So, last night was date night, and we went out on a double date with some of our really good friends to Outback Steakhouse. I have been working to remember the last time we were able to sit down and eat inside of a restaurant, and the last I could recall was way back in early October when we took a trip out to Utah. So this was a real treat! I went into this date night thinking, “Steak house… grilled meat and veggies… I’ve got this.”
We went during the dinner rush, and as it’s COVID times, we had to wait for a table while sitting in the car for a solid forty-five minutes, or so. When our table was ready, I wasn’t just hungry, I was starving! This set the scene for a more mentally weak version of myself. “I’ll just try a tiny little sample of the Bloomin’ Onion”, “I’ll just cut a really thin slice of the delicious warm bread. I won’t even put any butter on it.” Famous last words! I will say that I didn’t go all shark frenzy on the fried/breaded onion deliciousness, or the bread (what is it, pumpernickel? Rye? Anyway, it’s something amazing). But I did eat enough that I knew I was going to have to record it, and it would take an uncomfortable bite into my calorie target range.
Dinner finally came, and I ate my steamed broccoli (which, for sure, was loaded with butter), side salad with the teeniest amount of vinaigrette dressing, and about a third of the 16 oz steak that I ordered. I was sure that this was going to place me way higher on my calorie numbers than I was wanting. But…after logging all of my food into myfitnesspal, I still finished the day 330 calories below my TDEE (Total day energy expenditure, or maintenance calories target).
I’ve still found myself chasing thoughts around, “well, should I just call that my indulgence meal? I mean, I ate way more than I meant to, and ate un-planned for non-strategic foods. Maybe I should skip out on the fun, big (sugar loaded) breakfast that I have planned for Sunday morning. I kinda suck for being so weak. I’m a little mad at myself, right now, because I just stalled my progress.”
Fast forward to this morning…
I was having a conversation with one of my personal training clients (who has become a dear friend), that helped me to see the absurdity behind those thoughts. Those thoughts were coming from that dreaded place where “all or nothing” thinking happens. They were coming as a way of punishing myself for my lack of perfection. They were not coming from a place of love.
If any of you were to come to me, presenting that exact scenario, I would never say or think those things about you. I would help you to recognize that, while some extra things were eaten, your whole strategy wasn’t even messed up! You still ended your day in a weight loss calorie deficit. You were able to enjoy some bites of foods that you haven’t eaten for a while, and they were delicious! I would work to help you reframe your unkind, and untrue thoughts into something productive. I would help you to recognize the areas that actually should be applauded. Be kind to yourself.
For example, after I ate what I had and was finished, I still had thoughts pulling me to finish off the remaining bread and onion blossom that were left on the table. Even in that moment, I was wondering if I should just finish those off, and then I could call this my indulgence meal. But by reframing my thoughts, I was able to recognize that I wasn’t mentally weak in that moment! I helped myself see that if I take that approach, I was going to disappoint my kids who were looking forward to a big breakfast on Sunday morning. Their happiness was more important to me than a few more moments of satisfying my taste buds. Thoughts reframed! Motivation restored.
This is what I want for you!
I want you to be able to give yourself these pep talks where you speak actual truth to yourself. Be kind to yourself. Where you call yourself out on your flawed, unkind thinking. Where you reframe your thoughts into something positive. This is a job that only you can undertake. No one else hears your thoughts. We are always the first responders to our own emotional emergencies. We shouldn’t even be relying on others to be the ones to lift us up when we are feeling down, anyway. Sure, it’s nice when others recognize that we need a pick-me-up, but we need to be the first ones to advocate for our positive thoughts and emotions. I want you to be empowered to love yourself in this way.
This whole process is never going to be a perfect downhill ride. Like me, you also will find yourself taking bites of things you weren’t planning to eat (Who else out there is always tempted to take a bite of their kids PB&J sandwiches)? You might miss a day of exercise (or three). You might have other areas of this process that you’re struggling with. THAT’S OKAY! Just do everything in your power to give yourself the high fives when you deserve it!
You are not alone!
To the girl who comes to the exercise class, and is so insecure about her lack of experience and abilities that she hides in the back of the room, I see you! You made it! Despite your insecurities, you were willing to come and give your body the movement that it deserves. You should be so proud of yourself for being there!
To the girl at the gym who is heavily overweight, who has talked herself out of going there out of fear of judgement by others, I see you! You should be so proud of yourself! Fear of judgment is very real, but your desire to take care of your physical needs is stronger. No one else’s opinion of you matters, except your own. You loved yourself enough to show up. Give yourself a high five!
To the oversized gal at the gym who wears leggings and a sports bra while you workout. I see you! If only words could express how proud I am of you for loving yourself enough to just be yourself! You are a strong example to us all, and you should give yourself a pat on the back!
To the timid lady who has no idea how to work some of the equipment in the gym. You don’t even care if you look silly for sitting on the machine and using it wrong. You’ve reached the mindset that, come hell or high water, you need exercise. I see you! Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re determined to figure it out because you care for yourself and you know that’s what you need. Your determination is fully deserving of a standing ovation! Thank you for your example!
To the mom who managed to eat only one weight loss friendly meal today, I see you! This is still a win! That’s where progress starts! Epic job for loving yourself enough to nourish your body with that goodness!
Be kind to yourself.
Do you notice that there is not a “but…”
In each of the examples above reflecting your awesome efforts, you are working toward becoming your best self! I want you to work on eliminating your “but…” while you work to eliminate your butt (ha ha, see what I did there?). We don’t celebrate our efforts and then insult ourselves. We celebrate our efforts, period. End of sentence. Do you catch what I’m saying? Love yourself! Talk to yourself as if you were talking to your best friend. You know you’d never go and tell her good job at __________, but you’re terrible at _________! So don’t do that to yourself either!
Be kind to yourself! Love yourself! Every single baby step you are taking is worth celebrating! Please know that I see you. I am here giving you a standing ovation for all of your efforts, because THEY ARE AWESOME! Notice that I didn’t say that I’m applauding your perfection. I’m applauding the tiny actions you are taking toward becoming your best self. I am proud of you! You are doing great work. All of these tiny efforts will add up as you keep at them! You’re going to win this, I just know it!
Give yourself a high five!
Check out this post for more on how to support yourself and your small wins.
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