I hate running. I love it too. But I suck at it, so the emotion of hating it seems to shine through a little more. When I started strength training everything I read said to give it two months. Force yourself to get in the gym for two months, and after that you’ll start seeing progress. When you start seeing progress it’s something you grow to love. I’ve only been doing it for four months, but every lifting day I look forward to it. But running? No one ever tells you that. No one says it’s going to absolutely suck, for probably longer than two months. It’s probably going to suck for six months. Maybe more than that, but if you want to be a runner you just have to keep going. So that’s what I tell myself. When I am running, gasping for air, frustrated that Lucian won’t run right next me. I have to tell myself to keep going. It doesn’t always work. If I’m being honest I’ve missed my last couple running days. But I’m getting up, I’m trying again. I know it’s going to suck. But if I’m going to be a runner. I must run.
I only started lifting a little over two months ago. So the whole thing is very new to me. That being said I feel like I’ve already learned a lot of practical lessons that could be applied to many areas of my life. Here are a couple.
Failing: You’re going to fail. Somedays you just won’t be able to pull weight you normally do. It could be for myriad reasons. But you still have to show up. You have to put in your best effort. Even then you might fail. That’s okay. There’s always next time. And just because you failed doesn’t mean you wasted your time. You still got practice in and that will help you improve in the long run. I feel like this directly applies to writing as well. Most of the time I think what I write is dreadful, but I still post. I tell myself it’s good practice and I try again the next day.
Today I failed on every lift. It’s a Friday, my excuse was that I’m tired. But that brings me into my next point.
It’s a mind game: I went in today telling myself I was tired and was going to fail my lifts, and I did exactly that. Who knows what would have happened if I told myself I was tired, but I was going to succeed. Or that I was just going to go in and kick ass. I may not have failed. A lot of it is mental, of course you can’t mentally trick yourself into squatting 2X your bodyweight your first time in the gym. But, you can certainly fail from overthinking it.
Which rings true in many areas of life. If you go in with a shitty attitude, most likely that how things will end up. When you see everything through a negative lens, everything that happens is negative. This is a huge lesson I learned today, and I need to keep improving. Not only in the gym, but in all areas of my life.
As women most of our lives we’re told that we should look a certain way, feel a certain way, dress a certain way. This leads to a lot of shame about our bodies. Shame about your own body leads to a whole slew of not so great things.
I have this revolutionary idea. Love is really important. I’ve talked about it a lot. Specifically self-love, which is the most important of all types of love. But what about a love of self that not only encompasses all the emotional, crazy, past/future parts of us. But also our bodies. Loving your physical body is not easy. Since you were a kid you’ve been bombarded with all the reasons why you shouldn’t love your body. And I’m sure you’ve tried every way under the sun to change it. How about you try loving it, accepting it for exactly what it is right now. That doesn’t mean you can’t work towards something, if that’s something YOU want. I want you to try it.
If you love yourself for everything that is you, everything is better. I can’t describe it exactly, but I am speaking from experience. Look at yourself in the mirror, and say “I love you”. Look at your body and say, “I love you”. Pick out specifics. I love my legs, because they allow me to walk, and walking is an incredible thing that I love doing. I love my arms, because without arms and fingers I couldn’t write, and that would be so lame. I love my stomach because that connects all these parts and holds all my organs, which I don’t know about you, but organs are super vital to me being alive. I love all the pieces of me, exactly as they are right now. And I think you should love all the pieces of you too.
P.S. I know it’s been a while since I posted anything. I’ve had some personal events happen that have lead to me to do a lot of thinking. I’ve just been trying to figure out me again.
A few years ago I discovered stoicism. I read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius regularly and I listen to a letter of The Tao of Seneca every morning. It’s something I try, and usually fail to practice on a daily basis. I have learned a lot of really useful and applicable things from stoicism. Here is my take on something that I have found to be useful. Psych. After doing a bit of research I think what I am wanting to say stems from something Eckhart Tolle said. However, you should definitely read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius if you have not it is the most practical philosophy I have ever read and it has helped me to keep things in perspective.
Back to the Eckhart Tolle, in the book The Power of Now, he says: “Leave it. Change it. Accept it.” This is a principle to live by. It is one I try to live by and today I forgot. A beautiful person in my life reminded me of this in her own words. But I can’t even begin to describe to you how powerful that short statement has been to me. We have the power within us to change things, if we don’t want to change them then we must accept them. We must choose happiness. Despite everything, your perspective, your perception, your attitude is entirely controlled by you. So yes, there are always crappy coworkers, stressful clients, and crummy weather. But we all have the ability to choose. We can choose –maybe not even to be happy, maybe that’s a strong word and in the face of something tragic, or hard happiness is rough to achieve. But we can choose acceptance, and if you’ve had enough you can choose to change it. That’s what I’ve chosen today, I have chosen to change. And while the change I embark on will take time in the meantime I will choose happiness.
I am seriously a master at this. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s a human thing and it’s not something widely talked about so we all just think we are insane when we discover how often we mess things up for ourselves. Take this week as an example. I weighed in at .5 lbs away from my lowest weight, this is so cool. But I’ve been freaking out internally all week, I was critiquing my body really harshly, and my self talk has been really awful, which resulted in making poor food choices because I was making myself feel bad.
