I made a mistake last Thursday.
I set this goal with my health in mind. Exercise, eat better, get stronger, repeat. I was really specific about not setting a weight loss goal because for me, that’s a slippery slope. For some people it’s precisely the motivation they need to change their lifestyle and eating habits for the better, and for most people it’s an excellent goal to set. But you have to set goals that are realistic, and ones that work for you. A weight goal doesn’t work for me. The mistake I made was that I weighed myself, telling my husband that it would be a fun thing to do, or some stupid excuse like that. Now, please understand – before this year, I had never been above 136 lbs. While I’ve done admin for a few years, I often worked jobs on the side that required me to be constantly on my feet, and eating pretty well. I could pretty much eat anything I wanted and not face any consequences. So when I began at the clinic full time I was in a pretty sedentary position for the most part, we renovated our house which meant lots of eating out, and I wasn’t exercising. So, I gained a little bit of weight.
All of this to say, when the scale balanced at 152 I felt my sense of accomplishment melt away. I know that it’s only a number – and that someone can be 152 lbs of pure muscle and at their healthiest. And I can already hear a chorus of all of the amazing people in my life telling me that I’m perfect the way I am, I don’t need to lose weight, and that they love how I look. And while I appreciate where they are coming from, I need to learn to be okay with myself on my own terms, not what everyone else thinks.
Loving myself on my terms looks a lot like being strong and healthy – not a certain weight. When I get into a place of high stress and low self esteem, I often look for things that would make me feel worse. Not how I can improve my nutrition, not how I can fit an extra walk into my schedule, and definitely not how I can help myself to thrive. It’s really easy for me to fall into a pattern of wanting to be as thin as I can, and wanting to do anything I can to make that happen. I’m in a season of high stress: I’m a new homeowner, I’ve only been married for just over a year, and we just opened a new business together. I have to be realistic with myself that the stress isn’t likely to go away any time soon. So I have a few options: get better, or don’t. “Don’t” is easier short term – skip breakfast, a granola bar for lunch, not really hungry for dinner. Eventually, cheeks won’t be as full and stretch marks on my legs will only be a mark of the past. But while I’m skipping meals my work performance will likely go down, I’ll be short with my husband, exhausted, and no where closer to being healthy and strong.
But long term, getting better looks like a pretty good life. That’s where I want to be, so I have to be willing to drag my sorry butt to the gym instead of re-watching all 10 seasons of Friends for the third time. I’m not perfect at this at all, and sometimes I still don’t like going to the gym. I just keep reminding myself why I’m doing it: to be healthy and strong. Exercise, eat better, get stronger, repeat. What’s your goal?