There is a common trend that I notice, of which I have been guilty in the past, and I strongly believe it is holding people back from reaching their fitness goals. It causes them to freeze. This trend, is living in the past. To be clear, I think there is a difference in challenging yourself, and expecting yourself to be capable of something you once were despite life.
For example, after I graduated college and gypsied out to California, I packed on some pounds. For real, I packed them on. I would get really frustrated with myself and think “I used to be able to do this workout” or “I used to eat better, why can’t I now?” The problem was, it was so much more than that. I didn’t know anyone so I coped with food. It is that simple. Yet, when I first moved I did not like the idea of that, so I was in denial. It caused a cycle of being frustrated with my weight, eating because I was so frustrated, and hating going in public because I was embarrassed with what I had become. At some point, I just let go of all that. I let go of what I used to look like. I stopped comparing how I presently looked to how I formally looked. I stopped comparing what I was doing to what I used to be doing. When I stopped living in the past and took control of my situation, I was able to get healthy again.
I cannot begin to express how often I see this happen. People showing me pictures of what they used to look like, or telling me how skinny they once were. Apologizing to me for what they think they should be able to do but cannot. It is normal, and by no means makes you a bad person. The issue with living in the past is that you are cluttering your ability to move forward.
One of the biggest life events for women that affects their fitness/physiques is pregnancy. OF COURSE THIS WILL AFFECT YOUR BODY! Just think about it realistically for a second. You are growing a human. I know we say this all the time, but seriously just think about it. An entire human being is growing in you. Obviously your body is going to change A TON and it is so freaking awesome. During pregnancy your ligaments loosen, your organs get pushed all around, your uterus and abdominal region expand, and your body is working harder to supply your body with extra blood, all while your hormones are all over the place! This is a brief overview, and I am sure any woman who has been pregnant remembers this and much more. So, if we are doing all of this to grow a human, why are we expecting ourselves to immediately be able to do what we could before we were pregnant? Why are we expecting to look that way so quickly?
If you have been following me for a while, you know that I do not believe having children means your fitness comes to a complete end. I am simply saying, living in the past about what we once could do sets us up for failure. Living in the past about what we once looked like sets us up for failure. Instead, focus on where you are now. Did you go to college and gain the freshman fifteen? Are you just pouring over pictures now of how you used to look and hiding yourself now? Why not just work with what you have? You cannot change where you currently are – you can’t change the past. You can change your future though. You can take control of your current situation. Get out and get moving. Accept where you are and work with that.
I realize this is all easier said than done. I get it. Just know that you can change your situation. You can have a healthy relationship with food. You can transform your body through eating and exercising. You can get back to, and surpass your previous fitness levels. It is possible, but in order to get there – in order to move forward – you HAVE to stop living in the past. You have to stop beating yourself up. You have to stop expecting yourself IN THIS MOMENT to do something you were doing years ago. It is hard. It is frustrating. It is NOT impossible. Do not let living in the past cause you to freeze. Take small steps toward your goals and let go of what you expect yourself to be able to do right now. Be realistic with yourself and you will be surprised to wake up one morning and realize you are healthier than you imagined!
It all starts with your mind.