Last week I felt really demotivated and just plain depressed about my fitness progress. I am sure that I am not unique in feeling this, and that there are actually a lot of you out there who feel the same way I do which is why I wanted to write this post.
I have been exercising and attempting to eat more healthily since I was 16 years old … seems like a lifetime away now! It can be really hard when I see someone achieve such incredible results in a fairly short amount of time, when I have been working so hard for so long, and still not achieving the ‘dream body’ I so crave. I am not saying I am jealous of these people. On the contrary, I am in awe at their achievement and respect their dedication and hard work. Buuut, it can also cause me to feel a lot of self-doubt and negativity. You know the kind, “Why don’t I look like that? Am I working out wrong/eating wrong? What is wrong with me?”. It is so sad to think about how inextricably intertwined our state of being is with our body image. And it can also really hurt us in the long run.
By hurt us in the long run, I mean in terms of motivation, choosing the right foods and finding the desire to exercise. I had never felt SO demotivated and not bothered to work out in my life as I have felt this last week .. it was weird! I absolutely love working out; it makes me feel good and full of energy, but my negative state of mind was bringing me into a place where I didn’t even feel like myself. On other occasions where I have felt particularly negative, I have chosen to eat foods that I don’t even really want which only serve to make me feel guilty and more negative later on.
Feeling negative can also lead you to stress out, which is something I have definitely noticed happens to me! As soon as I start feeling down in the dumps I start to stress out about why I am not losing fat more quickly, second guessing my meal choice the other night and etc. When we are stressed, this throws our bodies into hormonal disarray as the hormone cortisol is produced when we are stressed. In small amounts, cortisol is actually a beneficial hormone, but in excess it has been said to cause overeating, leach nutrients from the body’s tissues and lower the immune system. It’s really quite annoying isn’t it?! You get worried and stressed because you aren’t losing fat/weight and this could actually make you gain more fat/weight! Stress can also cause sleep problems, and we all know how vital sleep is for us. Feeling negative, sad and stressed in general is just not a state of mind we want to be in full stop. Think about anyone you know who has ever been like this, and then think about how they were to be around. Probably not the most fun I am betting. So basically being negative and glum can lead to stress, potential weight/fat gain, lack of sleep and will probably make you feel very unsocial and will result in people not really wanting to hang around you! Yikes! So what can we do to stop this?
Luckily, I am back to a relative state of positivity but not after a few days of complaining and feeling generally glum. I have found that these are the best ways to help bounce back into feeling positive again and to continue along your health & fitness goals:
- Shake up your routine a little! Do you always run to get in your cardio? Why not try jump rope or a spin class? It is easy to get stuck in a rut, so make sure to do something new every now and again to keep fitness fun and fresh
- Talk to a friend or family member about it. Just talking to someone is usually a great way to unburden yourself and others can put things into perspective when you cannot
- Keep a journal for a few days. Trust me, you will be so amazed at how helpful it is to write down your feelings and be honest with yourself. Even a few days can help!
- Take a break! Sometimes all we need is a little break to make us excited to exercise and eat right again. And by take a break, I do NOT mean eat what you want lol … I mean, go to some nice restaurants, go hiking or walking instead of the gym, and hang out with some friends.
- If you have them, look back at old photo’s of yourself and remind yourself how far you have come. Or simply reflect on how much your eating and fitness habits have changed in the past few years.
- Seek professional guidance. If you can afford it, it might be worth investing in a consultation with a nutritionist or personal training sessions to get you back on track.
- Most importantly of all, remind yourself of how AMAZING you truly are. This is what helps me most. I remind myself how truly lucky I am to have such a healthy and functioning body. Who cares that I don’t have rock hard abs; I can walk, run, move, think and do so many amazing things. Your body image does not define you.
Isn’t the above photo fitting? I love it, because that is what you should be aiming to do everyday, no matter what you have planned out for the day. Whether it be a class, a job, or a gym session, wake up everyday ready to give it your all. I know that sounds sooo corny, but it is true. There is no point living life half trying. Even if you do not get exactly where you planned to be, you’ll be a lot better off than if you went through life not trying.
I hope that all helped you .. it helped me quite a lot to write this post to be honest!! None of you are alone in this. If you ever feel upset or sad about your health, fitness, or anything else for that matter then feel free to shoot me an email or a comment below.
Hope you all have a wonderful day and that the rest of your week is positive and happy!
P.S. All images from www.instagram.com/motivationwall