It's been 3 full months since I really committed to my fitness. Yes, it's true that it's been more than 3 months since I started working out. For those that know me personally I have always been an 'on and off' gym goer. Last May after quitting my job I had more free time and was going to the gym up to 4 times a week. My nutrition, however needed some adjusting. I would still skip breakfast, not drink enough water, and eat unhealthy. Nonetheless having more free time definitely made me want to start the gym again. I figured if I can't do it now that I have more time then I'd just be making excuses.
Unfortunately in October of last year I hurt my back during a workout. After a month of physical therapy I was ready to slowly get back to my routine. But I wanted to get serious about my nutrition. You have to find something that works for you. I can sit here and type out the foods I eat, the workouts I do, how often I workout, where I get my workout gear. But none of those things will help you. Those are the things that come once you're committed to your goal. And they will be what works for YOU. My intention with this post is to share the part most people don't share. The mental component. Staying consistent is about what you tell yourself everyday. The stories/excuses you make or the motivation.
These are the things that have helped me remain consistent three months in:
1. I got tired of being tired.
I spent so much time over the years feeling up and down about my body. I felt confident on most days. But some days I'd hate my stomach, the fat deposits in my thighs, and how low my energy level was everyday. All of this would be masked by my excuse of being "skinny fat". You know, the type that can eat anything and not gain weight but still have a gut and other problem areas they hate. That was me. I'd hide behind the fact that even though I didn't feel great, at least I wasn't gaining weight because of how I ate. I just got tired of being tired all the time. I got tired of looking in the mirror and wondering what my body would look like if I truly gave it 100%. I never worked out after having my daughter 8 years ago. Despite being praised all the time for how "thin" I looked for being a mom, that didn't take away the fact that I had fat in areas I wish I didn't, that my skin was looser around my stomach, and that my body wasn't how it used to be before I had my daughter. So I decided to cut the BS and stop lying to myself. How many weeks, months, years will go by before I really commit? Last summer I said this summer. Truth is until you're downright tired and frustrated, nothing will happen.
2. Moving from "I can't" to "no thanks"
This was a big one for me. When it came to eating healthy, I was so good at doing it at home but not while out with others. I'd feel as though I had to be that person that says "I can't have that" and then subsequently get those comments I hated, "you're skinny you can eat anything you want", "you're going to disappear if you lose weight", "one day isn't going to do anything to you." I used to feel like people weren't respecting my choice. But it wasn't them I was angry at. I was angry with myself. I was angry that I always let those comments influence me into lying to myself. Although all those things may be true, it wasn't my truth. My truth is that, no, I cannot eat anything I want because most of what I ate made me feel crappy. No, I won't disappear because I am not trying to lose weight. And no, one day won't do anything to me, but the day I do eat something unhealthy it will be because I CHOOSE to. I realized that in order to live in my truth I had to honor and stand by my commitment to myself. By saying I can't I was inviting the parts of me that were in resistance to a better version of myself. When I really began choosing better because I wanted better, I started saying simply: no thanks. I didn't have to justify it, feel bad for myself, or any of that. I had a goal in mind and no one else had to get it but me.
3. Seek motivation
No, motivation doesn't just come easy because you like what you're doing. We all get stuck. So this is a constant for me. I love finding new workouts and following women whose workout routines are aligned with my body goals. I am constantly using Instagram to find videos and tips on different exercises and recipes, too! I find the gym fun but everything gets boring if done often. So it's great to look at what other people are doing to spice up their routine. It motivates me and gets me excited to challenge myself. Some of my favorite accounts are:
4. Make it a non-negotiable
We all have non-negotiables. Things that we do that are not to be debated, they are part of who you are. For some of us that is being on time, going to church, visiting a family member, drinking coffee in the morning, etc. Whatever it is, you do it no matter what. You wouldn't say yes to something else if it meant not doing that one thing you're committed to. Well that's how I started viewing working out. Before I'd try to schedule in my day. Key word try. I wasn't committed so any and everything that would come up I'd immediately skip my workout. Until I realized that it's because I wasn't truly committed. I'd say I was but my actions said differently. I chose to make the gym a non-negotiable. Who was I fooling? I knew exactly how most of my day would plan out. But I'd fool myself into thinking I was living this spontaneous life and couldn't commit to going to the gym because "something could come up". It's funny the things we tell ourselves when we aren't committed. I decided to be prepared. Something might come up you say? Then bring workout gear with you. Or workout before your day starts and then you can do what you want. Maybe even work out at home since you may be too busy to go to the gym. All these things I've done. I found it better to be honest with myself about my time so that I can really stick to my goals.
5. Cut the excuses
I always made excuses. I'd tell myself that I couldn't stop eating burgers, that I loved cheese too much, that I liked pizza, etc. As if someone was telling me I'd have to give these up forever. Except no one was. It was all in my head. Funny thing is I don't recall the last time I even had a burger. I enjoy cheese when I want to. And I eat pizza when I want to as well. All in moderation of course. I realized that all of that stuff I told myself was just BS. Who said I can't eat those things? I thought I was exercising freedom by enjoying all that unhealthy stuff. I used to look at fit people and think it must suck not being able to eat what you want. Again, all BS. I was actually a prisoner to my own mind. Because like I said, I clearly wasn't happy with the way I looked. I was just hiding behind the excuse of being able to eat what I wanted. But it wasn't yielding any results I wanted. I's all about balance. If I feel like having pizza I will but I won't have it 3 times a week and then hate myself for not seeing the results of the work I put in at the gym. I'd only be fooling myself. I reclaimed my power from the unhealthy habits I formed that weren't serving me.
6. Take progress photos
I don't know about ya'll but I'm a visual person. I need to see to believe!!!! Lol. But seriously take a photo of yourself when you start your journey and then every month after. It has helped me stay motivated. I also like sharing my workouts via my Instagram to hold myself accountable and even to check my form! Sometimes I feel like I can't see the difference. But I sure FEEL it. I feel the muscle growth. I feel my stomach getting tighter. I feel my energy level higher. I feel good! And that's what matters most. So whenever I stare too long at my before and after photos and find myself thinking negative, I remind myself that it's a marathon not a sprint. Yes I have a goal in mind but it doesn't mean I just stop when I get there. I want to look at this as a lifestyle and not a temporary thing. That being said I wanted to share a progress pic with y'all. I was skeptical about doing this because I was worried about the very things I just mentioned, the thought that "it's not such a big difference" but it really is. Because this doesn't show the days I didn't want to go to the gym but still did. The days I beat myself up for skipping a meal. The days I worked out at home because I was with my daughter and couldn't go to the gym. Or all the days I danced in the mirror and laughed from joy of seeing my consistency yield results. I am not where I want to be yet, but I'm also not where I was. Physically or mentally.
I hope all this inspires you to believe in yourself. Whatever your goal is, you can get there but only if you're willing to be honest with yourself. Cut the BS you tell yourself as to why you can't and focus on why you CAN.