Using What Works for Me

For the first time in three years, the numbers on the scale are going down!  Yippee!!!  I was dying to lose weight, but the scale just went UP and UP and UP, so I had to get real about what works for me.  Here they are in a nutshell:

  1. Get real about what I am capable of.
  2. Build a community of people with similar goals.
  3. Document the process.

First, I had to get real about what I am capable of.  And I don’t mean I was underperforming.  I was trying to work full-time (and perform at my very best), take graduate courses toward a masters degree in public health (and perform at my very best), and I was trying to follow a figure competitor’s diet and exercise (at my best, of course).

My first takeaway lesson is that a fundamental failure of mine is that I take on too much all of the time.  In addition to doing all of those things, I was also maintaining a great relationship with my fiancé, visiting my brother and his kids as often as possible, and helping to get my brother’s healthcare back in working order (he lives three hours away).

I take on too much because I haven’t yet internalized the lessons in Brené Brown’s book, Daring Greatly.  She talks about these whole-hearted people who KNOW THEY ARE ENOUGH.  And so they set limits and boundaries around work and family in order to take care of themselves first.  This business of doing too much was a direct result of not believing I was enough.


In getting real about what I am capable of, I decided to quit grad school.  Ouch.

It was hard, but it was the right decision.

In other areas of my life, I am starting to practice whole-hearted habits.  Right now, I mainly practice telling myself that I don’t have to go above and beyond to be “acceptable”; that I am already acceptable, and that my lack of self-esteem doesn’t help me, it only sends the message to other people that I must not be working hard enough.

In telling myself that I am enough, I also started prioritizing my health.  I have always done my workout first thing in the morning.  It’s my favorite time of day to get it done.  However, I was driving 37 minutes to the gym, doing 45 minutes of lifting, and 45 minutes of cardio/stretching, eating a post-workout meal, showering and getting ready for work.  THIS IS TOO MUCH FOR ME.  Which might explain why I found excuses to fail to even get up in time to get to the gym.  So, I WASN’T doing all of that.  I was just trying to, and failing, over and over again.  That wasn’t good for weight loss.  The scale just went up, and I felt worse, emotionally and physically.

I had been curious about a program a friend had been doing for awhile, and almost joined it instead of the figure competitor program I chose, but I didn’t think it would be enough.

Story of my life, right?

After my weekend at the lake, unable to do anything water-related because of the fact that I was busting out of all of my clothes, AND I felt terrible, I was ready for a change.  I started a new program THAT I CAN DO.  The workouts are 30-45 minutes and I’m using myfitnesspal to learn more about my eating habits.

I’m finally ready to accept slow change for permanent changes in my lifestyle, which will EVENTUALLY produce the physical, psychological, and emotional results I’m seeking.

The second thing that worked for me was having a community of people with the same goals. There was a time not that long ago that I had very healthy habits.  I worked out daily and ate clean 80% of the time.  I weighed 127 pounds, had endless energy, and slept beautifully.  A HUGE part of that success was that I went to a regular Wednesday night class led by a friend, and a regular Saturday yoga class led by an incredible yoga instructor.  With those classes came people who noticed that I lost weight and encouraged me!  After moving to Harrisburg, I just couldn’t seem to make a community that stuck.  And I couldn’t keep up with the community I had through the figure competitor program, so I didn’t feel like I belonged.  Now, in my new program, I DO feel like I belong, and that helps me rebuild my community.  Combine that community with my achievable goals with exercise and diet, I have this unstoppable momentum and cycle of experiencing success which improves my confidence, which improves my success, which makes me feel more like I belong… and on and on.

The final thing that works for me is blogging. Writing about my challenges, break-throughs and successes plays a critical role in whether or not I maintain these healthy habits.  This also builds a community because people read my blog and start talking to me about their own fitness goals.  That’s just always a feel-good payoff of writing honestly about my fitness journey.

It’s a little late for my blog post tonight, so I’m going to sign off.  I’d love to hear what things worked for other people!

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