I believe that you need to look at your health and fitness as a journey. There will always be peaks and low points, and even plateaus. I also believe that the variance is what keeps you alive, learning, fighting for more, and making progress. If the journey was constantly the same you would begin to rest on your laurels, get bored, become complacent, and eventually stop.
Over the last two years my journey has changed drastically. I went from wanting to be competitive in CrossFit as a sport to not wanting to workout at all, all while experiencing pretty much everything in between. Each time I make may way through one of these transitional times in my journey I look back and appreciate all of the feelings and experiences that got me to where I am. The hard part is when you are actually in it and you feel stuck; like everything is going wrong. There are a few concepts that have helped me through.
Having patience with yourself is one of the most difficult things to do. We now live in a time of instant gratification. We are able to access anything and everything we want and need in a matter of seconds. When it comes to health and fitness, progress doesn’t come so quickly and we begin to judge ourselves, compare ourselves to others, and lose sight of what is really important. I have fallen victim to this many times. Limiting my social media and “unfollowing” accounts that got me feeling inadequate was pivotal in helping me overcome these judgmental feelings.
One concept that had a major impact on the last year of my life is grief. When I used to think about grieving death would be the only thing that came to mind. A good friend of mine helped me to see that we can grieve all kinds of things. I was grieving a version of myself that I was moving on from. Grieving the body I once had while trying to accept a new one; grieving for the status that athleticism made me feel; and grieving some of my personal identity as an athlete. It’s tough to let go, but we need to honor those feelings of sadness and grief in order to heal and go on with our lives as our authentic selves.
Another concept that has been critical in my journey is trust. This one was particularly surrounding food. For years I have been following some sort of diet. South Beach diet, low carb diet, Paleo diet, gluten-free diet, counting macros diet. I finally wanted to break free of all that and I have. I’ve been learning to eat again like when I was a kid. I’m talking about listening to my body’s signals that let me know that I am hungry and full as well as what I want to eat so that I am satisfied. Our bodies are amazing like that. We just have so much noise coming in that we forget how to listen to them. Learning to trust my own body again has been amazing and freeing!
Self care has been something that I struggle with because of who I am at my core (independent people pleaser) but also because sometimes I simply don’t make time to do it. Self care is different for everyone but usually consists of things that allow you to “fill your cup”; experience relaxation, joy, happiness, freedom, positive emotions, and radiant health. Examples of self-care for me would be getting enough sleep, being in nature, spending time with family and close friends, not forcing myself to exercise or obsessing over whether I got a workout in, and creating boundaries around my work life in order to create more peace at home.
I hope that by sharing my journey with you I can help you with your own. Let me know if I can help you in any way or if you’d like to know more about my experiences with patience, grief, trust, or self-care.