at lunch, I can at least have a healthy dinner. Something really is better than nothing.
[Photo Credit: stevendepolo]