'Why Bother' And Other Negative Thoughts
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
This morning I knew it was just going to be one of those days. Regardless of rest between workouts, adequate rest last night (though admittedly not the best), and my first workout of the week, this morning I felt like I wasn't myself. I am normally energetic in the gym, wanting to pump more and run faster. However, this morning I could barely muster up the energy to finish my typical routine, let alone go above and beyond. I don't like that feeling. I can tell it takes a toll on my workout and I'm not doing my absolute best. And it makes working out much less enjoyable. After, I did my weekly weigh-in and saw I didn't even lose a pound :( I felt discouraged since I was making progress (finally) the week before. I wondered, am I plateu-ing...already?! I barely lost a few pounds and already it's tougher to lose weight. Soon, that dreaded thought entered my mind: What's the point? Why bother trying so hard if I’m not seeing results?
Losing weight and getting healthy is as much, or more, of a mind game than it is of body training, at least for me. That thought and similar thoughts, which have creeped into my mind over the past 10 years, have prevented me from ever reaching my weight loss goals. Now, I try to avoid those ‘why bother’ thoughts and have generally succeeded. I try to remember; change and success takes time. And energy. And effort. And more time. It's hard. It's never easy. If it's easy, you aren't seeing results. If I gave up (meaning forgetting my goals and stopping efforts), I would undoubtedly stop losing weight. But, if I continue, I will lose weight. It will take time. And more energy and effort. Even though I felt frustrated after all my hard work, deep down I know there's room for improvement. I did have that cupcake yesterday. And skipped my third workout last week. I also haven’t been strictly getting my 5 servings of fruit/veggies per day. I’m one of the first people who say you must have cheat times. But it comes with a toll. You must realize you will reach your goals a little slower if you have those cheat times. Also, it’s a balancing act. Too much and you’ll never see results (or worse, back track). Too less and you might burn out. Factor in our emotional responses, habits, and stressors, and our ideas about what and when we should (or want to eat) get’s skewed, to say the least.
I wanted to write about this because I think it’s important to acknowledge your down days. They happen. To everyone. I think talking about it is important. Otherwise, you don’t know how to work on it. And without talking about it, the perfection myth prevails. I’m imperfect. I don’t always make my workout and nutrition goals. The hardest thing for me is to say that’s ok and forgive myself. And then continue on. I need to recognize it is hard and give myself credit for doing what I have been, which is shaping healthier habits even when it gets hard. Not giving up is important. So this time I will try something different, instead of letting those thoughts ‘win’. Since I always like to have a plan (it makes me feel better), I will make one to help address my negative feelings right now. In this case, I’ll keep doing what I am doing, according to my health plan and goals, (as well as improve areas I haven’t done too hot in, such as increase fruits & veggies per day) and in two weeks, revisit my current plan and goals. Maybe it is just taking me longer and in a week or two, I’ll be down a pound or two. Then, I’ll feel better and know I am in fact making progress. If not, then it’s time to re-evaluate why I’m not seeing the results I want to. Pounds aren’t everything, I know. I am due for my monthly body measurements and I will take that information into consideration. Maybe it’s not as bad as I think and seeing my measurement data could help me see that! Which is a reminder why tracking is so important for me to do.
What turned into an emotional pep talk for me, I am curious to know what you do when you are feeling lackluster about your progress?