I’ve been too afraid to step on a scale to see what the damage is. I’ve just been trying to dissect this so I can figure out a way to stop this behavior. It is so silly. It’s not okay for me to treat myself mean either. So what gives?
I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure it out. Seeing if maybe I’m lying to myself about something and I have a huge psychological hurdle to overcome. But I don’t think I’ve found one, only the usual run of the mill fear of success/failure type things. Maybe I’m scared of who I’ll become, I don’t know the Leah that is fit and healthy. Maybe she’s not a Leah I like. That’s been running through my head, but on the flip said maybe she’s she coolest person ever and I’ll never find out if I keep trying to mess things up for myself.
I just need to figure out a way to get all of me on the same page, and get back on track. Most importantly I forgive myself for the week, and for any future “bad” weeks, days, months. I know I’m headed in the right direction, I don’t think I’d be so terrified if it was the wrong direction.
Do you have any tips for beating self-sabotage?
I’ve tried a lot of different ‘diets’ in my lifetime. I’ve been overweight since middle school, actually technically in the obese category but that’s still hard for me to wrap my head around. When you’re overweight in middle school you try everything to figure out how to fix it. I was on the swim team, I was exercising regularly but I also ate what all my other friends on the team were eating. When you’re that age you don’t realize how important the food you put in your body is, even though I am swimming as much as other kids on the team that doesn’t mean I can eat as much as them, I didn’t realize that. No one teaches you these things so I just beat myself up I was working out for two hours everyday, high intensity cardio and I was still overweight, I was comfortable in a swimsuit but that’s because I wore one so much.
In high school I was extremely depressed, I was on the track team and trying to eat better but I still managed to gain weight. What I didn’t realize was how many sweets I was eating to try and cope with the feeling crappy part. This continued on to college where things with my health got a little crazy, without much money my friends and I made staples of Little Caesars pizza and whatever fast food coupons we found in the mail. We stayed up late drank cans of mountain dew and often went for late night dessert runs, I didn’t feel good. I knew what I was doing to myself but I didn’t realize how bad it was getting.
New Years 2014 came and I was going to a big music festival that summer, I knew I had to get ready so I started reading like crazy, later that month my friend sent me a picture he had taken of me and I was horrified I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten. I didn’t even recognize myself so I got going, I had tried South Beach, CICO, but they hadn’t really worked. So I went on a quest to figure out what would work for me. Up until this point I had been a vegetarian for the last six years, as I starting reading more about Paleo and Keto I was thinking about eating meat again. About a month later I did, it was difficult, but ultimately a good decision for me. I slowly dropped a few pounds here and there before the festival but after the festival that’s when things got serious. I had a realization while I was there and I knew something needed to change.
I had started getting into personal development and I knew that being the best version of me started with what I was putting in my body. I started following The 4 Hour Body created by Tim Ferriss, it seemed the most sustainable to me I had a cheat day so I didn’t have to give up everything. I could have wine once in awhile, beans, salsa, diet coke all things I loved. Oh and I didn’t have to exercise unless I wanted to, so I went for it and boy was it worth it if my timeline is correct I lost about 50 pounds before the end of the year and I felt great. I was the healthiest I had been in a long time, physically, emotionally, and mentally. It was incredible, I was happy, easy-going Leah again.
Holidays rolled around and like most the diet didn’t stick. As Holidays rolled around and I started seeing my now girlfriend and we went out a lot, we drank, stayed up late, had a good time. It was a blast but the last thing on my mind was my diet, and the food I was putting in my body, and my daily mental health practices. I just wanted to have fun. I was so in love I didn’t have a care in the world. Oh I should note that during this time I was still essentially intermittent fasting I was drinking a protein shake to get my 30 in 30 in the morning and then I was eating a snack around probably two and then going out to eat for dinner. I felt fine most of the time and the last thing on my mind was food which was definitely a change and it was nice. But six month later it hit me, I had gained fifteen pounds and I was disappointed in myself.
I tried going back on 4 Hour Body but it’s tricky when you are eating out all the time and with friends, my mental and emotional health began to suffer and I became a hell of a person to be around. I got a new job and had access to a great cafeteria with delicious hamburgers and started eating one of those everyday, I figured it was fine I didn’t feel like I had gained much weight and I while I wasn’t feeling particularly good I had this new fancy adult job. About a month later things changed and I tried and failed to get my diet back in gear, it was so hard to commit to this time, I started running, and I love running. It felt good and I felt like I could eat whatever I wanted. Holidays came around and you know how that goes, everything sort of just goes out the window.
Now, several months after that I am back at it again. I am two months into getting healthy. I say that because this time around I’m not just losing weight. I am getting healthy. I’m only putting food in my body that makes me feel good, I get outside and walk for an hour a day, I meditate. My journey is to good health, not weight loss. It’s certainly slower than your typical weight loss story. For me, this time around it’s about the journey, it’s about a sustainable change, and it’s about feeling fantastic in my own skin. It’s taken me an extremely long time to come to that conclusion, but life isn’t just about a number on a scale. There’s so much more to it. If want any advice from someones thats been doing this for a while here it is:
- Forgive yourself.
- Get outside, even if it’s only for 5 minutes
- Eat things that make you feel good
Share your health journey in the comments below. I’d love to hear it.