In the instance of taking care of ourselves and trying to stay healthy, we all tend to celebrate our victories. We put up our before- and- afters for all the world to see and after a while, the spark fades, life happens, and then we are truly put to the test. Can we maintain? Have we really changed? Life steps in and hands us stress on every level. We no longer are celebrating. We feel as though we’ve failed. We feel as though we’re giving up because we can’t possibly take care of ourselves when everything else somehow slips in and becomes more important. We feel as though, what's the point.
The point is quite simple at the end of the day. When we neglect ourselves, the healthiness of our well-being, mentally, emotionally, and physically, at some point, that catches up with us. We are run down, beaten up, and just exhausted. In my case, I was sick for several months, started a new job, left a job that I had been very much comfortable at in every way, and then others that I care about had things happen to them. Sickness happened, death happened, and the punches kept coming. Looking back over the past 6 months I can tell you I haven’t had the best diet. I ate because I was sad, depressed, and worried. I lost consistency in my workouts. My focus was somewhere else. My focus was consumed with worry and doubt and a lot of my stress came from the fact that in the back of my mind I knew I wasn’t taking care of myself. Eating badly and only having 1 to 2 workouts a week was causing me to have even more stress and feel even worse. I had reverted back to quick and easy. I was giving myself a half effort all over again.
This cycle of full speed ahead and half-heartedness is tiring. It's controlling. It's hard to break free from. I had a moment of clarity last week. I had a moment in which I remembered something I had said not too terribly long ago when I was going through a pretty tough time in my life. I remembered the words “If this is for the rest of your life, it’s never over. If this is forever, there will be times that are harder than others”. Part of the reason I had any kind of logic in my head about this matter is the thought that maybe I needed to leave my gym. I didn’t want to leave. I love my gym. I finally found one that I want to be a part of. I was using distance and time as excuses but realistically, I needed to be a better steward of my time. I needed to realize that my health is and always will be a priority. From the time I started changing my bad habits in 2012 until now, I still know the importance of taking care of me first. Why is this said over and over again by most people that figure this out? Like me, they realized how much better EVERY other aspect of their life goes. I never want to be unhealthy again. I never want to have something happen to my husband again and I feel like physically I can’t keep up. At the end of my life I want people to know that I was the best wife, best sister, best daughter, best friend that I could have been. Does my job matter? It does, but it should never control my life to the degree that everything else that is a priority falls by the waist side. In fact, the more I make myself a priority, the better I can be at my job. The better I can be at life.
I need my workouts. I need time to do things I enjoy when my mind is clear of my to-do list. I lost 64lbs. over about 8 months. And gaining 10 or 15 back doesn’t mean I’ve failed and it doesn’t mean I throw up my hands and gain the other 50 plus back, which is the usual routine of most people I know that lose weight. I have the tools. I know the routine. If I do what I know to do, I win every time. There’s no victory in a setback becoming all consuming. Reality is, it’s a setback. It’s not the end game. This is forever. This is until I take my last breathe. It’s not easy. It’s not a straight line to victory and it’s not quick. As the overused saying goes, it’s a marathon NOT a sprint.
If you take care of yourself, if you feed yourself foods that your body loves, if you find something you love to do that is physically challenging, in every way your life will be better. I've never heard one single person that improved their health every say "I wish I hadn't done that. I wish I were weaker." This life is short. It's worth finding our strength. It's worth giving ourselves room to make mistakes. It's worth never giving up on the things that make us our best.