What happens when your body decides to not work anymore – you’re tired, wishing you could eat more, can’t lose weight or maybe even gaining despite your best efforts…are you tempted to go harder, be more disciplined, and do whatever it takes to get on track….?
Here’s some food for thought if you’ve ever found yourself in at place:
When my body started showing the signs of rebellion (OK, maybe it felt more like an attack) in early 2015, it felt like a blow to my career as personal trainer, fat loss nutrition coach, and studio owner. To not recognize myself in the mirror, or fit into my clothes, or even be able to get through a workout – despite the fact that I hadn’t changed my diet to warrant weight gain, and that I was originally feeling great teaching 15 fitness classes a week, and my life was mostly happy and content…..I realized I had to make a choice. I couldn’t go on like this, and I certainly wanted to recognize myself in the mirror again.
That reflection in the mirror was so powerful….I remember thinking: I just need to get more strict and push myself harder so that this weight will come off and I’ll like what I see again.
Stop. Wait. No.
That. THAT was my child brain. That default mode that tempted me to find a band-aid to cover up my problem instead of finding the cause and creating the cure.
The fact that I had been pushing harder and being more disciplined over the years was actually the very thing that got me into this mess. If I resorted to that knee-jerk reaction that was telling me it was all my fault, and I wasn’t good enough and I better get on track with more willpower and discipline – then I would have never found the root of the real problem and been able to fully find a better place for my body and mind to exist.
So I committed myself to NOT resort to diet or exercise or guilt for as long it took to find my better health again. In the end it had taken close to a year.
A year of living mostly in mystery, trust, and patience.
Mystery because I vowed to give up control and dig deeper into what was going on in my physiology and my psychology. I had to throw off everything I thought I knew to embark on a new journey of self-discovery.
Trust that it didn’t matter how long it took. Trust that my body and health could be transformed on its own terms, and that my biases (what I saw in the mirror) were not the primary factors in healing. Trust that one day it would all make more sense, and that making real progress was found in my day to day perspectives, not from a subjective or arbitrary marker. I had to trust myself.
Patience because healing takes its own time. Patience to let my body do its own work, that isn’t about the outward but more about the things unseen or even unfelt. Patience to know the difference and ultimately to experience the difference – without distraction from the true goal and without interruption due to my natural impatience.
It was scary to truly let go of my grasp. To face what I was experiencing from a place of self-discovery rather than that familiar place of self-control. I wondered many times if by eating freely the things of my innate choosing would land me worse off…or if my choice to bask in the slow and quiet – instead of pushing myself into some fat-burning, sweaty madness – was only a sign of laziness and apathy. I feared that by choosing to pursue contentment over competition, I would be judged.
But here I stand now, almost a year after those moments rocked me into making that choice between struggle and sufficiency – and I can say that it was all worth it.
My reflection is shiny and clear again, but not for the reasons I would have been showing off in the past. It’s not a before and after shot. It’s not that I completed a goal. It’s not a result of self-denial and self-sacrifice.
The challenge this year was to create a new meaning to discipline and goals, and results. My discipline was putting rest and sleep before physical challenges. My goals focused around really getting true about when, why, and what I was craving and choosing at any given time, so that almost nothing was off-limits for the sake of nurturing enjoyment over stress-inducing restrictions. The results I was looking for had nothing to do with my weight, or my ability to do what “I used to do” – results were more intrinsic, and were reflected in my mood, my hormones, my management of stress, my own self-talk and self-awareness.
When I see myself in the mirror these days, I am filled with love and gratitude. Not because I am in the best shape of my life, or I got to a certain weight – but simply because I survived, and in that process finally truly made peace with who I am. I didn’t end up gaining more weight from my neglect of the traditional diet and exercise regimes, but *because* I chose to NOT take that path. Yes, my giving up the need to control the specific outcomes and just live in my body and renew my mind was what it took for healing to find my natural balance of all-round wellness and consistency in that.
I often wonder if so many of the women who find themselves struggling too – with all the stress and pressure to keep moving in that direction of control and ignorance of true self needs – if their solutions would be more readily found if they too stopped and realized that there is a choice. The choice to keep recycling those same old issues in the same old ways, or the choice to step away and forge a new path of self-discovery, grace, and nurturing.
The latter whispers to us that we should be scared of letting go of former expectations. That we can’t be trusted and that patience is for the lazy. But it’s not true. It’s not to say that true transformation in this way is a cop out though – it takes courage and strength to take this journey. It’s just work of a different definition 🙂
You get to choose.
There are currently just a few spots available in my schedule for new coaching clients – if you are ready to take that step to finding better solutions and getting off that same old diet cycle, then visit the MIND | BODY | LIFE page and fill out the no-obligation Discovery Interview form to get the process started. Hope to hear from you!