How My Fitness Journey is Killing My Self-Esteem
I’ve forced just about anyone who has been in the general radius of myself and a television to watch an episode of My 600-lb Life. I love this show. At the core it’s because I love seeing how people can go from one extreme to another and the trials that come with it. On the surface it’s because - wow.
There’s just something so fascinating about people from all different walks of life battling their food addiction.
I joke all the time that I, too, am living that life although it hasn’t not manifested in excessive weight gain and isolation. Now that I am on an 8-week fitness challenge I have to say that the pleasure I’ve gotten out of binge watching episodes has been replaced with a heaping load of “I can relate”.
It’s very easy to watch the show and come up with simple solutions like: stop eating, stop bringing the food to them, exercise more -- I’ve thought those things a few times myself. But now, as I find myself rationalizing a piece of chocolate here, a sliver of cake there, binge eating and then hating myself, I can understand why it’s easier to just stay the same.
While I can’t eat two pizzas, cheese sticks, 24 honey chipotle wings and a cookie brownie (real meal from last night's episode), now that I’m on a restricted diet I’m having such a hard time sticking to it. Beyond that, I find myself hating my body in a way that’s foreign to me.
Before I started on such a structured journey, you may remember that I was on a quest to get #SnatchedBy25. It was about finally incorporating exercise into my routine, trying out new fruits and veggies and shedding a few pounds along the way. I didn’t really have any solid metrics or reference points, I’d just know my sweet spot when I saw it in the mirror.
That worked until it didn’t.
I started eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Then the “you can’t outwork a bad diet” overtook me and my gym routine grew sparse. Along came this trainer with results I live for and the structure I (thought I) craved. What structure has done is set a bar that makes it very easy to get down on myself every time I miss it. Either you do it or you don’t and when you don’t you get to look at your body and hate the rolls that you once didn’t mind. You find cellulite in places you weren't looking before. Clothes that you loved now accentuate what you hate. Structure has killed my self-esteem because in this one instance I’m not good at it.
It took a while for me to notice this pattern occurring and once I did I had to get real with myself about why I’m doing this and who I’m doing it for. It’s true I’d love to check in at the end of this week and show off crazy gains, but at what expense. I guess the real issue is not the toll sticking to the diet would cause but the toll not sticking to it causes during those times when I’m human and cravings win.
I’d love to round this out with some tips about what I did to overcome these issues, but it’s still a work in progress. The first step though is always admitting that there’s an issue, which I’ve done.
This journey is supposed to be about being the best version of myself above all else. I have to get my mind wrapped around that so my approach can follow.
To close, I’ll say this: accepting the imperfections of this process has already made me feel so much lighter. I’m still dieting and I'm still challenge myself for the duration of these 8-weeks. What I'm not doing is pushing myself into an emotionally toxic sake for the sake of a some calories. Looking at the 8 week mark as the end all be all created this pressure that doesn't need to be there. With the load off of my back I'm able to enjoy these workouts and think outside of the box to enjoy my meal plan, too. And that's what creates sustainable change that actually matters.
What are some challenges you've faced with your own body or fitness goals? How are you overcoming them?