One of the hardest issues people struggle with after going through a physical transformation is the mental and emotional shift from urgency, dramatic change and constant positive reinforcement to boredom, small changes and much less attention from friends, family and coworkers.
It can feel like a tremendous let down when you discover that losing weight and improving your physique didn’t transform your life the way you thought it would. At the end of the transformation marathon, no one hangs a finisher’s medal around your neck to let you know that it is okay to get back to normal life.
There is no ticker tape parade and no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (or so it seems).
Instead, you are only left with more questions. The questions seemingly never stop….
What do I do now? Is this good enough? Am I good enough? If I’m not “good enough” am I at least okay? I wish I had better abs/shoulders/glutes/name the lagging body part. I thought I would look a lot better than this. Maybe I should keep dieting…
These questions and this uncertainty can be painful if you let them. But they don’t have to be if you have the right attitude and perspective. I want to keep learning to be kind to myself, but I never want to stop STRIVING. How boring would that be?
The key is to find a balance between extreme urgency (PANIC!) and a pleasant daily motivation (contentment).
Here are 3 sanity preservers I have found while walking my own fitness path….
1.) FELLOWSHIP (with your fitness friends) is important, but take care to keep balance in your life. We have to help each other and we (especially as WOMEN, because that’s how we’re wired) really NEED each other. But it’s okay to back off a little sometimes too and not spend all your time comparing, contrasting and triangulating your own progress off of everyone else’s. That’s just good mental hygiene practice and it is IMPORTANT.
2.) Speaking of HYGIENE, remember to practice physiological hygiene, too. Our bodies are miraculous, but we are not MACHINES. The harder you push and the fitter you get, the more important it is to practice care and maintenance. Get massages, practice stress reduction techniques like yoga or meditation, and get enough sleep. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, visit your physician regularly, and consider EVERYTHING that you put in your body, including your prescribed medications because you’re no longer just filling up the tank of the family mini van. You are now in charge of a much finer vehicle and it requires fine tuning and special care. DON’T drive yourself into the ground.
3.) BALANCE is the best gift you can give yourself. When all the excitement of the big changes fade into the background and you are just left in silence with yourself and your new body, it might be tempting to over fixate on your fitness journey or worse yet, entirely lose your way. Remember that all the new things you have in your life, the respect of those around you, your enhanced energy levels and functional strength, your new clothes for your wonderful new body are now YOURS for the using. There IS more to do…your new mission is to MAINTAIN and improve as best you can. Embrace that changes will now happen much more slowly. In the mean time use your new body as a TOOL to get on with life even BETTER than before. Use it to open doors. Walk through those doors and pursue new friendships and interests. Go after that promotion. Rekindle old abandoned hobbies. Spend fun outdoor time with your loved ones. Think of your new body as the gift that keeps on giving and broaden your horizons.
There really IS a pot of gold at the end of your fitness rainbow. It is called LIFE. Don’t forget to go live YOURS!