Can we talk about forgiveness for a second? I don’t mean the kind of forgiveness we seek when someone has done us wrong or when we have a fight with a loved one. I mean the kind that we give to ourselves. I made some resolutions this year concerning my health and even joined a weight loss group on Facebook to keep me going (and then made my own). Unfortunately, it led me to beating myself up over how slow my progress is going and my lack of strength and endurance while working out.
I hired a personal trainer back in December because 1) I can afford it right now, 2) I need more help than the free session the gym provided, and 3) paying her does so much for my motivation and accountability. While we’re training, I look at her do the exercises so easily and feel beyond embarrassed while I’m huffing and puffing, red in the face, with my shaking form, as I struggle to do what she just made look so simple. In the moment, I’m mad at myself for being out of shape, for having a weak core, and for my body shaking as I do my sets, BUT every time I get done with a set, we high-five. She praises me, reminds me that it’s hard today but one day it’ll be easy, and she’ll have to find other ways to kick my ass.
So after getting out of bed sore and feeling down on myself after a particularly rough session, I said to myself… “I forgive you.” I forgive my body for not being able to those things YET. Every day I’m getting a little bit stronger. I realize I need to be more kind to this body that is mine. After all, it has already been through so much. I lost 40 pounds on my own, I’ve been through hardships and rough patches in life, I made it through a long distance relationship and married the love of my life, and… I’m still here. My body is still going, and I’m determined to keep going. I will get stronger, and I will endure.
Unfortunately, it’s not just my lack of physical strength I’ve been beating myself up over during this journey to a healthier self. It’s also my eating habits. I know the guilty feeling of eating over my calorie limit all too well. I’ve snacked in secret so I don’t have to answer to anyone about it. I’ve gotten Chinese for dinner instead of making something from scratch (like I had planned to do), but “damn,” I think, “I’m so tired.” And then the results of my “shortcomings” catch up to me.
I step on the scale that week and see that big “gain” that is probably water weight, because, let’s be honest, I didn’t eat over 3500 calories to gain actual fat. In fact, I have to remind myself that there’s a million reasons why I gained weight over night or within a week: stress, water, sodium, weight training, general exercise, hormones, etc. Instead of beating myself up over it, I’m finally choosing to forgive myself for that now, too. One meal, one day, one week, of not keeping track of my calories or eating over that limit or eating McDonald’s for dinner instead of cooking is not going to de-rail my years of progress.
I see now that my overeating is a cry for help. What that means is, something else is wrong. Maybe I need some self care, some alone time, yoga, or a therapy session to address something deeper. It means instead of grabbing a bag of chips, I need to self reflect and see what is actually wrong. And when it’s too late, and I’ve already had an entire package of cookies, I have to forgive myself for that too, and move the fuck on.
No amount of beating myself up over being unable to finish a training set or eating not-so-great for a day will ever motivate me. It just makes me feel bad about myself and deters my future progress. So the phrase of my year will be “I forgive myself.” Because I’m done fighting this battle with my body. I will love and nurture it to the best of my ability with good food, exercise, and the occasional indulgence of cake, because that’s how you make health a lifestyle change, not a failed diet.
Do you need to forgive yourself or someone you love? What would you say? Let me know in the comments! Check out Daily Inklings on Normal Happenings for more prompts like this one!
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