I had no idea what I was going to do for a blog post for today and I was two days out from needing to post. I don’t plan outfits and schedule photoshoots for my posts. I wear real outfits to real events/plans and squeeze in some pictures at some point. During the school year, I’m not out-and-about nearly as much. Most of my time is spent at my computer working at home (in comfy non-stylish loungewear) and I am often working over the weekend as well. Also, it is February in Iowa….it is barren and cold. This really limits attractive photo ops.
So, on my run Saturday morning (we had a glorious oddball day of 40+ degrees) I was brainstorming what was going on that I could write about. Given that I was struggling through a run in an effort to get back into a fitness routine my thoughts were revolving around just that—my fitness struggle. Long story short, I’m going to do something different with this post and talk to you about something that really makes me evaluate myself honestly.
I have never been truly fit. I have been in healthy weight ranges, though for the last 6 or so years I’ve been about 20lbs overweight. Please don't respond with platitudes to this. I know my weight and I know it is higher than is healthy for my body frame. I’ve exercised in various ways off and on over the years, but I have never been really physically fit in a holistic way. You know, the whole package: nutrition, exercise habits, etc. all at the same time. I have always despised running because I never stick with it long enough to build up the stamina and endurace necessary to find enjoyment in it. I've never really developed my muscle tone and strength because I just haven't stuck with it long enough to see the gains. I've tried boxing (which I loved but lord it hurt my hands, so I had to stop), meeting a friend at the gym, cycling classes, gym memberships, DVD workouts.......I've never been able to stick with it.
I desperately want to change that this year. My 36th birthday is coming up this weekend and I want it to be a turning point for me. But to do that I have to evaluate where and why I struggle so much in this area of my life. Upon reflection, I’ve narrowed it down to two key components.
1. I am not consistent in regards to my health practices. I will start working out and doing a fitness routine but I fall off the wagon after about a month. I get bored or busy and excuse away my workouts for other priorities. I’ve been focusing my workouts lately on fitness programs from Emily Skye and while I enjoy the workouts, I’m not consistent with following the program as it is designed. I just got a 12-week trial of Kayla Itsines BBG workouts and three weeks into it I’ve only done 2 workouts. #FAIL
Since I’m putting it all out there, the 100% truth about the BBG workouts is that they are hard and I couldn’t come close to finishing the 2nd one. My legs were sore from the previous workout and I was barely into this next one when I could tell that my form was shit and I was likely to injure myself if I tried to push through when I didn’t have the strength to do it. I felt terrible about myself. And that brings me to what is likely at the core of my struggle.
2. I don’t believe in myself or my abilities when it comes to changing/pushing my body. While I was on my run thinking about what this post would focus on I had to face my hard truth: While I’m working out, the voice in my head is constantly telling me “You can’t do this”. I’m a smart woman. I’m creative and a problem solver. I don’t doubt myself in other areas of my life. But I can’t drown out the voice that tells me I’m a failure when it comes to working out. I hear that voice when I think about working out, while I’m working out, and when I’ve finished working out. Acknowledging this during my run actually brought me to tears. But I kept running because I’m going to beat this mentality and being honest about it was the first step.
I don’t walk away from a workout feeling strong and accomplished. I walk away focused on how I didn’t do as much as I should have: not enough reps or sets, not enough weight, I didn’t run as far or as fast or as long as I should have…… Is it any wonder that I dread working out when this is such a big part of that experience? It isn't that I don't or can't work out, it's that I don't KEEP WORKING OUT.
The point of this post isn’t to be a pity party (I did that while running). The point of this post is to share my weaknesses and figure out a way to change them. We all struggle with something. This is my something and I’m going to bring you along for the journey of overcoming it, if you are willing. Maybe you can share your inspiration and strategies that you use to conquer your something?
What I’m going to do.
I can’t change this overnight, but I need to start identifying small steps that will help me move in the right direction. Today, I’m starting with three plans of action.
The one practice that I have been consistent with in the past is Pilates. I love a good session on the Pilates reformer. Unfortunately, my favorite Pilates instructor, The Conscious Mover, moved away and my finances just can’t afford regular sessions. I always talk about wanting to get my own reformer machine when we move into a house with enough room for it. But I haven’t been actively saving up for one in a meaningful way (#ibuytoomanyclothes). So action #1- each month I’m going to put a specific amount of money I’ve decided I can budget out into my savings account earmarked for that reformer machine. That way, when the time comes I can make this a reality.
Action #2 is to cut myself some slack and start being my own supporter and not my greatest critic. I need to stop being so hard on myself when I actually am working out. I need to actively start telling myself I did a good job when I’ve accomplished something/anything in a work out. When I get done with any type of workout, I’m going to record it in my 5-Minute Journal that day and say something positive about myself and my workout. I'm also going to watch all the self-love videos I can from Valeria Lipovetsky and absorb all the motivational posts from Emily Skye's & Brighton Keller's Instagram like it's my job.
Trying to identify ways to become more consistent has perhaps been the hardest. So, I changed the way I was thinking about it. What do I tell students to do to become better students? I tell them to block out time in their schedule to make sure they do their reading and studying on a consistent basis. Isn’t that exactly what I need to be doing, too? Why is it sometimes so easy to give insightful and useful advice to others and at the same time be oblivious that you need to apply the same advice to yourself? This means action #3 is going to be blocking off a consistent time on my calendar each week for workouts and preplanning the general type of workout I need to accomplish in that slot. From now on, working out on a regular basis isn’t just a habit I want to create, it is a job that has to get done just like my other work.
Birthday #36 is the start of what might be my hardest journey and biggest challenge. But I want this to become my greatest accomplishment instead of my hardest truth, and accomplishments always take effort and dedication. #herewego #icandothis